John Murphy

John Murphy was Richard White's half-great great great uncle

John Murphy was my great great grandfather John English Autry's half-brother by his mother, Barbara ("Bubby") Rebecca  McMillian's first marriage, to James Murphy.  A John Murphy was enrolled in Company H, 64th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a private, on 18 January 1864, and was listed as killed at Ocean Pond, Florida, on 15 February 1864, according to the "muster roll" (actually it is an annotated unit roster) referenced as a link at the bottom of this page.  However, the Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond) did not occur until 20 February 1864.  Whether the date of death shown on the "muster roll" was a transcription error, or whether he actually died five days before the battle is not known.  In fact there is a lot about John Murphy that is not known, and what is known is somewhat confusing.

I found no service record for John Murphy in the Compiled Confederate Service Records.  However, in their The Confederate Roll of Honor: Southern Casualties at the Battle of Olustee (published by the Olustee Battlefield Citizen's Support Organization, 1997) Russell A. Alexander and David J. Coles do list a John Murphy, as well as James Y. Murphy and Doc Murphy, of the 64th Georgia Infantry, as casualties... John and Doc as killed, and James a being severely wounded in the right shoulder.  But, a John W. Murphy, of Sumter County, Georgia, signed an affidavit in connection with the Georgia Confederate pension application of Mary M. Autry, John English Autry's widow, on 3 February 1893, and in it stated that John English Autry had lived near him in Sumter County until he moved in 1869.  It was not an explicit requirement, but affidavits in pension files tended to be signed by veterans of the same unit as the soldier with regard to whom they testified.

There was no other John Murphy in the 64th Georgia Infantry, and a search of the 1860 Georgia census shows that the Murphy surname was a very uncommon one in Georgia at that time.  I do not have sufficient information about the Murphy family to know if any of the other listed casualties of the Battle of Olustee were related, nor am I even positive that it was John English Autry's half-brother John Murphy who was listed as killed at Olustee, though I believe that it was him.  Given its remote location and the exceptional dispersion of the wounded after this battle, to numerous points all over North Florida and South Georgia, I suppose that it is conceivable that the record of John Murphy being a casualty was wrong.  But there was no record of further service, and he was not reported as wounded but rather killed outright in the battle.  That would seem to be an event the recording of which would be less subject to error.

It is not possible to learn anything more from the graves of the Confederate dead of Olustee than from casualty reports made at the time and other such records.  The Confederate dead fared better than the Union dead, who were reportedly disinterred from their mass grave at the battlefield and eaten by hogs... their scattered bones not being reinterred by a detachment from the 7th U.S. Infantry until 1866.  The Confederate dead were carried to Lake City, Florida, and were individually interred there.  However, the graves were not marked until decades later and in fact they all have blank stones.  No one knows who was buried where, there apparently was no listing of the interments, some dead from other times were intermixed, and there no exact count of the number of interments related to the battle.  Two markers in Lake City: one at the Columbia County Courthouse and one at Oak Lawn Cemetery, give different numbers.


                      Muster Roll of Co. H., 64th Georgia Volunteer Infantry

                        And see the links at the foot of the page on John English Autry.

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This page was created by Richard White on 25 December 1998.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  14 December 1999.