Earnest’s Company, Local Defense
Captain Jeremiah “Jerry” Earnest organized this company of local defense troops in Montgomery county, Arkansas, on June 4, 1863, under authority of an Act of the Congress of the Confederate States of October 13, 1862. Local defense troops were somewhat different from the home guards. The home guards were generally organized under authority of county ordinance or State law, and not technically subject to Confederate authority. Local defense troops were organized under authority of the Confederate States, and subject to that government’s authority.
Although there were probably other local defense companies organized in Arkansas, Earnest’s Company is the only one which can be documented. Even so, the record is meager. Only one muster roll of the company survives—the initial muster roll dated June 4, 1863. Seven of the men are known to have previously served in Company F, 4th Arkansas Infantry; two are known to have previously served in Company I, 33rd Arkansas Infantry (both companies were organized in Montgomery county).
When the Federals captured Little Rock in September of 1863, they extended martial law south of the Arkansas River. Captain Jeremiah Earnest was arrested by Federal authorities sometime before January 1864, and charged with murder, attempted murder and threatening to murder Union sympathizers in the Clark/Montgomery county area. Although the Federal authorities had no eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes, they presented a circumstantial case which resulted in the conviction of Captain Earnest by a military court. He was publicly hanged in front of the U.S. Military Prison at Little Rock in November 1864.
Roster of Earnest’s Company
Campbell, James M—Private.
Cearley, J F—Private.
Davis, James M—Private.
Earnest, Jeremiah—Captain; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Ellage, B C—Private.
Graham, H J—First Lieutenant.
Howell, C W—Private.
Hurt, Catlett G—Private; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Irons, Thomas—Private; previously served in Co. I, 33rd Arkansas Infantry.
Irons, William—Private; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Kirkus, John C—Private.
Lindsey, John M—Private.
Pierce, Newton J—Private; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Sanders, Aaron—First Sergeant; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Sanders, Isaac—Private; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
Wallace, Druallen A—Private; previously served in Co. I, 33rd Arkansas Infantry.
White, R C—Private.
Williams, Zachariah—Private; previously served in Co. F, 4th Arkansas Infantry.
2001 -copyright -The above information may be used for non-commercial historical and genealogical purposes only and with the consent of the page owner may be copied for the same purposes so long as this notice remains a part of the copied material. EDWARD G. GERDES
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to have more information about the Civil War and Pension Records of the men who served in these Companies, contact Jeri Helms Fultz or Bryan Howerton
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