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Army Record & Obituary of George Monroe Autry

George Monroe AUTRY. He was the son of Jacob B. and Temperance EMBRY AUTRY. He was born at Salem, Ms. 4 Jan. 1842 and died at Rockport, Tx., 15 Feb. 1907 and is buried in Karnes County, Kenedy, Texas. George married Angeline Elmina WILSON (27 Nov. 1841 - 12 Mar. 1921) in Chewalla, McNairy County, Tenn. 17 Dec. 1857. His brother John A. and Caleb Cox went with them. (This Caleb Cox was the son of Elijah and Celia Horn Cox of Salem who lived in Purdy, McNairy County)

Company was organized at Salem, Mississippi, in March 1862. Ben LAX was elected Captain. From there we went to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where we met nine other Companies from Tippah (my County) and Marshall Counties.

We marched down to Lumkin Mill, nine miles south of Holly Springs, where we  organized the 34th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, elected Benton Colonel and D.B. WRIGHT, Lt. Colonel, and a few days afterwards we were camped at Corinth, Mississippi, and then we began to see what war really meant.

We were placed in Gen. Anderson's Brigade, Beauregard's Army; from there we followed Gen. Bragg on his Kentucky Campaign. Soon after our return from Kentucky to Tennessee, we were placed in a Brigade with the 24th, 29th, and 30th Mississippi Regiments, and Gen. Wallthall, one of the greatest men of his time was our Brigade Commander.

I was continuously with my command from its return from Kentucky until I was captured in the Battle above the Clouds, on the 24th day of November, 1863.

I was engaged in all of the battles that the army of Tennessee was engaged in up to that time, of which Murfreesboro (or Stone River as History calls it) and Chickamauga are the principal ones. I think I was in several skirmishes that would make San Juan Hill in Cuba look like thirty cents.

All orders that were read at Dress Parade would begin at Headquarters, Polk's Corps, Withers Division, Army of Tennessee.

My Post Office Address those days was: G.M. AUTRY, Private, Company K., 34 Regiment, Mississippi Infantry, Polk's Corps, Withers Division, Wallthall Brigade, Army of Tennessee.

I was confined in prison from the time I was captured, on Rock Island, Illinois until the ____ day of March, 1865, when I was exchanged at the mouth of the James River. Some few days later I received a furlough at Richmond, Virginia, for thirty days, and before I reached home, Gen. Lee surrendered his army.

Obituary of George Monroe Cox in 1908 Confederate Veteran magazine

 

George M. Autry was born near Salem, Tippah County, Miss., and died at Rockport, Tex., in February, 1907. He was left an orphan at an early age. He enlisted for the Confederacy in March, 1862, at Salem, Miss., joining a company of which Ben Lax was captain, and which afterwards became a part of the 34th Mississippi Infantry in Anderson's Brigade under Beauregard. From Corinth it was with General Bragg on his Kentucky Campaign. After returning to Tennessee, the regiment was placed in Walthall's Brigade. Comrade Autrey was continuously with his command until captured in the "battle above the clouds," Lookout Mountain, in November, 1863. He was in prison at Rock Island until March 13, 1865, when he was exchanged. He received a furlough a few days later, but before he reached home General Lee had surrendered.

Comrade Autrey was married at Chewalla, Tenn., in December 1857, to Miss Angelina E. Wilson, who, with eight children, survives him. He removed with his family to Texas in 1869, settling near Houston. Removing afterwards to Guadalope County, he served for many years as Sherriff, and in 1895 he made his home at Kenedy, Karnes County, residing there until death.

 

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Maj. Solomon (Sol) Street

    

Sol Street was one of 18 children born to Anderson and Keziah McBride Street, one of the earliest settlers of Tippah Co. Miss. Sol was a carpenter by trade and enlisted early in the war (1861) in the Magnolia Guards which later was merged into the 2nd Miss. Infantry. He served at First Manassas, Seven Pines, and the Seven Days Battles. After North Miss. was invaded in 1862 he hired a substitute under the provisions of the Conscription Act and returned home.

