James Fisher Pray killed at Jonesboro September 1, 1864
1st Sgt. James Fisher Pray, the eldest son of Waterville’s early doctor, Welcome Pray was killed at Jonesboro, Georgia on September 1, 1864 during a charge on the Confederate Army fortifications. The GAR Post in Waterville was named James Fisher Pray post for him. Dr. Pray received the following letter from Capt. W.B. Pugh of Co. I, 14th OVI.
Headquarters 3rd Bn 3rd Div
Atlanta, GA Sept. 8, 1864
Dr. W. Pray
I am compelled to inform you of the bad news, the death of your son 1st Sergt. James F. Pray, Co. I, 14th OVI. He fell in a charge on the rebel works at Jonesboro, GA on the 1st day of Sept about 5:30 PM. He fell on the spot, did not say a word as he was shot through the head. He fell by my side when just on the rebel works. I raised him up but he was gone. I have in my possession all of his effects which I will send to you by Isaac West of Maumee City who goes home in a few days. I should have written sooner but we have been very busy since the battle. We arrived here today. I will write you again when I send the effects of your gallant son. I have sustained a great loss in the company in his death. He was a favorite with all in the Co. and Regt. I cut a hickory stick near the spot where he fell which I will send you. It bears the mark of a rebel riffle ball. I will forward at once all necessary papers to Washington that you can settle up his accounts without any trouble. Any Information you may want in the case I will cheerfully contribute upon receipt of your communication. I should like to give you a full report of the whole battle but at present I have not the time. The loss in my Co. was 2 killed and 71 wounded. A full report has been sent to the Toledo Blade.
With much respect, I amSir your Obt Servt.
W.B.Pugh Capt. Co.1, 14th Ohio Vol. Inf.
Note: James Fisher Pray enlisted at the outbreak of the Civil War April 1861 in Co. I, 14th OVI with many other men from Watervile. His first enlistment was for only three months but upon discharge he re-enlisted for three years in the same unit and worked his way up from private to 1st Sargent. Many of his letters home were preserved and donated to the Waterville Historical Society. These letters provide some interesting insight into both the Civil War and his family. The J.F. Pray letters can be found in the Civil War letters Collection at the Wakeman Archives.