Nicholas Fish: American Soldier and Civic Leader of the Revolutionary Era


Nicholas Fish (1758-1833), an American soldier and civic leader, played a significant role during the Revolutionary Era. Born in New York City, he forged a lifelong friendship with Alexander Hamilton and served with distinction in the Continental Army. This article explores his early life, military service in notable battles such as Monmouth and Yorktown, and his contributions as a civic leader in New York after the war.

nicholas fish


Nicholas Fish, an American soldier and civic leader, was born in New York City on August 28, 1758. His life was marked by significant contributions to both the military and civic affairs of the newly formed United States. After completing his education at the College of New Jersey, he embarked on a path that would intertwine with some of the most prominent figures in American history.

One of the most notable relationships in Fish’s life was his enduring friendship with Alexander Hamilton. This friendship began when both men were members of a New York drill company before the outbreak of the American Revolution. Their bond would grow stronger through shared experiences during the tumultuous years of the war for independence.

In 1775, Fish’s military career began as he joined the New York regiment with the rank of lieutenant. His talents and dedication quickly earned him promotions, and by November 1776, he was commissioned as a major in the 2nd New York Regiment of the Continental Army. Throughout the Revolutionary War, Fish played a role in numerous campaigns that shaped the course of history. He fought in pivotal battles such as Bemis Heights in 1777, Monmouth in 1778, and joined General John Sullivan’s frontier sweep in northern New York in 1779. Fish also served in Lafayette’s Virginia army and was part of Hamilton’s advance unit at the decisive Battle of Yorktown in 1781.

Upon the conclusion of the war, Fish was brevetted to the rank of lieutenant colonel for his distinguished service. He returned to New York, where he continued to serve his community in various capacities. Fish held positions such as state adjutant general, district supervisor of federal revenue, alderman, president of the New York Society of the Cincinnati, and chairman of the board of trustees of Columbia College.


In his personal life, Fish married Elizabeth Stuyvesant in 1803. Their eldest son, Hamilton Fish, was named in honor of Fish’s close friend, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton Fish would go on to become a prominent political figure in his own right, serving as Governor of New York and later as Secretary of State under President Ulysses S. Grant.

Nicholas Fish passed away in New York City on June 20, 1833, leaving behind a legacy of service, friendship, and dedication to the ideals of the young nation he helped to shape. His life is a testament to the enduring bonds forged in times of adversity and the lasting impact of those who devote themselves to the betterment of their communities.

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