Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Pension Records for Louis Napoleon Nelson

Posted in African Americans, Memory by Andy Hall on December 16, 2012

NelsonOne of the best-known “black Confederate soldiers” is Louis Napoleon Nelson (right, c. 1846 – 1934), due in large part to the advocacy of his grandson, Nelson Winbush. There are any number of claims made for the nature of Nelson’s service, such as these:

[Winbush’s] grandfather, Louis Napolean Nelson, was a private in Co. M, 7th Tennessee Cavalry of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Private Nelson was a slave at the start of the war. He began his military service as a cook, then a rifleman, and finally a chaplain.
 

Virtually nothing, however, has been offered in the way of documentation of such claims. So in the interest of injecting something tangible into future discussions of Nelson’s activities during the war, here is his 1921 Tennessee Confederate pension file (PDF).

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