Musician James “Jim” McPherson was born at Barbour County, Alabama on December 6th, 1839.
Sometime prior to 1860, his family moved to Marianna in Jackson County, Florida. In the census of that year, he is shown living at his father Archibald’s residence along with his step-mother Debora Ann (nee Edinfield), an older sister, three younger brothers and two younger sisters.
James, his younger brother Alexander, and father Archibald all enlisted on March 20th, 1862 at Chattahoochee, Gadsden County, Florida; James was 16 years old and Alexander was 15 years old. Both were assigned as musicians.
In November and December 1863, “Jim” pulled guard duty at the city jail at Knoxville, Tennessee on November 17th-18th; in the same period, he was also detailed as a company cook.
[NOTE: A guard detail was posted for a period of 24 hours and then relieved. Each detail consisted of three reliefs; each relief contained a sufficient number of men to occupy each post. Each man was “on post” for a period of two hours and relieved for a period of four hours before going back “on post”. See BOOK Seddon, James A. Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States, 1863. J. W Randolph, 121 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia]
[NOTE: Both armies attempted collective cooking on a company level by assigning two men per company as a company cook. This system, however, never really caught on and by and large soldiers prepared their food in “messes” of 4-10 men. This system allowed men to collectively prepare food, using combined cooking supplies and rations. These “messes” quickly became something more than a cooking party; they became a social unit through which soldiers shared food, clothing, shelter and camaraderie. Such bonds of love and friendship sustained these soldiers through four years of blood and hardship just as much as the hardtack and coffee in their haversacks. See ARTICLE Goodnite, Jason Cooking on Campaign, 26th North Carolina Regiment, http://www.26nc.org/Articles/cooking%20on%20campaign.pdf accessed 2016-08-04]
He suffered a pay stoppage for “ordnance stores lost” between November 1st and December 31st, 1863 in the amount of $13.30; this likely due to the Confederate defeat at Missionary Ridge on November 25th, 1863. Jim was present on all rolls until November 15th, 1864; he is documented as an in-patient at the Madison House Hospital at Montgomery, Alabama on November 5th, 1864 for unknown ailment. He was reported present with the company from this point until it surrendered at Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865. He was listed with the rank of Private, and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina on May 1st, 1865.
James married Ellen Browning sometime after 1862. He applied for and was awarded a Florida Confederate Pension. Private “Jim” McPherson died on June 16th, 1930 at Greensboro, Gadsden County, Florida and is interred at the Sunny Dell Cemetery, Gretna, Gadsden County, Florida.