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Captain David Alexander Herring

January 12, 1836-July 20, 1864

33rd Mississippi Infantry

Company D - Franklin Guards

KIA - Battle of Peach Tree Creek, GA

Click on Photo for a larger image

b January 12, 1836, d July 20, 1864

     Bearing this Herring genealogical line's given name back five generations, this David was likely the first from his family homestead [five miles north of Eddiceton, Franklin Co. MS. on the Homochitto River], to attend college. And Centenary College was the natural choice, both parents, David (1794-1842) and Mary LeGette (Leggett) Herring (1800-1882) being from devoted Methodist families of Marion Co. S.C. both of which spawned ministers.  The one room country church he attended still stands north of Eddiceton east of the Homochitto, Bethesda Methodist, begun in 1825 and known locally as "Wright's church".  

     Since his father died when he was six, leaving Mary with nine children and a large farm to manage, David's older brothers John Wesley, Samuel O., and Ferdinand probably were too vitally needed at home to be spared for college, though Ferdinand did become a medical doctor, and may have attended college at some time. David's little brother Thomas Ashley, who served under David in the war, may also have attended college later. But it would seem that Mary was proud enough of her lawyer son to have his portrait painted and perhaps inadvertently provide posterity with the likeness of Captain David Alexander Herring seen above.

     David Alexander was married August 1, 1861 to neighbor Fulvia McDaniel. Less than a year later when Company D of MS. 33rd Infantry, "The Franklin Guards" began recruiting near McCall Creek March 1, 1862, David enlisted as third Lieutenant. He was promoted to 2nd Lt. August 16, 1862, to 1st Lt. October 8, 1862, and to Captain December 14, 1863. He was very well liked and held in highest esteem by his men, according to Professor William Hadskey, who wrote Franklin County history and extensively researched the Franklin Guards.

     This military unit saw action first in the battle of Corinth, MS., then fought in the battles of Holly Springs, Greenwood, Champion Hill near Edwards, and the battle of Jackson MS. Later in the spring of 1864 they were in the retreat southward toward Atlanta, culminating in their participation on July 20, 1864 in the battle of Peach Tree Creek just north of that town, mentioned in "Gone With the Wind", being just down the road from "Aunt Pitty Pat's".

      What happened there is described as follows by Bill Hadskey:
"The confederates were to charge, the 33rd Regiment being in Featherston's Brigade. The units on the right did not charge, due to a foul up in communications, so that the charging Brigade including the MS. 33rd were under fire from their front and from their right flank, resulting in their being practically destroyed as a fighting unit. After the battle, the 33rd Indiana buried the dead of the 33rd MS. Several of the yankees were Masons, and finding masonic rings and pins on some of the dead, they buried these separately in graves marking them as Masons. The others they buried with Colonel Jabez Drake of the 33rd in the center, his men in a circle around him in a common grave. Since I've found no record of Captain Herring being a Mason, guess he was buried in the mass grave. This was a unique burial; I've never read of any other like it in the Civil War."
     In a letter dated 4/2/1979 to my Dad, Edwin Lamar Herring, Cecile Alford wrote:  "My grandmother used to tell me about my great grandfather [Ferdinand Fletcher Herring] and his brother being together in the war, and the brother was killed. My grandfather found his body that night and buried him."
     David Alexander's wife Fulvia never remarried, became known to the family as "Aunt Fud", and lived until April 26, 1916. My Aunt Elizabeth Herring Branch remembers as a girl witnessing David's portrait arriving back to the Herring farm in the McDaniel's wagon.
     More than a half century later while working on the family genealogy I was taken upstairs at great Uncle Burch's place, the original John Wesley Herring homestead [1850] by Aunt Katherine Herring Davis and shown the portrait, painted on mattress tacking, leaning against the attic wall. In her family photo box yet exist daguerreotypes of the portrait along with one of David's mother Mary, her grandchildren Julia Madora Herring [Cassedy], John Lee Herring, Charles Howard Herring. The family must have had them taken circa 1867-8 during a trip [by train?] to Natchez.
     A copy of the 10x12 photo I had taken of the portrait is on file at Centenary College in Shreveport, LA. along with some of this writing.

Contributed by: Jim Herring

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