James A. Ashby, Confederate Veteran, was born in 1841, in Georgia, to L.H. Ashby of South Carolina, and Jerusha Ashby (nee Blackburn). At the age of 19, James was working as a farmer on his father's land in 1860, in Chickasaw County, Houston, Mississippi. There, he lived and worked with his siblings, William, who was born in Georgia in 1843; Frances, who was born in Mississippi in 1847; and Ambrose, who was born in Mississippi in 1851.
One year later, on May 30, 1861, at the age of 20, James Ashby mustered into Company A, 17th Mississippi Volunteer Regiment under Captain T.L. Rogers at Corinth, Mississippi as a private. The 17th Regiment Mississippi Infantry was organized in June of 1861, of companies which had previously been in the State Service and was mustered into the Confederate Service for twelve months. About April, 1862, the regiment was reorganized for the war. James Ashby fought at the Battles of First Manassas and Leesburg. It was in the Battle at Savage Station that he became severely wounded in his right arm. Because his wound was severe, the surgeons, according to his military record state that his arm was amputated. However, in Ashby's pension application, it is wrtten that his hand was amputated. Ashby was discharged July 25, 1862, with final statement read.
James returned home to Mississippi. He is found in the 1870 Census living with his parents in Chickasaw County, Houston, Mississippi. Jerusha, James's mother, died in the early 1870's and his father remarried. During this course of time, it is believed James was making his way to Texas, for it is reported on his home roster that he came to Texas in 1880. In the 1880, Milam County, Texas Census, his brother, Ambrose Ashby is shown to be married to Sarah Ashby of Texas, with their two children, John and Mary.
James was admitted to the Confederate Men's Home in Austin, Texas on December 5, 1911. Never marrying, he wished for his brother Ambrose to be contacted upon his death. James Ashby died at the home February 12, 1914, and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery.
Sources: Confederate Home Roster 2-9; Pension Application 2944; www.itd.nps.gov; Military Records of Ashby, James A.; 1860 and 1880 US Census Records; records of descendent William C. Brown.