1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Nelson Viall Papers


 Papers, 1829-1903

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 772

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, December l990

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Nelson Viall was born in Plainfield, Connecticut in l827. He served in the Mexican War and Civil War. He was commander of the 14th Regiment of R.I. Heavy Artillery, a "colored regiment." He returned to Rhode Island and served as a Representative in the General Assembly. He was the first Providence Police Chief and then for 36 years was Warden of the Rhode Island State Prison. He died May 1, 1903 in Howard, R.I. of a kidney infection.

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Scope and content:

            The papers contain commissions, newsclippings, correspondence and a ledger of tobacco for soldiers in Mexico. The collection dates from l829-l903. There are some materials of the Mexican War such as a list of recruits for the 9th regiment and newsclippings from the Mexican paper, the American Star. His commissions as Lt. Col, Sargeant and Colonel are also included. Correspondence includes Viall's attempts to get pay that was owed to the black regiment.

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The papers of Nelson Viall were given to the Society by Priscilla Fieldhouse in 1990.

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            "Tobascos, 1829" and Nelson Viall, Pachuca, Mexico, 1848

            14th Regiment Correspondence

            Civil War Misc.

            Mexican War

            Commissions, 1857-1863

            "John Viall of Swansea"

            Misc-mason material, prison material

            Recollections of the Mexican War

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Rhode Island State Prison

U.S. - History - War with Mexico, 1845-1848

U.S. - History - Civil War, 1861-1865

Fourteenth Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

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