David Autry was Richard White's great great great uncle.
David Autry served in Company H, 64th Georgia Infantry Regiment through
its postings to Quincy, Leon County, and Wakulla counties, Florida; to
Savannah, Georgia; back to Florida for the Battle of Olustee; to Savannah
again, and to Petersburg, Virginia. But almost immediately after
arriving, he deserted from the trenches at Petersburg. His desertion was one of several at that time from the
ranks of the 64th Georgia and note was made of them in the Northern press.
In her Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, Lillian Henderson stated that pension records indicate that David Autry died of consumption (tuberculosis) at home on 29 May 1866. I have not seen a pension application pertaining to David Autry, but if there is one it is a widow's application. After David Autry deserted and took the Oath of Allegiance, standard Union procedures would have been to put him in a prisoner of war camp, in a separate section from prisoners who had not taken the Oath. His prisoner of war record in the Compiled Confederate Service Records indicates that David Autry was sent to Columbus, Ohio. I have not been able to confirm this through other records, but I believe that means he was confined in the infamous Camp Chase prisoner of war camp for Confederates there. I have visited David Autry's grave in the Old Autry Cemetery between Americus and Andersonville in Sumter County, Georgia. There is a grave stone with the dates of his birth and death.
Oral history from some of his descendants indicates that the line of
reasoning behind David Autry's decision to desert lay in a belief,
sparked by comments of a Confederate doctor, that Union doctors would
have medicine to treat his illness... presumably the consumption, but
that may not have been the only condition which afflicted him at the
time. Oral history is often "good", but it is not usually very
detailed. In David Autry's case there are those who believe he
was imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland. Union prisoner of war
rolls show him arriving at Bermuda Hundred on 5 July 1864, detained at
Camp Distribution on "Bermuda 100" on 6 July 1864 and being sent to
Ohio on 12 July 1864. However, other Union records show him
arriving at Fort Monroe on 6 July 1864 and being "released" at Fort
Monroe on 12 July. Also, there is reference to an Oath of
Allegiance sworn by David Autry at Fort Monroe on 16 July 1864,
four days after he was allegedly sent to Ohio; however that 16 July date
is on an extract card and was probably written 25 to 35 years later in
the War Department in Washington, DC, and it could be based on
mis-reading of a date of 6 July or 10 July on the original
record. Some of the records concerned show him as a member of the
64th Virginia instead of the 64th Georgia. Nothing in the records
mentions Point Lookout, Maryland; however, nothing in the Union records
indicates that David Autry arrived anywhere after
departing Virginia, so there is an apparent void in the records which
makes reconciling the various contradictions rather difficult.
The records of the 64th Georgia state that David Autry went home to
Sumter County, but if he had done that it would seem likely that he
would have been apprehended and shot as a deserter, so my best
interpretation of that is that those records state more than was
actually known, and what was stated there was in error. All in
all, accounts of where David Autry was from July 1864 to mid-1865 are
confused, and that seems best described at this point, as "uncertain".
David Autry's physical description in Union prisoner of war records
was: Age - (blank); Eyes - Grey; hair - Blk; Complexion - Dark; height
- 5' 10".
David Autry married Mary Ann McCorkle on 3 October 1850.
Although no photo of David is known to exist, the one on the left is of
David and Mary Ann had 7 children, 6 of whom reached maturity. I have photos of three of them (left to right, below): John Robert Autry (with his wife Louisa Bradley), Pearl Cherry aka Pulchera and "Aunt Sis" Autry Pennington, and George Edward Autrey (with his wife Lillian Griffin).
Mike Leverette's photo of David
Autry's grave stone which was previously included on this page (and was better than mine which was first posted)
has now been replaced by a still better one from David Autry's great
grandson Mr. Neil Pascal Johnson, of Atlanta. Georgia. The
other photos on this page were also sent to me by Mr. Johnson.
Some (but not all) of David's descendants spell their last name
Camp Chase Union
Prisoner of War Camp