Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th Louisiana Infantry
Colonel of the 15th Louisiana Infantry
Wounded and captured at Winchester, Virginia in 1862 losing his left arm as a result
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in May 1863 his left foot was blown off by an artillery shell
Governor of Louisiana
Extremely rare Confederate war time image of General Nicholls showing his empty uniform sleeve
(1834-1912) Born at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, he graduated in the West Point class of 1855. He studied law at the University of Louisiana, now Tulane University, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Napoleonville. At the outbreak of the War Between the States, he entered the Confederate Army as captain of the "Phoenix Guards," but was soon elected lieutenant colonel of the 8th Louisiana Infantry. He fought with the regiment at the 1st battle of Manassas, and in General Stonewall Jackson's celebrated 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign. He was wounded at Winchester, Virginia, on May 25, 1862, his left arm was amputated as a result of his elbow being shattered by a rifle ball. The surgeons tried desperately to save his arm by waiting a week, but it became apparent that amputation was absolutely necessary. Being too injured to be moved, he had to be left behind when the Confederate army retreated up the Valley, and Nicholls fell into the hands of the Yankees. Rumours were being circulated that Nicholls was captured in civilian clothing and was arrested as a spy. These stories were found out to be untrue, and he was exchanged in September 1862. After he rejoined the Confederate army he was sent to Texas and promoted to colonel of the 15th Louisiana Infantry. On October 14, 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general, and placed in command of the 2nd Louisiana Brigade, of the Army of Northern Virginia. General Nicholls returned to Virginia, with his brigade in January 1863, and his first engagement as brigade commander took place at the crossroads Virginia town of Chancellorsville which turned out to be considered by historians to be General Robert E. Lee's greatest victory of The War Between The States. Nicholls now serving in the Corps of General Stonewall Jackson, his brigade was second in line during the attack of May 2nd when Jackson crushed the Union flank. While trying to regroup his men after dark, Nicholls came under Yankee artillery fire and a solid shot found its mark and ripped through his horse and tore off his left foot. He was later found by an ambulance squad, but was so severely injured that when they witnessed his severed leg, and empty left sleeve, they decided to leave him on the battlefield for dead as they figured he would shortly bleed to death. After his men found him, they carried him to a field hospital in a litter made of a makeshift blanket. Unfit for field command after his two severe wounds that resulted in two amputations, he was sent to Lynchburg, Va., to convalesce from his wounds, and while recovering there he was put in command of the post. Then in June 1864, he went up against the Yankee raiders of General David Hunter, before his men were aided by the help of General Jubal A. Early's corps operating in the area. Shortly thereafter, General Nicholls was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department where he commanded the Volunteer and Conscript Bureau, until the surrender of the Confederate army in 1865. After the war, Nicholls returned to his law practice, and later served as Governor of Louisiana, from 1877-80, that is as his friends kidded him by saying, "all that is left of General Nicholls" was elected. He joked about his serious war wounds himself when he said that he might as well serve as governor because he was too one sided to be a judge. This election was very hotly contested and neither side would concede. The Federal authorities ended up deciding that Nicholls had won the election, and recognized him as Governor of Louisiana. After his term as governor expired he spent the next few years in semi retirement, continuing to practice law, and being engaged in various business ventures in New Orleans, and also growing sugar cane and other crops on his Ridgefield Plantation. In 1886, he accepted an appointment from President Grover Cleveland to serve on the Board of Visitors at the United States Military Academy, being for a time its president. In 1888, he was elected to a second term as governor of Louisiana and he helped to eliminate from the state the notoriously corrupt Louisiana Lottery Company. From 1892 to 1911, he served on the Louisiana Supreme Court, serving as the Chief Justice. He died on his plantation near Thibodeaux on January 4, 1912, and was buried in Saint John's Episcopal Cemetery, in Thibodeaux, Louisiana. A street in New Orleans was named in his honor, that being "Governor Nicholls Street" which meets the Mississippi River, near the downriver end of the French Quarter.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 4 card. Superb quality seated view of Nicholls wearing his double breasted frock coat with rank of brigadier general. His empty left sleeve is very clearly visible as a result of the amputation of his arm after being severely wounded in 1862 during the Battle of Winchester, Virginia. No back mark. Extremely sharp and beautiful image of this hard fighting Louisiana Confederate general. In my 46 years in business I have not only never owned this image, I have never even seen one for sale anywhere before this super rarity was offered to me! Extremely desirable! One of the nicest Confederate images I have ever owned. This pose is thought to be General Nicholls last wartime image ever taken!