Wednesday, August 3, 2011


By Mike Jones
    I've been writing historical stories for years and it never fails that often you learn more about your subject when the story comes out. That is logical since not many people know that you are writing an article or a book before it is published.
    I recently received a phone call from a gentleman wanting to buy a copy of my new book, "Tiger Rifles: The Making of a Louisiana Legend," who was a descendant of one of the members of that unit, Cpl. Joseph Nichols. The descendant, Gilbert W. Nunez, Jr., sent me some additional information about his ancestor. Since one of the goals of my book was to find a much personal information as I could about the individual Tigers, I thought I'd add such supplementary information to my blog as I receive it.
   This was the first time I've talked to a descendant of one of the Tiger Rifles soldiers. For my book I was in contact with a descendant of A. Keene Richards, the wealthy New Orleans and Kentucky businessman who donated the Tiger Rifles their famous Zouave uniforms. I have a nice pictures of Richards in the book.
     Corporal Nichols was one of the older men in the Tiger Rifles. According to the 1860 census,  he was born about 1819 in South Carolina and was farming in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. He raised cotton and sheep and was a lumberman. At least one other member of the unit, Private John S. Williams, was a farmer from Rapides Parish. Nichols had a wife and eight children listed in the 1860 census.
      He enlisted as a private in the Tiger Rifles April 25, 1861 in New Orleans and was elected to the rank of corporal on January 15, 1862. His election to corporal after the unit had been through the First Battle of Manassas and so many trials and tribulations in camp in the winter of 1861-62, indicates he was a good soldier and well respected by his fellow Tigers.
     After the Tigers were disbanded in August, 1862,  he traveled down to Vicksburg, Mississippi, possibly with Captain Alexander White, commander of the Tiger Rifles, who  also went there, and joined Company C, 27th Louisiana Infantry. His oldest child and son, Isaac Nichols, was serving in the same unit. Father and son battled the Northern invaders throughout the Siege of Vicksburg and were surrendered July 4,  1863. Joseph Nichols then reported for exchange April 1, 1864 at Shreveport, Louisiana. He continued with the 27th Louisiana and was surrendered in the command of General E. Kirby Smith May 26, 1865 and was paroled June 19, 1865 at Alexandria, Louisiana. At some point he moved to what was then Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, later becoming Beauregard Parish. He died February 17, 1904 and is buried in the Cooper Cemetery in Beauregard Parish just west DeRidder, Louisiana off U.S. Hwy. 190.
       Anyone interested in my book can order it from,, or If you'd like a signed copy from the author send $19.95 plus $3.50 shipping to Michael D. Jones, P.O. Box 1318, Iowa, Louisiana 70647.


No comments: