James M. Carter was the first husband of Richard White's father's father's mother, Sarah Spears.
James M. Carter was born in North Carolina, probably in Duplin County, about 1835, and lived near Tired Creek, Thomas County, Georgia, before the war. By a will of his father, Herring Carter, Sr., signed in 1880, and a codicil signed in 1881, 100 acres of land and a grist mill "on Tyred Creek" in Georgia Land Lot 99 of Thomas County were bequeathed to the children of James M. Carter, and it is likely that James M. Carter had lived on or in the vicinity of that land. He was enrolled as a private in the 5th Florida Infantry Regiment, Company K, near Tallahassee at Camp Leon in Leon County, Florida, on April 30 1862.
The 5th Florida was assigned to Perry's Florida Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. On the way to Virginia, James M. Carter was "left sick" at Warrenton on 27 August 1862. His brother, Morris Carter, was apparently either sick as well, or stayed to tend his sick brother, as Morris is shown as being absent without leave on 26 August 1862 near Salem, North Carolina. Paradoxically, Morris died at Esliett, North Carolina, but James recovered.
James M. Carter was shown by the 5th Florida, Company K, as absent without leave for the period of January through February 1863, and absent again in March through April of 1863, however this was from having been wounded "Monday the 4th inst", presumably 4 April 1863. However, he is also shown on a roll of the Medical Director's Office as being hospitalized with "general debility" since 6 December 1862 and on a hospital muster roll of the Florida Hospital for March and April 1863. He was wounded in the head at either Chancellorsville or Fredericksburg, according to a list of casualties of Perry's Brigade dated 9 May 1863. He was furloughed for 60 days from the Florida General Hospital, in Richmond, on 10 June, 1863. He was carried on the roll as "absent sick" from May through August 1863, but returned to duty by October 1863. He was captured on 5 July 1864 at Spottsylvania and arrived at the Point Lookout, Maryland, Union prisoner of war camp, on 13 July 1864. From thence he was transported to the Union prisoner of war camp at Elmira, New York, on 27 July 1864. He signed a parole roster at Elmira on 11 October 1864, and was to be included among 3,023 prisoners of war that were shipped to Point Lookout via Baltimore, Maryland, but the entry of his name was crossed out with a red line. He died of "chronic diarrhea" at Elmira, New York, on 11 October 1864, and is buried in grave number 682 in the prison cemetery there.
Information that I have received that is supposed to be from a history of Craven County, North Carolina, but which has not been verified by me, indicates that James M. Carter's direct ancestor Edward Carter moved to North Carolina from Isle of Wight County, Virginia, after taking part in a rent rebellion against the royal governor. His son, John Carter, a North Carolina plantation owner, was deputy marshall in Craven County. This is an excerpt from the history, for which I do not have proper citation:
In February of 1738, Carter committed his ultimate sin. As Deputy Marshal, he had to serve the Governor and Council. The Lower House called on him to help with an election and, according to their records, he sent back a very abusive and saucy answer and refused to go. So the Lower House asked the Council to bind him over to be punished. And the Council ordered Carter to appear at the bar of the Lower House and beg forgiveness for his contempt on his knees, which he did and was severely reprimanded by the House.John Carter's great grandson, Herring Carter, moved to Leon County, Florida, for awhile around 1840, and then to Thomas County, Georgia. Herring Carter's sons Thomas P. Carter, Henry C. Carter, Morris Carter, and James M. Carter served in various Confederate military units from Georgia and Florida. Only Henry C. Carter survived this service.
Whether by coincidence or design, Carter was sent out to arrest one Isaac Gould, who evidently killed Carter and held his body. A posse had to be organized to go after Gould and recover Carter's body.
Carter's wife is unknown, but according to tradition, she was an Indian. There may be some basis for this tradition as John's son Edward was for many years Indian agent for the Colony, charged with entertaining and housing the Indians in New Bern and Edenton in their visits to the Government.
Sarah Spears had two children by James M. Carter: Martha J. ("Mattie") Carter, born 7 January 1862, and James H. Carter, born 12 November 1862. When James M. Carter's father, Herring Carter, died in 1881, he left a good amount of property and his will was contested. Consequently there is family information in the records of the ordinary of court, Thomas County, Georgia, including a guardianship of James H. Carter (then still a minor) by his maternal uncle John A. Spears. The Carters are reputed to number among their ancestors a slave in Virginia in the late 17th Century (until after the Great Yamassee War of 1715 scared the Southern colonial governments badly enough to outlaw the practice, there was a thriving enterprise in the enslavement of Southern Indians and it was believed that this slave was one of those). My grandfather, Charles Henry White, born in 1880, was orphaned before age 5 and was "raised" by his half-sister Hattie Norton Hartley, but was living with his half-uncle "Jim" Carter, near Calvary, in Decatur County, Georgia, at the time of the U.S. Census for 1900.
I must express my great appreciation to Jacque McLaughlin whose knowledge of the Carter family history enabled me to discover and add to what was already known, the military service of the Carters under the Confederacy.
The photo of James M. Carter's grave stone in the Elmira NY POW Camp cemetery was provided by Sherry Nichols on 5 October 2001. I do not know how the marker came to bear the number 691 instead of 682.
5th Florida Infantry Regiment, Company K - Roster
This page was created by Richard
White on 15 February 2000.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on 11 November 2006.