George C. Nichols was born August 10, 1841, in Westminster, Massachusetts, the son of farmer Edmund Nichols and Mary Derby. He was one of at least eight children, including Clara Nichols, his younger sister and frequent correspondent, and Lyman, Francis, and Frederick Nichols, who served with the 15th Massachusetts Infantry. George Nichols enlisted on September 27, 1861, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, with Company F, 25th Massachusetts Infantry. He participated in the battles of Roanoke Island and New Bern, but experienced frequent illnesses, and was in and out of hospitals beginning in August 1862. Nichols was reportedly captured at the siege of Petersburg in May 1864, but his correspondence does not confirm this. Nichols survived the war, and died of illness on May 15, 1867.