Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

Jeremiah S. White Journals

Identifier: MS-3868

  • Staff Only

Jeremiah S. White recounts his experience in the Civil War as a special courier under General Nathan Bedford Forrest of the Confederate Army. "Revised 1899" on the ledger endpapers indicates the date when he began writing down his recollections, at the request of his wife. He was then in his early 50's. His collection of journals evolves into a dramatic four-part memoir, including details of several key battles during the war.

The story begins with a short introduction of his days as a student leading up to the war, but the bulk of the memoir is set between April 3, 1862, his fourteenth birthday, in Mobile, Alabama, and May 10, 1865, when he received a telegram in Gainesville, Alabama, notifying him that the war was over. This period includes all major battles where General Forrest led the Confederate Army, mostly in West Tennessee, North Mississippi, and Kentucky. He describes what he viewed in each of these battles, and includes his viewpoint and reactions. This memoir contains many quotes and paraphrases from conversations, often in the most important parts of the story.

White's memoir is handwritten and spans four bound journals.


  • circa 1899


This material is written in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 quarter box)


Jeremiah S. White's account of his experience in the Civil War as a special courier under General Nathan Bedford Forrest of the Confederate Army.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jeremiah S. White, who was born in 1847 near Aberdeen, Mississippi, moved to LaGrange, Tennessee, and lived on his mother's estate. An orphan at age 10, he and his siblings were supported by the interest on the estate. At 14, the Civil War broke out while he was a student in Mobile, Alabama. He joined the reserve Company Gulf City Guards Co. B, but only began participation after making a trip home and then returning to Mobile to quickly finish school. Although not yet a full soldier, he participated in the capture of the Union ship "Danube" off Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay. Determined to fully join, he went to Richmond in May 1861 where he met with General Leroy Pope Walker, Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America, who was also his mother's cousin, and Walker reluctantly gave him a position as a courier in Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest's "Old Regiment."

Present during Forrest's raids and expeditions, White relayed messages and deliveries in mostly Kentucky, West Tennessee, and North Mississippi. He was wounded twice, once at the knee in battle and later in the thigh while fleeing a Union Cavalry Regiment. He served as Forrest's personal courier in many key battles, including the Battle of Okolona, where he witnessed the death of Forrest's brother, Jeffrey, as well as the Fort Pillow massacre. He was notified of Forrest's surrender near Gainesville, Alabama, in May 1865.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA