Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Captain Henry Nichols (1842-1899): Died from heat in Philippine-American War

Grave of Captain Henry Nichols (photo by Michael Colbruno) and news headline

Captain Henry Nichols, was the commander of the United States double turreted monitor Monadnock during the Philippine-American War. He died in the first year of the war, which lasted from 1899-1902. The war was over the First Philippine Republic's objection to the terms of the Treaty of Paris under which the United States took possession of the Philippines from Spain ending the Spanish–American War. The war was a continuation of the Philippine struggle for independence that began in 1896 with the Philippine Revolution.

Captain Nichols died from sunstroke aboard his vessel at Cavite during an intense period of hot weather. The Monandock had been lying off ParaƱque for two months where it had been under heavy fire from the rebels on a daily basis. Nichols had been fighting for the occupation of ParaƱque by American forces.
Newspaper account of Captain Nichols' death
Nichols refused an an offer to retire the ship from her duties and said he would stay until the area was cleared of rebels. However, Captain Nichols was overcome by the heat around noon on June 10, 1899. He retired to his cabin, where he received frequent reports of the operations and continued to give orders for the next three hours, when he finally lost consciousness. He died two hours later.

Several hours before his death he expressed gratification at the way events were progressing, remarking to an officer: "We have got the rebels there at last."

After his death, the flags on all the vessels in the area were half masted.

You can read about his wife Juliet in another "Lives of the Dead" post by clicking HERE

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