Street next is on record as having been made a captain in the Citizen's Guards of Tippah Co. Technically he was under Gen. Chalmers' command but was able to detach himself from the Gen.'s command so that he could harass the Federals along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad between Memphis and Corinth.

Street establish headquarters of sorts in an inpenetrable bottom of Tippah Creek, from which he operated an efficient and unorthodox intelligence system which served him well in his military activities. By 1863, Street had earned the enviable description of "noted Guerilla" and the unsubstantiated title of Colonel.

Finally, Street saw that his days as the leader of an independent group of hit-and-run fighters were numbered. He evaded (regular) Confederate service for the last time by moving into the extreme southwest section of Tenn.

Street's military career reached its peak while he was serving as a Major in the 15th Tn., a battalion under the command of Gen. N.B. Forrest.

After the engagement at Ft. Pillow, Tenn., the following account details Street's last days, which were spent in the Bolivar, Tn. area.

In Dec. 1862 William Galloway, a Saulsbury, Tn. farmer had an altercation with Street over the sale of cotton. Street killed Galloway without provocation.

Galloway had a son named Robert who swore he would avenge his father's death, sending word far and wide that he would kill Street on sight. Robert was not quite 17 but enlisted in Capt. Higgs' Independent Scouts and bided his time.

It was over a year before he ran across the man he had sworn to kill. On May 2, 1864, just after Forrest's command, numbering about 200 all told, had had a brush with over 1,000 Federal troops near Bolivar, Higgs' Scouts camped with Forrest's troops at Bolivar and there Robert met Maj. Street. True to his word, he avenged his father's death.

Shooting a Major of his command was to Forrest an unpardonable crime and young Galloway was placed in charge of a guard of ten men with the cheering information that as sure as the sun rose in the morning he would be shot, and admonished him to make his peace with his God. The guards were instructed to "bind him fast and have him forthcoming when called for, or their lives should answer for his escape." Forrest also ordered that he should be tied with a rope and two men at a time should stand guard over him, one of whom should "hold on to the rope." Accordingly, his hands were tied, a long rope was placed around his neck, which one of the guards held in his hand.

The first two to have charge of him were John W. Key of Washington, D.C. and L.H. Russ. Russ was about 16 years old and not much bigger than a piece of chalk--and for that reason was called the "baby of Forrest's escort." From the first his sympathies were enlisted on the side of the prisoner. Getting into conversation with Galloway, he got the entire story of the killing, talked it over with the guards, and won over the most of them to the idea of letting him get away. Russ stayed awake the whole night, and every 2 hours when the relief was changed, he asked, "is he still there?" hoping to that each succeeding relief would give him a chance to "skip".

Later Key and Russ were on duty guarding the prisoner in the corner of a rail fence and the two begin talking in a way to let Galloway know he had better untied himself and make his get-away. "That fellow is a fool to stay here and get shot," said Ross. "If he tries to get away I shall shoot at him--but I won't hit him," replied Key. "If I was in his place, I'd make a break for our horses over there and take one and ride like the devil," said Russ, "and I would not care if he got mine." Key was holding the rope and Russ laid down across it between Key and the prisoner, and Galloway worked around, got his knife out of his pocket, cut his bonds and stole away quietly to the horses. He perferred to leave on foot rather than give them any chance to track him, as they would be able to do had he taken a horse. Revellie was sounded just as he disappeared in the woods.

Waiting a sufficient time to give Galloway a chance to make his escape, the two guards began shooting their revolvers and running in an opposite direction from that taken by the prisoner. "Boots and Saddles" was sounded at once, the escort formed in lines and in two minutes Forrest put in an appearance, supposing the Federals were about to attack them.

