John Thomas Knight was an orphan who was never sent to school, could not read or write, but worked on a farm. He told his children that his mother was of the Choctaw tribe, that he had Choctaw Indian in his family background but there is no documentation of this.
He joined the Confederate services as a private in April of 1863 at the age 15.
He fought at Franklin and at Nashville – at Nashville he was captured by the Union on 16 Dec 1864, 13 days before his 17th birthday. He was transferred to Louisville, KY, and on to Camp Chase, Ohio where he spent four months as a prisoner of war.
Nine days after Lee surrendered, on April 21, 1865, he joined Co. E, 5th regiment of the U.S. Infantry volunteers. He was honorably discharged on 11 Oct 1866 and returned to Mississippi.
Sears’s Brigade was part of Samuel G. French’s Division, A.P. Stewart’s Corps. The 39th MS walked over the land of the McGavock’s on their way to assaulting the Federal line.
There are seven identified 39th Mississippi boys buried at McGavock Confederate Cemetery.