Nelson Cole Edit Profile
He was raised and educated in Rhinebeck and then worked at a lumberyard in New York City. Cole also supervised the building of a sugar cane factory in Cuba. In 1854, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and lived there working in a lumberyard.
At the beginning of the American , Cole volunteered for the Union. He became the captain of Company A in the 5th Missouri Volunteer Infantry (3 months, 1861). While in this organization, he was severely wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, in August of 1861.
Cole also served as a captain in the 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry Regiment (3 Years Organization), the 1st Missouri Volunteer Artillery Regiment, (redesignated the 1st Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery Regiment), and then was promoted to the Colonel of the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery Regiment. Cole commanded the right, or eastern, column of the Powder River Expedition, from July 1 to October 4, 1865. During that campaign, he was the U.S. commander at the 1865 battles of Alkali Creek (Sept 1), Dry Fork (Sept 8) and the Little Powder River (Sept 10).
On November 18, 1865 (Cole's 32nd birthday) he was mustered out of the United States Army. Later in 1865, Cole moved back to St. Louis, Missouri, and continued in the lumber business, owning a planing mill in that city. Cole served on the St. Louis city council for six years, and also was a commissioner for Lawfayette Park.
In May of 1898, after the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, Cole was commissioned a brigadier general in the U.S. Army by President William McKinley and applied for active service in Cuba or the Philippines. He was instead assigned to command the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Second Army Corps. The brigade was composed of three volunteer infantry regiments, including the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry, 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry, the 2nd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, and the 3rd Missouri Volunteer Infantry.
It saw no action in the war. During the winter of 1898–99, while in command of his brigade at Columbia, South Carolina, Cole developed a serious cold. He was mustered out of the service of the United States for the last time in March 1899.
Cole died from complications of his illness on July 31, 1899, in St. Louis, Missouri. He is buried in the Bellefontain Cemetery, in North St. Louis.