When the war began in 1861, Nathaniel and his son Nathaniel Jr, age 17, promptly enlisted as Privates in Company D of the 7th Georgia Infantry and went to Virginia. His 7th Georgia service records are sketchy but do show him as serving until December 1861 when he was discharged due to age and disability. His son was discharged the following month because of rheumatism. It was during this period in 1861 that Nathaniel's picture was taken since he is shown in the distinctive uniform jacket of the 7th Georgia.
Returning home to Marietta, Nathaniel quickly recovered and reenlisted in Company B of the Phillips Legion's Cavalry Battalion on February 27th 1862. Unfortunately, virtually all of the Legion Cavalry records for 1862 and much of 1863 were lost or destroyed during the war so we don't know the details of his service. We do know that he was promoted to Captain and ACS (Commisary) during 1862 since he is shown in this position when he is listed on ANV Special Order #35/1 dated February 4th 1863. This order places him on Leave of Absence. We would probably not know much more about him except that his wife, Lucretia, applied for a widow's pension in 1894 based upon his Confederate service. In her application she states that he served with the Legion Cavalry until late 1864 "after the Maryland Campaign" when he was furloughed home suffering from chronic dysentery. She goes on to state that he took to his bed and was unable to leave it until his death on July 2nd 1865. Cavalry Battalion muster rolls are still existent for late 1863 through the end of 1864 and he does not appear on these rolls. Based upon this and Mrs Calder's statement that he came home after the Maryland Campaign we think it is probable that he returned to Marietta in early 1863 and remained home disabled by dysentery until his death in 1865.
Nathaniel is buried at Marietta's Citizens Cemetery with his wife, Lucretia, beside him. She died in October 1894 just months after receiving her widow's pension.