|Author:||M Todd Cathey|
|Published:||February 1st 2018 by Mercer University Press|
Born 9 June 1838, James H. McNeilly grew up near Charlotte in Dickson County, Tennessee. At age thirteen, McNeilly was sworn in as deputy circuit court clerk of Dickson County. Raised in a devout Presbyterian home, he received his undergraduate degree from Jackson College in Columbia, Tennessee. Just as the Civil War broke out, he had earned his Doctor of Divinity from Danville Theological Seminary. As McNeilly returned home to Dickson County, in the summer of 1861, he preached on Sunday and recruited troops for the Confederacy during the week. In September 1862, he was detailed as chaplain for the 49th Tennessee Infantry and went into battle with the boys. From Port Hudson to the campaign for Vicksburg, to Jackson, to the slopes of Kennesaw Mountain, to Ezra Church, to Franklin where the regiment lost more than 73% casualties including his brother Thomas, to Nashville and beyond McNeilly was with the men every step of the way, enduring what they endured.