Mississippians in the Confederate Army

Today is Memorial Day, set aside in observance of those men who have given their lives in defense of our country. In this posting I will tell you about a soldier from my hometown who gave his life in defense of his country: John J. Cherry of Bolton, Mississippi.

John J. Cherry enlisted in the Confederate army in the fall of 1861 as 2nd Sergeant of the “Downing Rifles,” Company C, 3rd Mississippi Infantry. He must have been a good soldier, for in April 1864, Colonel Thomas A. Mellon, commander of the 3rd Mississippi, recommended Cherry for a new position created by the Confederate Congress; that of Ensign. This was a rank unique to the Confederate army, and was intended to be held by a man who had displayed his courage on the battlefield. Ensign was an officer’s rank, although the post did not have any command responsibilities – the…

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