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First Name: Nicholas

Last Name: Fish

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Militia - Revolutionary War

Date of Birth: 28 August 1758

Date of Death: 20 June 1833


Years Served:
Nicholas Fish

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Nicholas Fish

Major, New York Regiment

Nicholas Fish was born on 28 August 1758 in New York City, NY.

He attended Princeton at age 16 but left before graduating to pursue the study of law at King's College (now Columbia University) through the office of John Morin Scott in New York. There he became actively interested in the organization of the Sons of Liberty; it was also where he met his life-long friend, Alexander Hamilton.

American Revolutionary War

At the start of the Revolution, Fish and Hamilton joined the New York Militia "Hearts of Oak" (1st Battalion/5th Field Artillery Regiment). In 1776, Fish was appointed as Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier General John Morin Scott. On 21 August 1776 he was appointed Major of the 2nd New York Regiment. Fish served with distinction throughout the war, weathering the brutal winter at Valley Forge (1777 to 1778), and served as a Division Inspector under Steuben in 1778. He participated in the battles of Saratoga and Monmouth, in Sullivan's Expedition against the Native Americans in 1779, and in the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns, in which he served for a time on the staff of Lafayette. At Yorktown (1781) he was Hamilton's second in command of three battalions and their efforts were decisive in the British defeat and surrender.

Post-War Years

In 1786, he was appointed Adjutant General of New York State, a position he held for many years. In 1794 he was appointed by President Washington as Supervisor of the Federal Revenue in New York City. On two occasions Fish ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress, losing to Samuel L. Mitchill in 1804 and Gurdon S. Mumford in 1806. Fish also twice ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of New York. In 1810, he was the Federalist candidate, but lost to incumbent John Broome. Broome subsequently died one month into his term in August 1810. Fish ran in a special election for Lieutenant Governor in 1811 to fill the vacancy created by Broome's death, but lost to the then-mayor of New York City, DeWitt Clinton. During the War of 1812, Fish served as a member of the City Committee of Defense.


Nicholas Fish's portrait can be seen at far right bottom row of John Trumbull's famous painting (1820), The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.


In 1804, Fish married into the prominent Stuyvesant family. Fish was the father of New York Governor/Senator Hamilton Fish.

At the end of his life, he was chairman of the Board of Trustees at Columbia College, a post later held by his son, Hamilton Fish.

Death and Burial

Nicholas Fish died on 20 June 1833. He is buried in the churchyard of Saint Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery in Manhattan, NY, across the street from his home (the Stuyvesant-Fish House, now a historic landmark); there is also a memorial tablet for him inside the church.

Honoree ID: 2489   Created by: MHOH




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