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Nelson Viall
Birth: Nov. 27, 1827
Windham County
Connecticut, USA
Death: May 1, 1903
Providence County
Rhode Island, USA

Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. A veteran of the Mexican War, he worked as a moulder prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. When that conflict started in April 1861, he enlisted as a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Rhode Island Detached Militia, a 30-day unit raised and commanded by future Union Major General Ambrose Burnside. After the regiment was mustered out, Nelson Viall received a commission as Captain and commander of Company D in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. At the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861 his unit was in the thick of the fighting, losing Colonel John S. Slocum, who was killed in action. When Major Sullivan Ballou was also killed in the fighting, Captain Viall assumed his staff role, and was promoted first to Major, the to Lieutenant Colonel after the battle. At the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, he assumed command of the regiment when previous Colonel Frank Wheaton was advanced to Brigadier General, and recieved a battlefield promotion to Colonel. He served only for a few months, resigning in January 1863. After a period of inaction, he was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the African-American 14th Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artilery, a unit that was eventually designated as the 11th United States Colored Heavy Artillery. He essentially recrited and trained the soldiers of the regiment, having faith in the capacity of African-Americans when others did not. He served with his men in Louisiana in garrison duty around New Orleans, and was mustered out of service in October 1865. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for "faithful services during the war". Upon his return to his native state he was named the Chief of Police for Providence, Rhode Island. He served in this role until 1867, when he was named as Warden of the Rhode Island State Prison. He performed his duties in that office from 1867 until his death in 1903, gaining a reputation of being a strict but fair disciplinarian. He faciliated the incident-free transfer of prisoners from the Prison's old building to new ones in 1878, and kept the prison's ground and landscaping well groomed, with trees, shrubs and other flora planted to honor the men who served under him in the 11th USC Heavy Artillery. (bio by: Russ Dodge) 
Family links: 
  Mary W. Viall (____ - 1894)*
  Willard S. Viall (1850 - 1850)*
  Arthur M. Viall (1856 - 1864)*
  Mary N. Viall (1860 - 1864)*
  Ellen E. Viall (1867 - 1867)*
*Calculated relationship
Lakeside - Carpenter Cemetery
East Providence
Providence County
Rhode Island, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Russ Dodge
Record added: Jun 29, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9011270
Nelson Viall
Added by: Gregory Speciale
Nelson Viall
Added by: Russ Dodge
Nelson Viall
Added by: Russ Dodge
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