AUTHOR:  James Utley

My great-grandmother Almena McCormick Jernigan had three brothers, John, Murphy, and Duncan McCormick, who fought in the Civil War. John McCormick, the eldest brother, enlisted in Uvalde, Texas where he was a school teacher (according to 1860 US Census) and survived his war experience. After the war, John inherited his father’s land in what was Richmond County but is now Scotland County, NC. However, my two other great-uncles—Murphy and Duncan—died during the Civil War. Murphy McCormick died May 10, 1863 at Hamilton’s Crossing, Virginia, though we haven’t yet been able to find his grave. It was believed that he perished at Fredericksburg Battlefield, at the age of 26. He was never married. Duncan McCormick was captured by the Union army and interred as a prisoner of war at in Elmira, NY. He died there July 21, 1865, 3 months after Appomattox at 23. He is buried there in Elmira, where poor conditions and unsanitary water likely caused his death. He also never married.

Both brothers appear on North Carolina Troop Rosters, which were revised and published in 1993: Murphy McCormick enlisted on June 1, 1861 to Company F of the 18th NC Infantry at the age of 24. His record revealed that he was captured and listed as a POW on May 27, 1862 at Hanover Court House, VA. He was confined at Fort Columbus NY days later, and eventually exchanged on August 5, 1862 at Aiken’s Landing Virginia before returning to his company January 30, 1863. He was wounded on May 3, 1863 at Chancellorsville, Virginia. As mentioned above, Murphy died on May 10, 1863 at the age of 26, at Hamilton’s Crossing in Virginia. There is a point of discrepancy: His last name was transcribed as McCormack with an ‘a’ instead of an “i,” but misspellings are common.

According to the rosters, Duncan McCormick resided in neighboring Robeson County when he enlisted as a private on September 17, 1861 at the age of 19. He served in Company E, 3rd Light Artillery NC, for nearly four years before he was taken as a prisoner of war on January 15, 1865, after being captured at Fort Fisher, NC. Days later, he was sent north to Elmira, New York. As mentioned above, Duncan died while a prisoner of war at Elmira on Jul 21, 1865.

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