In 1861, James Lockhart Autry joined the Confederate Army and served as lieutenant colonel of B/F-S, 9th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Soon after joining the Confederate Army he wrote a farewell letter to his young son: April 11, 1861 “My dear son, Your father may fall to-night in battle. Your Mother will keep this + when you are old enough to comprehend she will read it to you. My dear boy, never do a mean or cowardly act- let all your actions be upright, just, honorable, and in accordance with the teachings of the Bible…”
After reorganization in spring 1862, Autry became lieutenant colonel of the 27th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. In his last letter to his wife, Autry expresses his worry and frustration on the uncertainty of war and how to protect his family; “…it almost runs me crasy to think that you & Ma will be cut off from me & perhaps treated cruelly.”
He was killed during the Battle of Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. Description of battle appears in Daily Rebel, June 9, 1863. His promotion to general, signed by President Jefferson Davis, was on its way to Autry at the time of his death.