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Paducah, KY
Abt 1915

The following is a Tribute of Respect (By G. N. Murphey, M. D., Paducah, Kentucky) About 1915 In this tribute of love and respect to my late deceased brother, J. S. Murphey, Fulton, Ky., I wish to record a few heroic deeds connected with his military life, from 1861 to 1865, while he was so gallantly fighting the battle of our beloved south. He had just passed his 45th marriage anniversary by two days when death claimed him for her own, and had he lived four days longer, until June 1st, he would have reached his 74th mile stone of life. He was a kind and loving brother, a devoted husband and father; a good and respected citizen, and a true patriot to his country. In every storm of life his brave and manly heart was flint and steel, but in his civil and domestic life he was as sweet and gentle as a woman. Profanity and obscenity was never heard from his lips. He was always the typical refined, modest, and courteous, southern gentleman. To the poor and lowly in life, he was ever mindful, and the hungry wayfarer was never known to leave his door empty handed. These things are of common place; it is more particularly of his soldier life I wish to speak. In the spring of 1861 it became evident that war was inevitable between the Northern and southern states. He joined the first company of volunteers raised in his native county, Obion, the Harris Guards, which constituted a part of the famous Fourth Tennessee Regiment of Strahl's Brigade, and General Frank Cheatham's Division of the Army of Tennessee. He was in every engagement his regiment was in, from Sikeston, Missouri, to Ellsberry Ridge in Georgia, where he was severely wounded in the leg, and was never able after that time to serve in the infantry, but later joined Forrest's Cavalry, that he might continue to fight for Dixie. He was honorably paroled at Selma, Alabama, when his company surrendered at that place in May 1865. At Shiloh, his regiment captured McCallaster's Battery of six brass rifle cannon, 24 pounder howitzers. This battery was defended by several thousand Federals, and in this desperate charge and fight the Fourth Regiment lost nearly one half of her brave men, in killed and wounded. At Perryville, Kentucky, the Fourth Regiment helped to capture Jackson's Federal Battery. The gallant Federal General James Jackson lost his life beside his guns that were taken from him. After the battle was over my brother's feet were so swollen and skinned from wearing rough and ill-fitting shoes that he was compelled to march to Cumberland Gap with no other protection for his feet than rags wrapped around them. The last two days of his march was made without rations, and his first meal after reaching the Gap was of a hog that one of the soldiers killed and skinned and boiled it in a camp kettle in water without salt, and it was eaten without bread. He was always a generous adversary to his enemies, and at the time of the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, while on picket duty on a freezing night, the ground being covered with snow, he left his post of duty and went to the aid of a wounded soldier whose piteous cries for help had attracted his attention. Arriving at the wounded man's side, he recognized him as a wounded Federal soldier. Seeing that the poor fellow was freezing to death, he wrapped him up in his only army blanket, returning to his camp to take chances on securing another blanket, as best he might. This act of Christian love and humanity was so far reaching in its principles that it was practically a fulfillment of all the "Laws and Principles". Ten such brave and noble hearted men would have constituted a fighting army on the battlefield. After the battle of Shiloh Gen. Leonidas Polk always spoke of the Fourth Tennessee Regiment as his favorite of the Army of Tennessee. It is told of Gen. Frank Cheatham, that during the battle in which he was engaged, that he was asked if he could take a certain federal battery with his division of men. Whereupon he answered in his own characteristic style, that with his division he could takes Hades, but concerning the battle in question, he could take it with the Fourth Tennessee Regiment. The Fourth Tennessee Regiment when mustered into service numbered 1064 men, and when it surrendered at Waynesboro, North Carolina, in May 1865, it had only 142 men. The missing links of this golden chain of patriots were represented practically by killed and disabled men, as there were but few desertions from its ranks. When I say "golden chain" whose links were composed of men, the comparison is a poor simile indeed, for those men, all of them, were made of finer mettle than any pick or shovel ever brought to light, indeed than was ever mined or minted. This is no overdrawn metaphor, for it hardly tells the half, and exaggerates nothing. During the Battle of Chickamauga, my brother, while wading a river, to his armpits in water, with his command, lost both of his old dilapidated shoes, that stuck in the mud in the bottom of the stream, and for three days went without other protection to his feet than pieces of blanket tied around them. Such privation and hardships were by no means infrequent, and were shared in by nearly every soldier in the armies of Tennessee and Virginia. At Lookout Mountain my brother had 48 holes shot through his blanket on his back, the ball lodging between his jacket and short. It is also with pride and pleasure that I mentioned two other brothers who served in the Confederate Army, J. K. Murphey and R. S. Murphey. J. K. Murphey served in the same company and regiment with J. S. Murphey and never missed a fight that his regiment was in during the war. Sixty two battles in all and never received a wound. At the battle of Atlanta, Georgia, he was the first man in his regiment to go over the Federal breastworks, and at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, he was one of the few men of General Hood's army that succeeded in getting over the enemies breastworks. He remained in the ditch with the federals from 8 o'clock at night until 4 o'clock the next morning. He said that he shot 43 rounds of cartridges after he got in the ditch with his enemy. He fired a rifle so rapidly that it became too hot for him to hold in his hands, and he laid it down and picked up a cool one to finish his fight. God bless him for a duty so well performed. He too was a possessed of a nobility of character that would have graced with honor and dignity any sphere of life, and endeared him to all who knew him. He died in December 1880, 42 years of age.

