James A. P. Guthrie 



(written by Ronald Scott Guthrie, descendant of James A. P. Guthrie)

James A. P. Guthrie was enrolled as a Private by Captain Ragsdale of Ashby's 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment on March 01, 1863 at the age of 38 and served in Company H (men from Hamilton County). Very little record exits of his individual service but it is known that he participated in some manner during the Chattanooga Campaign. It can be concluded from documents he filed after the war that he was conscripted (drafted) into Confederate service and was sent to Knoxville for induction into the Army. It is known that after the battles around Chattanooga that he swore an oath of allegiance to the United States. It is possible that he was among the thousands of Confederate soldiers who surrendered following the Confederate retreat from Tennessee, however he indicated in documents after the war that he was released from Confederate service as a consequence of a disability leaving him unfit for service. When the 2nd Tennessee was mustered near Tunnell Hill in North Georgia on March 13, 1864 James Guthrie is not listed as present. Existing Confederate papers for James A. P. Guthrie are as follows:

James Guthrie Company H
Age 40 years
Appears on
of the organization names above.
Joined for duty and enrolled
When Mar 1, 1863
Where (blank)
By whom, Capt. Ragsdale
Period (blank)


Prior to his entry into the Confederate Army James Guthrie is noted in documents which were in the "Rebel Archives" in Washington D.C. and indicate his aid to the Confederacy during 1862-63. After the war James filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission for loss of property, confiscated by Federal Troops while camped on his farm. He fought for reimbursement on the lost property for more than twenty years but due to his aid to the Confederacy, the Board of Claims found his loyalty to be questionable and the U.S. Court of Claims "disallowed" any compensation. It is of note that, the loss of property occurred after James had sworn his oath of allegiance to the Union at Chattanooga when Federal troops took control. There are over ninety pages of documentation relating to the James A. P. Guthrie claim held by the National Archives. The documents contain many interesting facts but also show that Unionists and Southern sympathizers alike believed that the Federal Government owed them for their losses. Among the many interesting facts noted is that Union General Phil Sheridan and his men, while on the march to Knoxville in November of 1863 to relieve General Burnside, camped on the James Guthrie farm for two days. During this period they foraged for food on the farm and butchered livestock. The Federals also took horses, corn and fence rails, which they burned for firewood. The claim indicates that James owned 237 acres of land one mile from Harrison with 140 acres under cultivation.

Below is the list of items, as sworn by James Guthrie, to have been taken by Sheridan's men, their worth as listed in 1871 and the documents used by the U.S. Court of Claims as evidence of his disloyalty.

Claim of James A. P. Guthrie to the U. S. Court of Claims for items taken for the use of the army of the United States during the War Between the States. (Claim disallowed)

1. 1,575 bushels of corn at $1.00 per bushel; ....... $1,575.00

2. One roan mare 5 years old; ..................................$130.00

3. One bay mare 6 years old; ...................................$150.00

4. One clay bank mare 6 years old; .........................$150.00

5. One bay horse 5 years old; ..................................$100.00

6. One roan horse 3 years old; .................................$125.00

7. One black horse 3 years old; ................................$100.00

8. One bay mare 5 years old; ...................................$125.00

9. Forty head of fat hogs 100 pounds net each at 8 cents per pound; ............................................$320.00

10. Eight head of beef cattle 200 pounds net each at 7 cents per pound;


11. 8000 fence rails at $3.00 per hundred; ..............$240.00

Total $3157.00

Guthrie vs. The United States
War Department Report on Loyalty
Washington April 13, 1898

Respectfully returned to Hon. L.A. Pradt
Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice.

On file in the Confederate Archives of this office are two vouchers, signed J. A. P. Guthrie, dated August 13, 1862 at Tynersville, Tennessee and at Harrison, Tennessee, August 6, 1863, respectively, for forage furnished the C. S. Army, amounting to $192.50. It also appears from said archives that one James A. P. Guthrie recommended T. H. Roddy, M. D. to the Confederate provost marshal at Knoxville, Tennessee as a suitable person to dispense liquors. Nothing further has been found in said archives touching the question of loyalty or disloyalty of the claimant in this case. Case of J. A. P. Guthrie vs. The United States, No. 1350, Congressional.


In 1864 James Guthrie remarried to Martha Jane Denny and continued to engage in farming on his land near the Tennessee River. According to the books "Hamilton County Pioneers" and "James County, Lost County of Tennessee" the following is noted about James A. P. Guthrie. "By 1870, James A. P. Guthrie was serving as a County Commissioner in Hamilton County and was noted as helping to lay off and organize the plans for the new County of James which was being formed from parts of Hamilton, Meigs and Bradley Counties. It was hoped that this new County would help to boost the economy of the war torn area but instead it was plagued by financial difficulties from the beginning and by 1919 was bankrupt and its lands returned to Hamilton County. Most members of the Guthrie family lived within the bounds of the new county and James Guthrie was elected as one of the new county's first Commissioners. During this period he helped with the repair of a dangerous bridge across Ooltewah Creek on the road from Harrison to Georgetown."

Of note for James A. P. Guthrie is the fact that he endured a very hard family life. His first wife, Mary A. Julian, died during the midst of the War Between The States leaving him with several small children. After his return from the Confederate Army his farm was ravaged by Federal troops and the area around his home was under the control of the Union Army. By the time of James' death in 1896 all but one of his six children had died. It is known that tuberculosis, a common disease during the period, claimed some of their lives.

Although only one of his sons survived to raise a family of his own, It is through the line of James A. P. Guthrie that many Guthrie family members in East Tennessee and North Georgia have descended today.

Elected: County Commissioner for Hamilton and James County, Tennessee
Military service: C. S. A. Company (H), Ashby's 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment
Occupation: Farmer (census of 1850 & 1860 Hamilton County, Tennessee)
Property: estimated value of property & personal estate $10,000. 1860 Hamilton County Tennessee census