NASH, FRANCIS. (1742–1777). Continental general. Virginia and North Carolina. Born in Amelia County, Virginia, 1742, Nash moved to Halifax, North Carolina, with his brother Abner Nash in 1762, where he became a merchant and attorney. In 1763 he became clerk of the court of pleas and quarter sessions. He was representative from Orange County to the House of Commons in 1764, 1765, and 1771, and for Hillsboro from 1773 to 1775. He became a target of the Regulators, ad hoc groups in North and South Carolina who resisted what they saw as the biased legal system of the coastal elite. The Regulators charged Nash with taking excessive fees for his services.
Nash served in William Tryon's forces as a captain of militia at the battle at Alamance on 16 May 1771. As the Revolution approached, he identified himself with the Patriots. He was elected to the second and third provisional congresses of North Carolina in April and August 1775, and on 1 September was named lieutenant colonel of the First North Carolina Continentals. He was promoted to colonel on 10 April 1776, became brigadier general on 5 February 1777, was ordered to raise troops in western North Carolina, and joined General George Washington for the Philadelphia campaign. He commanded a brigade in Nathanael Greene's division at the battle of the Brandywine on 11 September, but did not reach Plowed Hill in time to see action. At Germantown on 4 October 1777, his thigh was broken by a cannon ball as he led his North Carolina brigade into action from the reserve. He died on 7 October, 1777.
Rankin, Hugh F. The North Carolina Continentals. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1971.
revised by Michael Bellesiles