On learning that the prisoner had escaped, and none of the guards being able to tell how it happened, the dashing cavalry leader began cursing the guard, damning them individually, collectively, in detail and by sections; damned his whole escort from the highest officer in it to the cook--not one escaped his wrath--and after cursing all of the State of Tenn. in general and Bolivar in particular he order the guard under arrest, with the statement that he was about to march to Tupelo, Miss., and on arrival there he "intended to shoot every damned one of the ten guards." They were ordered to fall in the rear of the escort and the march began.

On the way to Tupelo, the guards were all dishartened at the prospect of being shot except the "baby" who kept saying "Don't worry boys, Forrest won't shoot ten of his escort--good men are too scarce to kill 'em that way."

Arriving at Tupelo, Forrest put the guard in a little old shanty in which a number of goats had been housed for a year, again telling them he would shoot the whole ten of them at sunrise. They were kept there for a week or more, when Russ one day climbed up the old fashioned chimney while some of his companions engaged the attention of the guard, climbed down the roof made his way to his company quarters and got Capt. Jackson and Maj. Strong to interced with Forrest for their release.

Russ made his way back to the goat pen the same way he got out, and Forrest, who had somewhat cooled down by this time released all except Sgt. Sims, who was Sgt. of the guard, declaring he would court-martial and shoot him. Sims stayed in the goat pen a week longer, when he was tried by court-martial and there being no evidence to convict, he went free. Sims never knew till long after the war who turned the prisoner loose.

Many years later Gallowy was visiting the Masonic Library during the meeting of the grand bodies and on looking over the register saw Russ' name. They had not met but each had a letter from the other. Galloway immediately went up to the lodge room, walked in, closely scrutinized every face and at last saw the features of the boy who 39 years before, snatched him from the jaws of death and gave him life and freedom. Going out into the anteroom, he had the Grand Sentinel call Russ out of the chapter room, and when he came Galloway found that he had faithfully remembered the features of the "baby of Forrest's escort."

Then, of course, that fearful night was reconstructed. The writer through a friend met the two and had the story told for his edification. It is no fairy tale, but an actual incident of the war. When Galloway was aksed how he could remember the face of Russ so well, he remarked that the features of his preserver were burned into his very soul, and that he could never forget him. He added: "As long as I live that boy shall never want for anything and I have told my wife that, if I died before she does, she must share her last crust with him if he needs it, and you can safely bet that she will cheerfully do so."

Both are Masons and this cemented the bond of friendship between them. Cal Street, a brother of the man Galloway killed was also a Mason. They are firm friends, but the killing has never been mentioned between them and probably never will be.

Shortly after Galloway had returned to Saulsbury, after the war, some of Maj. Street's friends went quietly to work to have him tried by civil authority for the killing of Maj. Street. The Sheriff put a quietus to it, saying: "Boys, Bob Galloway has more friends in this country than Steet ever had and if anything more is done toward trying him for what he did during the war, there will be a heap more dead men lying around lose in this neighborhood than you ever saw--and they will be those who stir up this matter too."

Here ends the account of how Robert Galloway was saved from the grave by L.H. Russ, a boy who took chances of being shot himself to save a total stranger. The two are fast friends and will be while life lasts.

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Death of Carry Ray

The following was narrated by W. M. Horton, who was an eye witness to the first scene.

Two old men, Billy Holly and John Barnett accompanied by W. M. Horton, then a boy, had started through the Federal line with a wagon containing about 400 pounds of lint cotton. Their destination was Bethel, Tenn. The cotton was loose but trampled in the wagon bed and covered with a coverlet.

On the road they met Captain [Sol] Street [of the Confederate Army] returning from a raid to Pocahontas [Tenn.] with five Federal prisoners.

Street stopped the wagon and ascertaining its contents promptly struck a match and set it on fire. This he had orders to do from the Confederate govt.

The owners of the cotton turned the bed off on the ground and emptied it of its flaming contents to prevent the wagon from being burned up and then returned home.

