Captain John D. Nance
History of Kershaw's Brigade by G. Augustus Dickert

Pages 352-353


I do not think I would be accused of being partial in saying that Colonel Nance was the best all round soldier in Kershaw's Brigade, none excepted. I have no allusion to the man, but the soldier alone. Neither do I refer to qualities of courage, for all were brave, but to efficiency. First to recommend him was his military education and traiuing. He was a thorough tactician and disciplinarian, and was only equaled in this respect by General Connor. In battle he was ever cool and collected—he was vigilant, aggressive, and brave. Never for a moment was he thrown off his base or lost his head under the most trying emergencies. His evolution in chauging the front of his regiment from columns of fours to a line of battle on Mayree's Hill, under a galling fire from artillery and musketry, won the admiration of all who witnessed it. Socially, he had the manners of a woman—quiet, unassuming, tender of heart, and of refined feelings. On duty—the march or in battle—he was strict and exacting, almost to sternness. He never sought comfort or the welfare of himself—the interest, the safety, the well being of his men seemed to be his ruling aim and ambition.

I append a short sketch of Colonel Nance taken from Dr.Barksdale's book, "Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas "Colonel James Drayton Nance, the subject of this sketch, was born in Newberry, S. C, October ioth, 1837, and was the son of Drayton and Lucy (Williams) Nance. He received his school education at Newberry, and was graduated from the Citadel Military Academy, at Charleston. In 1859 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law at Newberry.

"When the State seceded from the Union, December, 1860,and volunteers for her defense were called for, he was unanimously elected Captain of "The Quitman Rifles," an infantry company formed at Newberry, and afterwards incorporated into the Third Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers. With his company he was mustered into the Confederate service at Columbia in April, 1861, and was in command of the company at the first battle of Manassas and in the Peninsula campaign in Virginia.

"On May 16th, 1862, upon the reorganization of the Third Regiment, he was chosen its Colonel, a position which he filled until his death. As Colonel, he commanded the regiment in the various battles around Richmond, June and July, 1862, Second Manassas, Maryland Heights, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg (where he was severely wounded), Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Knoxville, and the Wilderness, where on the 6th of May, 1864, he was instantly killed. His body was brought home and interred at Newberry with fitting honors.

He was a brave, brilliant young officer, possessing the confidence and high regard of his command in an extraordinary degree, and had he lived, would have risen to higher rank and honor. His valuable services and spleuded qualities and achievements in battle and in council were noted and appreciated, as evidenced by the fact that at the time of his death a commission of Brigadier General had ? decided upon as his just due for meritorious conduct.

"At the age of seventeen he professed religion and united with the Baptist Church at Newberry, and from that time to his death was distinguished for his Christian consistency."

Back to Kershaw's Brigade Index

Back to South Carolina Genealogy Trails Military Index

Back to South Carolina Genealogy Trails Main Page

transcribed by D. Whitesell for South Carolina Genealogy Trails from "History of Kershaw's Brigade", by D. Augustus Dickert, 1899


This is a FREE website. If you came here through a $$$ site, make sure to visit our main Genealogy Trails History Group website at for much more nationwide historical/genealogical data and access to our other state/county websites.