James Addison McMurry

James Addison McMurry was born in 1825 in Tennessee, probably the son of Samuel McMurry of Sumner County. Entering the University of Nashville in 1841, he graduated with an A.B. degree in 1843 and became an attorney. In 1850 McMurry practiced law in Gallatin, Tennessee. By 1855 he had moved his practice to Nashville and in 1859 became a law partner of his old college classmate, future Confederate General George Maney.

At the start of the war McMurry joined the "Sewanee Rifles," a Nashville area unit officered by local lawyers. He was elected first lieutenant of that company, later Company C of the 20th Tennessee Infantry, but resigned his commission in June, 1861. On August 5, 1861, McMurry was elected lieutenant colonel of Churchwell's 4th Tennessee Infantry of the Provisional Army (occasionally called the 34th Tennessee to be distinguished from Strahl's 4th Tennessee). The regiment was stationed in east Tennessee in 1861 and early 1862. At the April 16, 1862, reorganization of the 4th, McMurry was elected colonel and led the 4th, which was part of General E. Kirby Smith's Army of Kentucky, during General Braxton Bragg's 1862 invasion of Kentucky. In the fall of 1862 the 4th was transferred to Major General Benjamin E Cheatham's division of the Army of Tennessee. At the Battle of Stone's River McMurry was praised for "gallantry and efficiency" by his brigade commander (and former law partner) Brigadier General George Maney. As senior colonel, McMurry commanded Maney's brigade at various times in 1863. At the Battle of Chickamauga, he again led his regiment and, early in the action of September 19, "fell mortally wounded . . . while cheering his men on." General Maney's report of the battle called McMurry, "a gentleman of the noblest qualities and an officer of fine abilities and great gallantry." Taken from the field, McMurry died at the Marietta, Georgia, hospital on October 2, 1863. He is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta.

McMurry is termed a general in SHSP for leading Maney's brigade. McMurray's History of the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A. says Colonel McMurry was promoted to "Brigadier General while on the field of Chickamauga only a few hours before he received his death wound."' All the OR of his wounding and death refer to McMurry as colonel. Moreover, since his superior, General Maney, was still in brigade command, there existed no obvious vacancy to which McMurry could have been promoted.

Previous Page

Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.