Street's men proceeded on their way, with the Federal prisoners in front. As they approached the residence of an old gentleman named Carry Ray the latter caught sight of the prisoners and, thinking a Federal raid was coming, dashed out at the back door of his house and fled. Mr. Ray was dressed in blue jeans, was himself mistaken for a Federal soldier and fired upon and mortally wounded by a member of Street's company. Exactly who fired the unfortunate shot seems to be in doubt, some claiming it was Rolla White and others that it was another member of the company.

Mr. Ray lingered in agony for two days and died. He was a brother of Ambrose Ray a noted Baptist preacher and grandfather of L. T. Ray, now dead, who married Miss Linnie Lowery [Lowrey] of Blue Mountain."

Source: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES From the files of the SOUTHERN SENTINEL, February 8, 1894 – December 20, 1894, Edited by Tommy Lockhart, Published by the Tippah County Historical and Genealogical Society, 308 North Commerce St., Ripley, Mississippi, September 1978, pp. 45,46. A copy of this source document is on file in the Ripley Public Library, Ripley, MS.

Personal Notes of Alton Spencer Ray, Jr. 3117 Sonora Trail, Fort Worth TX, 76116-5007 who submitted this article:

1) W. M. Horton is William Morris Horton, one of five sons of Raleigh C. Horton and Rachel Caldwell, who was age 16 at the time of this event. He enlisted in Co. G of the 7th Mississippi Cavalry shortly after this event.

2) Carrelton (Carry) Ray, born November 15, 1802 in Union District, SC, died December 17, 1862, at age 60, was a farmer and resided in the Jonesborough area of Tippah County, MS. He was the husband of Jenet Scott Martin and father of Sarah Ann (RAY) Gibbs, James Franklin Ray, and Nancy Melvina (RAY) McMakin, and a brother of Jesse Ray, all of whom are buried in Union Cemetery at Chalybeate, MS. Jesse, a Sgt. in Co. G of the 7th Mississippi Cavalry, died October 29, 1864 [of yellow fever] while in a hospital in Mobile, Alabama [date per his military record, but his gravestone shows he died October 30]. Carry's brother Ambrose Ray is buried in Garrett Cemetery 2 miles East of Tiplersville, MS. Leon T. Ray is buried in Union Cemetery and his wife Linnie Lowrey, youngest daughter of General Mark Perrin Lowrey, is buried in Blue Mountain Cemetery in Tippah County.

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Reminiscences of W. T. Grisham

 

From Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray, 1861 - 1865

W.T. Grisham, Ennis, Texas--Born near Old Salem, Miss. Enlisted in the Confederate Army in March, 1862 at Maxie's Store as private in Company K, Thirty-Fourth Mississippi Regiment, Jones' Brigade (Jones deserted us at Perryville, Ky.; Walthall took command of the brigade and continued on), Walker's Division, Army of Tennessee; Bentax (Note: Ben Lax), first Captain; Sam Benton, first Colonel.

Was wounded in the head at the battle of Chickamauga; knocked down by a bombshell. Also received a wound in the head at the battle of Missionary Ridge. Was in the battles of Perryville, Ky.; Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.

While with Gen. Bragg through Kentucky, upon our arrival at Perryville, we met the enemy and we had a battle, and a very serious one. We went into the battle with forty-three men, the Captain, two Lieutenants, Colonel and Major; they were all killed or wounded, and Company K came out with three men and one Sergeant. After all our hardships and struggles we drove the enemy back five miles. Then we were ordered to pile up our dead and build a fence around them for burial. Eighteen were killed out of the right wing of the regiment. The next morning we started for Camp Dick Robertson, where we captured the enemy and their winter supplies. They were going into winter quarters here, and all the provisions we did not take we burned. Then Bragg pulled for Cumberland Gap, and from there to Knoxville, Tenn. We were on a steady march for fourteen days, and I was barefooted.

