General William Bull Nelson



ON page 669 we publish an illustration of the ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL NELSON BY GENERAL J. C. DAVIS, which took place ten days since at Louisville. Our picture is from a sketch by our artist, Mr. Mosler, who visited the spot
immediately after the affair. The Cincinnati Inquirer
gives the following particulars:

When the alarm was raised in Louisville that the enemy were marching on that city, General Davis, who could not reach his command under General Buell, then at Bowling Green, went to General Nelson and tendered his services. General Nelson gave him the command of the city militia so soon as they were organized. General Davis opened an office and went to work in assisting the organization. On Wednesday last General Davis called upon General Nelson in his room at the Galt House, in Louisville, when the following took place:

GEN. Davis. “I have the brigade, General, you assigned me ready for service, and have called to inquire if I can obtain arms for them.”

GEN. NELSON. “How many men have you?”

DAVIS. “About twenty-five hundred men, General.” NELSON (roughly and angrily). “About twenty-five hundred! About twenty-five hundred! By G—d! you a regular officer, and come here to me and report about the number of men in your command? G—d d—n you, don’t you know, Sir, you should furnish me the exact number?” DAVIS. “General, I didn’t expect to get the guns now, and only wanted to learn if I could get them, and where; and, having learned the exact number needed, would then draw them.”

NELSON (pacing the room in a rage). “About twenty-five hundred! By G—d I suspend you from your command, and order you to report to General Wright; and I’ve a d—d mind to put you under arrest. Leave my room, Sir!”

Davis. “I will not leave, General, until you give me an order.”

NELSON. “The h—l you won’t! By G—d I’ll put you under arrest, and send you out of the city under a provost guard! Leave my room, Sir!”

General Davis left the room, and, in order to avoid an arrest, crossed over the river to Jeffersonville, where he remained until the next day, when he was joined by General Burbridge, who had also been relieved by Nelson for a trivial cause. General Davis came to Cincinnati with

General Burbridge, and reported to General Wright, who ordered General Davis to return to Louisville and report to General Buell, and General Burbridge to remain in Cincinnati. General Davis returned on Friday evening and reported to General Buell. Nothing further occurred until yesterday morning, when General Davis, seeing General Nelson in the main hall of the Galt House, fronting the office, went up to Governor Morton and requested him to step up with him to General Nelson and witness the conversation that might pass between Nelson and him. The Governor consented, and the two walked up to General Nelson, when the following took place:

GEN. DAVIS. “Sir, you seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day.”

GEN. NELSON (sneeringly, and placing his hand to his ear). “Speak louder, I don’t hear very well.”

DAVIS (in a louder tone). “You seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day.”

NELSON (indignantly). “I don’t know that I did, Sir.” DAVIS. “You threatened to arrest and send me out of the State under a provost guard.”

NELSON (striking Davis with the back of his hand twice in the face). “There, d—n you, take that!” DAVIS (retreating). “This is not the last of it; you will hear from me again.”

General Nelsen then turned to Governor Morton, and said: “By G—d, did you come here also to insult me?”

Gov. MORTON. “No, Sir; but I was requested to be present and listen to the conversation between you and General Davis.”

GEN. NELSON (violently to the by-standers). “Did you hear the d—d rascal insult me?” and then walked into the ladies’ parlor.

In three minutes General Davis returned, with a pistol he had borrowed of Captain Gibson, of Louisville, and walking toward the door that Nelson had passed through, he saw Nelson walking out of the parlor into the hall separating the main hall from the parlor. The two were face to face, and about ten yards apart, when General Davis drew his pistol and fired, the ball entering Nelson’s heart, or in the immediate vicinity.

General Nelson threw up both hands and caught a gentleman near by around the neck, and exclaimed, “I am shot!” He then walked up the flight of stairs toward General Buell’s room, but sank at the top of the stairs, and was unable to proceed further. He was then conveyed to his room, and when laid on his bed requested that the Rev. Mr. Talbott, an Episcopal clergyman stopping in the house, might be sent to him at once. The reverend gentleman arrived in about five minutes.

Mr. Talbott found General Nelson extremely anxious as to his future welfare, and deeply penitent about the many sins he had committed. He knew that he must die immediately, and requested the ordinance of baptism might be administered, which was done. The General then

whispered, “It’s all over,” and died in fifteen minutes after he was conveyed to his room. His death was easy, the passing away of his spirit as though the General had fallen into a quiet sleep.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s