James H. Bemiss, a veteran of the Confederacy, died in Birmingham, Ala., on December 30, 1919, from injuries received in an auto accident shortly before. He was born near Bloomfield, Nelson County, Ky., on June 5, 1842, the eldest son of William H. and Mary Bedford Bemiss. Early in 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate army, going out from Bloomfield with Capt. William Davis McKay's company. This company was sent to Memphis, Tenn., and temporarily attached to the 40th Tennessee Regiment, serving with that command until the fall of Memphis. They were captured at Island No. 10 and after six months in prison at Camp Douglas, Ill., were exchanged, and the company was placed with the 8th Kentucky Infantry, Colonel Lyon.
Comrade Bemiss was elected lieutenant of the company at its organization, and shortly after it was placed with the 8th Kentucky he was made adjutant. His brigade (Lyon's) was mounted late in the summer of 1863 and placed with the intrepid Forrest. Young Bemiss did a good deal of staff duty in the latter part of the war, as his colonel, Shacklett, often commanded the brigade. He was badly wounded at Selma, Ala., Forrest's last great fight. As he was carrying an order to a certain part of the line in the evening the whole line gave way before the overwhelming force of the enemy. It became a complete rout, and in getting out of this he was passing through the outskirts of the town when he was confronted by a Federal trooper and ordered to surrender. Concluding that he had an equal chance to win, he decided to fight it out; so with his pistol against the Federal's carbine matters soon came to a close, both falling from their horses. After dark both were taken into a house near by, the Federal soldier dying in a few minutes, and the war closed before Lieutenant Bemiss recovered from his wounds.
After the war he went to Rodney, Miss., and there passed through the days of Reconstriction, helping to redeem the State from carpetbag and Negro rule. He married there, but, his wife dying in a few years, he removed to Bardstown, Ky., and became connected with a dry goods firm. In 1887 he married again and located in Birmingham, Ala., where he engaged in banking and other lines of business.
Since his younger days Comrade Bemiss had been a member of the Presbyterian Church. He was a true Christian and noble patriot. He was laid to rest with honors by Camp Hardee, U. C. V., of Birmingham, of which he was a member. His wife, two sons (one adopted), and a grandson survive him.
Thus passed a noble character, a Christian gentleman, a brave Confederate soldier.
"And haply from the splendor of thy throne,
Or haply from the echoes of thy psalm,
Something may fall upon us like the calm
To which thou shalt hereafter welcome us."
SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, October, 1920.
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