Prince Edward County, Virginia
|Died||October 7, 1777
near Kulpsville, Pennsylvania
|Buried at||Towamencin Mennonite Meetinghouse Cemetery, Towamencin Township, Pennsylvania|
United States of America
|Years of service||1771, 1775–1777|
Francis Nash (c. 1742 – October 7, 1777) was a brigadier general from North Carolina in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Prior to the war, Nash was a lawyer, public official and politician in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and was heavily involved in opposing the Regulator movement, an uprising of settlers in the North Carolina piedmont between 1765 and 1771. Beginning in 1775, Nash served briefly in the southern theater of the Revolutionary War before serving in the Philadelphia campaign. Nash was mortally wounded on October 4, 1777 at the Battle of Germantown, and died from his wounds several days later.
Early life and family 
Nash was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia to John and Ann Owen Nash. Nash's parents were originally from Wales, and several of his siblings had been born there. One of Nash's brothers was Abner Nash, who later became a statesman in North Carolina. By 1763, Nash had moved to Childsburgh, which became Hillsborough. Nash had a law practice in Hillsborough, and became a clerk of court in 1763. In 1764–1765, Nash served his first term in the North Carolina Assembly representing Orange County.
Nash married Sarah Moore, with whom he would go on to have two daughters, in 1770. Nash also had an illegitimate son, also named Francis Nash, who was possibly born in 1770 or 1771. The younger Nash's mother was a barmaid in Hillsborough.
War of the Regulation and pre-Revolution politics 
During the War of the Regulation (c. 1764-1771), Nash was, along with Edmund Fanning, accused of extorting money from the local residents, although a later trial found Nash innocent of public corruption. In September of 1770, a group of Regulators took control of the town of Hillsborough, and Nash, along with other public officials, was forced to flee for fear of bodily harm at the hands of the protestors. He served as a captain in the Orange County militia, and participated in the Battle of Alamance alongside Governor William Tryon, fighting against the Regulators. In 1771, and again in 1773–1775, Nash served again in the colonial Assembly as a representative for Hillsborough.
American Revolutionary War 
Southern theater 
In 1775, Nash served in the Third North Carolina Provincial Congress. Also in that year, the Provincial Congress voted for Nash to become lieutenant colonel of the 1st North Carolina Regiment under the command of then-colonel James Moore. In April 1776, Nash was promoted to colonel to replace Moore, who had received a promotion to brigadier general. Nash took part in the expedition to aid Charleston in 1776, which culminated in the Battle of Sullivan's Island. Immediately prior to that engagement, Nash had been ordered by Major General Charles Lee, at the time commander of the Southern Department, to relieve William Moultrie's South Carolina troops on Sullivan's Island, but the British assault prevented that relief. Moultrie would go on to successfully defend the island from a much larger British force.
Philadelphia campaign 
Nash returned with his regiment to North Carolina in anticipation of being ordered to join General George Washington's army in the north, but fears of British and Indian attacks in Georgia prevented Nash from being ordered to join the main Continental Army. On February 5, 1777, Nash was promoted to brigadier general by the Continental Congress. Additionally, Nash was tasked with recruiting more Continental Army soldiers from the western part of the state. He was force to abandon that task after the death of James Moore on April 15, 1777. Nash was placed in command of the North Carolina Brigade since Robert Howe, whose commission as a general predated Nash's, was forced to remain in command of a force defending South Carolina. Nash marched north to join Washington's army and commanded the all nine North Carolina Continental Army regiments at the Battle of Brandywine.
Battle of Germantown and death 
After the British capture of Philadelphia on September 11, 1777, Washington took to the offensive and struck at the British forces in the Battle of Germantown. Initially, the North Carolina brigade was intended to serve in the Continental Army's reserve, but Washington, out of a desire to defend his flank, had ordered Nash into action. Nash was mortally wounded while leading his brigade in that engagement on October 4, 1777 when a fragment of a cannonball injured him in the hip, and killed the horse on which he had been mounted. A musket ball struck him in the head, causing him to be blind. When he received his wound, Nash was commanding a fighting retreat, slowly moving his unit backwards in order to stall the British advance. Thomas Paine, who saw Nash taken off the battlefield, later stated that the general's wounds had rendered him unrecognizable. He succumbed to his wounds on October 7 at a private residence near Kulpsville, Pennsylvania. Nash was then buried in the Towamencin Mennonite Meetinghouse Cemetery in Towamencin Township, Pennsylvania on October 9, 1777 along with other officers who had perished at Germantown.
After his death, on April 29, 1784, Nash's heirs received a land grant representing 84 months of Continental Army service, which exceeded Nash's actual service time. The cities of Nashville, Tennessee and Nashville, North Carolina, as well as Nash County, North Carolina, were named in his honor. In 1938, a historical marker was placed near Nash's home in Hillsborough commemorating his life and service. Nash's home in Hillsborough is now commemorated as the Nash-Hooper House, as it was purchased by William Hooper, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, after Nash's death.
- Reed 1991, p. 358.
- Kars 2002, pp. 183–184.
- Rankin 1971, p. 74–75.
- Rankin 1971, pp. 88–89.
- Rankin 1971, p. 113.
- Rankin 1971, p. 115.
- Babits & Howard 2004, p. 193.
- "Marker: G-10 – FRANCIS NASH". North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "The Town of Nashville, North Carolina". Town of Nashville. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "History of Nash County". Nash County, NC – Official Website. Nash County. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Babits, Lawrence; Howard, Joshua B. (2004). "Fortitude and Forbearance": The North Carolina Continental Line in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Archives and History. ISBN 0-86526-317-5.
- Kars, Marjoleine. (2002). Breaking Loose Together: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4999-6.
- Rankin, Hugh F. (1971). The North Carolina Continentals (2005 ed.). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1154-2.
- Reed, John F. (1991). "Nash, Francis". In Powell, William S. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Volume 4 (L-O). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1918-0.