McCracken Co  Part  2

R. S. Murphey, the youngest of my three soldier brothers, still survives, and is living in Fulton, Ky., with a heart as brave as a Caesar, and as generous as a prince. He enlisted in Forrest's Cavalry, July 1st 1862, 18 years of age, serving in all of General Forrest's campaigns and battles, until July 14th, 1864, when he lost his right arm at the battle of Harrisburg, Mississippi. His command was charging a federal battery when he was wounded. He was in the act of placing a cap on his rifle when he was struck in the arm by a minie ball, literally tearing it off at the elbow. He was so badly stunned by the wound that he was rendered unconscious for a time, but when he sufficiently recovered to realize his condition, he tried in vain to cap his gun with his left hand, and give his enemy a farewell shot with the last cartridge he ever placed in a gun on the battlefield. He remained on the field of battle, in his mangled condition, from nine o'clock a.m. until four p.m., without even a drink of water, in a broiling July sun, and when finally removed from the field he was more dead than alive. At Jack's Creek, Tennessee, he was with the late Captain H. A. Tyler of Hickman, Ky. of whom no braver soldier and gallant officer ever lived. With only 80 men engaged a federal regiment in a fight, until they had completely surrounded him, when he ordered a charge and by dint of desperate fighting with sabers and revolvers, in a hand to hand engagement, he succeeded in cutting his way through the enemy's ranks and made well his escape. A cousin of the writer's, the gallant Captain, J. O. Morris, received a wound in this fight, from which he died two weeks later, bur he succeeded in killing the man that inflicted his wound, a major. It is not without pride that I state that I have three brothers, one brother-in-law, John R. Peoples, two uncles, and fourteen first cousins in the confederate army. The writer was only twelve years old when the war ended, which is only apology for not being in the ranks with his brothers. Five of my cousins, and one uncle were killed, and nearly all the rest were more or less severely wounded. I had one cousin, William Samon Morris, a boy of 14, who enlisted in the army September 1864, riding his horse that his brave father was killed on. I feel that it would be almost sacrilege to close this article without at least mentioning the name of Sam Davis, a boy of 19 years of age, who was reared near Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and a member of the First Tennessee Regiment. Young Davis was captured within the federal lines at Pulaski, Tenn. and was condemned to be hanged, the Federal General McCook sent one of his officers to Davis and offered him his life and freedom if he would tell who had furnished the intelligence that was contained in papers found in Davis' possession. Davis scornfully rejected the offer, with the remark that if he had a thousand lives he would sacrifice all of them before he would betray a friend. Such unselfish integrity to a friends confidence the pages of history seldom records. Long after many other heroes of the Civil War will have been long forgotten, the name of Sam Davis will live on fresh green, and imperishable in every southern heart. Although but a child of ten years of age when this said incident occurred I remember that I went when I heard of it --------- young heart had been made of water. A few days since an old confederate soldier, Mr. Frank Potts, of this city, related the following story to me: He said that at the battle of Resaca, Ga., he was serving with White's battery, when a young wounded cavalryman, perhaps 16 or 18 years old, rode up to him with his leg dangling by some shreds of skin, just below the knee, and asked him to take his pocket knife and cut his leg off, and put it in the cannon and shoot it at the damn Yankees. When it is remembered that the rank and file of the confederate army was composed of such patriots, is it any wonder that the war of the rebellion was well nigh a war of extermination on the southern side.? Several years ago in a conversation with a federal major, James Tyler, Bowling Green, Ky., he said that the bravest thing that he witnessed during the Civil War was enacted by the Fourth Louisiana Cavalry at the battle of Chickamauga when his regiment of Kentucky Federal infantry was charged by this regiment of Confederate cavalry, who ran right over his regiment as though they had been straw men, although his regiment had fixed bayonets to meet their charge. After running over once they formed in line and ran over men any bayonets the second time, notwithstanding the fact that many of these brave men and their horses went down in piles. Very different indeed was the result when Ruseau's mounted infantry charged the Fourth Tennessee Regiment somewhat on the retreat of Hood's army from Nashville. The Fourth Tennessee also fixed bayonets to meet the federal charge, but when Ruseau's men saw what they were going up against, they halted at a safe distance, and gave up the undertaking as a bad job. I am sorry I can not give the number of survivors of the Fourth Tennessee Regiment, but probably not more than twenty-five are living. Only five of the Harris Guards now survive, namely; James Herring, Paducah, Ky.; James Blackburn, Fulton, Ky.; Robert Muchel, McConnell, Tenn.; Charles Cathey, Pierce, Tenn. and Robert Mathews, Pierce City, Mo. Five braver and truer men do not live, and like the rest, they too will soon pass over to join the great majority, and their mortal bodies will return to earth that they were, and their souls to the God who gave them. May eternal joy and bliss be their portion in the world to come for deeds done in the body. (This was an article in a newspaper, not sure which one and it was not dated)