Risdon D. Nichols
Company A, 56 Georgia Infantry
Born: about 1833 in Georgia
Died: September 12, 1862 in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Buried: September 12, 1862 in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Risdon was born around 1833 to E. R. and Sally Nichols and was living with his parents and siblings in Henry County, Georgia at the time of the 1850 Federal Census. He was 17 years old at that time. He married Amanda M Swinney in Spalding County Georgia on 26 September 1855. The 1860 Federal Census shows Risdon, Amanda and their son and daughter residing in Clayton County, Georgia. I am not certain if this indicates a move in residence, as Clayton County was established in 1858 and it is possible that the area they were living in merely changed name.
Risdon D Nichols enlisted as a Corporal into Company A of the 56 Georgia Infantry on April 28, 1862 at Campbellton, Campbell County, Georgia (now consolidated into Fulton County). By September 12, 1862, 4 ½ months after enlistment, Risdon would be dead.
Risdon’s military records, represented by three documents, give little indication of what he experienced or where he was located during that time. A payroll indicates that he was on the Roll on June 13, 1862 and had enlisted for a period of three years by Captain Brewster. According to this document, Risdon received $50 payment.
The 56 Georgia Infantry had been involved in the recapture of Cumberland Gap by the summer of 1862. Sometime before late August of that year, the 56th had been assigned to Daniel Leadbetter’s Brigade and would eventually head north into Kentucky. Although the 56 Georgia Infantry does not appear to have been directly involved in the Battle of Richmond (August 29-30, 1862), they did enter Richmond on September 3rd and were involved in the parole of the Federal Prisoners.
The Register of Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Citizens who Died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North, 1861-1865 reports that Risdon D. Nichols died in Lexington, Kentucky on September 12th and was buried in the National Lot. Lexington Cemetery Records also indicate that Risdon was buried on September 12, 1862. Because the Federals had left Lexington immediately after the Confederate win at Richmond, and the movement of the Confederate troops into Lexington by September 2, 1862, I think it is possible that Risdon was not actually a POW, but instead had been brought into Lexington with the advancing troops following the Battle of Richmond. This is not something I can claim with certainty, but it does seem very likely.
The final military document, dated January 16, 1863 indicates that Risdon D. Nichols’ name “appears on a register of claims of deceased officers and soldiers from Georgia which were filed for settlement in the Office of the Confederate States Auditor for the War Department.”; this was presented by Risdon’s widow, Amanda M. Nichols.
By 1870, Amanda Nichols has moved to Texas with her children, Henry (who is identified as R. D. in 1860) and Amanda, and lives adjacent to her parents, Henry and Martha Swinney, in Upshur County, Texas.