 

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Old Soldier meets the man who saved his life during the war

When Mrs. Joe Mercer applied for a widow's pension based on the service of her husband, Marion Mercer/Messer, Mr. Harvey J. Butts wrote this interesting story as proof of Marion's service:

Elderville Texas   
Feb. 23, 1924     
Henderson Texas

Hon. J. T. Watson

Sir

In complying with your request relative to what I know about the service of Mr. Marion Mercer who lived in this community for about 35 years. Coming here soon after the close of the Civil War. I think that the best evidence I ever had of his service was when I happened to be present at a meeting between Mr. Mercer and Capt. Tuttle who belonged to the cavalry from Virginia who after the close of the war went into the Ministry. And at the time I knew him was Pastor of the Longview Presbyterian Church. He also organized the Presbyterian Church here. In 1892 the present church building was erected. Mr. D. B. Elder and myself built the house according to plans furnished by Mr. Tuttle who personally supervised all of the work. While the house was being built Mr. Tuttle and Mr. Elder talked incessantly of their experiences during their service in the Confederate Army. And one day I think in the later part of August while they were talking about the war Mr. Mercer rode up. And after listening to them for awhile joined in the conversation. The conversation soon became one of personal experience first one and then the other. relating his or some comrades experience.

Finally Mr. Mercer told of having been cut off from his command while on Scout duty. He said that he with 3 companions had crossed a river when the Yankees cut them off and tried to capture them. They refused to surrender and run for the river, two of his comrades were killed before they reached the river. Mr. Mercer and the other one jumped into the river and started to swim back. The Yankees firing on them as they swam his companion was killed in the stream and the bullets were striking all around him, when all at once a company of Virginia Cavalry rushed up and drove the enemy back and he made his way to the bank. And was taken up behind the Captain on his horse and restored to his own Command. When he had finished the story Mr. Tuttle began to ask him questions about what river. the date. And what Company it was that came to his rescue. All of which he answered readily. Then Mr. Tuttle got up from his seat on a pile of timber and told him that he was the Captain who had led the company to the rescue. Mr. Mercer arose asked him a question or two. Then quickly going up to him threw his arms around him and embraced him as he would have a brother. It was the most affectionate Metting I ever witnessed between two men. And I have never doubted in my mind but that the story as related was true.

I was born during the war and raised by Confederate Parents and have heard these old stories from my first recollection but the story told by Mr. Mercer on that occasion impressed me more than any I ever heard. And trusting that this will be of some benefit to his Widow whoom I know to be worthy and deserving, I beg to remain. Sincerely Yours,

Harvey J. Butts

Note: Mrs. Mercer applied for pension twice and both applications were rejected.

 

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Woman and Child Saved By a Kind Yankee Officer

 often heard my grandmother, the late Nora Collins Wilkerson tell of an interesting story that her grandmother and great-grandmother experienced during the civil war. The story goes as follows. My grandmother's great grandmother was named Sarah Collins yet everyone called her Sac. She was a woman of about 30 when the war broke out and had one child named Rosa who was about 7 years old at this time. These two lived alone in an old log house between Bethel and Old Central church communities in what is now Benton County. The yankees had come through numerous times and took what few chickens and food that they had. They were down to one cow and was only able to save it by hiding it in the cane thickets where the yankees could not find it. They had no salt and dug and boiled sand from the creek to get salt to season what little they had to eat.

It was late in the fall and the yanks came through again looking for food. At this time Sac was in the bed very sick leaving Rosa to take care of things. When the yankees entered demanding food there was little to be had. This infuriated a yankee soilder who was ramsacking their home. He walked over to the fireplace, grabbed a scuttle and scraped up a scuttle of hot coals off the fire. Sac sould not get off the bed to fight back and Rosa began screaming. He lifted up the feather mattress and just as he was about to set the bed on fire his commanding officer heard the screams and walked in. The soldier was commanded to stop. Through his kindness Sac and Rosa were saved. Not only were they saved their cow was never found in the cane thickets and lived on to serve them after the war ended.

MRenick1@aol.com

 

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