Grand Army of the Republic
General Nathan Kimball
Department
Commander 1867

 

General Nathan Kimball was a native of Indiana, born at Fredericksburg, Washington County, Indiana, of English and Scottish ancestry on November 22, 1822. He attended Washington County seminary. He graduated at Indiana Asbury (DePauw) University, 1839-41. He studied medicine at the University of Louisville medical school in 1844. He read medicine, and secured a large practice, residing consecutively at Salem, Livonia and Loogootee.

At sometime in the 1840's he moved to Missouri and returned to Washington County, Indiana, by 1847. Also during this time he married Martha A. McPheeters in Washington County, Indiana on 22 September 1845, they had one child James. In 1847 he ran and lost the election for state senator. Martha A. McPheeters Kimball died in 1850. He then married Emily McPheeters in Washington County, Indiana on 23 August 1850. And in 1852 was defeated for presidential elector. During this time he was a Whig and later a Republican in politics.

He commanded a company in the Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the Mexican war, 1846-47, where he distinguished himself at Buena Vista by rallying his company, after the regimental break, and fighting through the rest of the day. Also by publicly refusing to recognize Colonel Bowles, and leading his company off the parade ground when the Colonel undertook to inspect them. He was arrested and tried for this, but was soon restored to office. Later he was a captain in the Indiana militia before the Civil War.

At the beginning of the Civil War, he gave up his medical practice in Loogoote, Martin County and raised a company of volunteers in the Martin County. The regiment went into camp at Camp Vigo, Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana. He was commissioned on 22 May 1861 and was mustered in 07 June 1861 as Colonel of the Fourteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After taking the regiment to Indianapolis for training. He and the regiment were sent into West Virginia, where he served with distinction, later at Antietam, Fredericksburg. Early in the war he met Stonewall Jackson in an engagement near Winchester, VA, and gave that famous Confederate the only whipping he had received up to that time. The forces on each side were about the same and the military skill and gallantry shown by Colonel Kimball on that occasion had much to do with his promotion to Brigadier General on 15 April 1862 when the brigade commander was wounded. During this time the brigade became known as the "Gibraltar Brigade".

In 1863 he was nominated for Lieutenant Governor by the Republican Party, but declined the nomination. In 1864 he was sent into Southern Indiana to break up the organization know as the Knights of the Golden Circle. His old commander in the 2nd Indiana, Colonel Bowles being a leader.

After being wounded at Fredericksburg, he was moved west where he served as a brigade commander at Vicksburg and later in the Atlanta campaign he was a brigade commander in the Fourth Corps under General Sherman. He was mustered out in August 1865, as Brevet Major General.

He was know to his army friends as Nate Kimball and stood especially high in the esteem of Grant, Sherman and Sheridan. With the last named he was on a particularly intimate terms. At the reunion of the Army of the Tennessee, held in Indianapolis at the old Academy of Music, General Sheridan presided. General Kimball arose to make a motion which did not a that time meet the approval of the distinguished commander who presided, and who knew a great deal more of military law than parliamentary usage. "Sit down Nate Kimball! Sit down!" he exclaimed. "If you don't sit down, I'll put you in the guardhouse."

After the war he moved to Indianapolis, Marion County Indiana where he was elected to the office of Indiana State Treasurer in 1867 and held office until 1871.General Kimball was one of the best known men in Indiana, and a trusted friend of governor O. P. Morton. During this time he also held the office of Indiana Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in1867 succeeding General Robert Foster. In 1873 he served in the Indiana House of Representatives from Marion County.

He moved to Utah Territory when he was made Surveyor General of Utah Territory in 1873, by Gen. Grant and served until 1878; Became Government physician, U. S. Indian Agency at Fort Hall, Idaho Territory in 1879. In Ogden City, Utah Territory, he became postmaster from 1879 until his death.

In his life Nathan Kimball was a teacher, store clerk, farmer, stage driver, physician, postmaster and soldier. He died at Ogden, Utah, January 21, 1898.

Notes:

Indiana at Antietam, Page 95

Depaw Through the Years, Page 295

Biographical Directory of The Indiana general Assembly, Volume 1, 1816 - 1899, Page 222

Indiana Roll of Honor, Volume 2, Page 231

Dictionary of American Biography, 1937 edition, Volume 1, Page 378

The Hoosier Genealogist, Volume 18, Number 1, March 1978, Page 10

Indiana and Indianans, Jacob Piatt Dunn, Volume 2, Page 600, 609-610.

Submitted february 5, 2001 by:
Stephen Bruce Bauer


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