Andrew Nixon was born in 1844. He enlisted in Company I of the 15th Indiana Infantry on June 14th, 1861, at Lafayette, Indiana. He was only 16 years old.
Private Nixon and the 15th Indiana fought in the battles of Elkwater and Greenbrier in West Virginia in the fall of 1861. The regiment next moved to Tennessee and fought at the battle of Shiloh in April of 1862. The following month Nixon and the 15th Indiana fought in the battle and siege of Corinth, Mississippi. They also saw hard combat at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, in October of 1862.
From December 30th, 1862 to January 3rd, 1863, Nixon and the 15th Indiana fought at the battle of Stones River, Tennessee. The regiment had 188 men killed or wounded at this battle, and captured an entire Confederate regiment. In September of 1863, Nixon and the regiment fought at the battle of Missionary Ridge in Tennessee, where the 15th Indiana suffered 202 men killed or wounded, which was over 60% of the regiment.
In February of 1864, Private Nixon and the 15th Indiana went on garrison duty at Chattanooga. On May 1st, Private Nixon was arrested on charges of “ larceny, stealing, and conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.” Apparently, Private Nixon and two other members of the 15th Indiana had been caught stealing some clothing from a government warehouse. He was sentenced to 1 year of hard labor, with all pay forfeited and to be dishonorably discharged at the conclusion of his sentence.
Nine months later, some citizens of his hometown wrote a letter to his commanding General, asking for leniency:
Feb. 25 1865
To Maj. Gen. George W. Thomas
We the undersigned citizens of Union County, Indiana, respectfully beg leave to call your attention to the case of Andrew C. Nixon, late of Company I, 15th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, who is now confined to the military prison at Nashville, Tennessee, in compliance with the Court Martial held at Chattanooga, Tenn. in May of 1864.
The said A.C. Nixon enlisted as a volunteer from this county on the 23rd day of April 1861 and on the 14th day of June was regularly mustered into the service as a member of said 15th Regiment Indiana Volunteers and served honorably and faithfully until about the 1st of May 1864, when he in company with 2 other members of said Regiment were arrested at Chattanooga under the charge of staling some government clothing and was tried during the month of May, 1864 by Court Martial for that offense.
About the 14th of June 1864 the 15th Regiment Indiana Volunteers left Chattanooga and came to Indianapolis and were mustered out of the service, leaving the said A.C. Nixon in prison at Chattanooga, Tenn. awaiting the promulgation of his sentence, where he remained until about the 12th of January 1865, when he was informed that his sentence was “ confinement in military prison for one year “ and in compliance with that sentence he was sent to the prison at Nashville.
He is yet under the age of 21 years, and his accomplices, who are both older than him, and were equally if not more guilty than he, are both at liberty. One of them, Grover Ayers, never having any charges preferred against him, and the other, James A. Dalzell, was confined with Nixon at Chattanooga but escaped the guards and we are (as we think) reliably informed reported himself to you at or near Atlanta, Ga., and was there put on duty by your Orders for a time and then under written instructions from you reported himself at Chattanooga and was honorably mustered out of the service.
Nixon’s father is over 80 years of age and entirely helpless and is now no doubt on his death bed, and is known to have always been and now is a truly loyal man.
His mother is getting old and feeble and had 3 sons, all of whom she gave to the service of her country, one of whom was permanently disabled at the Battle of Stones River, one was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga. And the other, her youngest who is yet but a boy, we most earnestly beseech you to pardon and set him free so that he may return to care for his parents in place of remaining with the hardened and abandoned beings with whom he has to associate with while in prison. And even if he was guilty in the fullest extent of the crime for which he was sentenced, he has suffered enough to atone for the crime by being confined for so many months in close quarters at Chattanooga while awaiting his sentence.
By pardoning him you will (in our humble opinion) not only give joy to the dying father and feeble mother but will only be doing an act of justice to one who has done hard and noble service for his country for 3 years and on many bloody battlefields.
We are Sir, your Obedient Servants,
A.H. Bates, Auditor, Union County, Indiana
E.M. Goodwin, Recorder, Union County, Indiana
W.M. Clark, Treasurer, Union County, Indiana
D.S. Pierson, Sheriff, Union County, Indiana
- Bennet, State Senator “
The letter worked, and Private Nixon was released from prison and his dishonorable discharge was revoked in March of 1865.
No information is currently available on Private Nixon’s postwar life. He died in 1877 at age 32, and is buried at Magnolia Memorial Park in Garden Grove.