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Captain James P. Burem was twenty-two years old when he joined the 31st (later called the 39th) Tennessee Infantry Regiment at Bull’s Gap, Tennessee. He would be twenty-three years old on April 18, 1862 and would become a Captain just a little over a month later on May the 3rd when the regiment reorganized.

His appointment was due to the resignation of Captain Will Lyons Armstrong, of Surgoinsville, who was appointed as Captain at the first organization. Burem would celebrate his next birthday in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1863.

One early morning in March, while returning to camp from picket duty there in Vicksburg, with another officer, he called at a house where a young lady was playing a popular tune, “Annie Laurie”, on her piano. (Song playing on this page is "Annie Laurie") He fell in love at first sight with the young lady named Nettie M. Green, and they were married on April 15th by Rev. N. B. Goforth, Chaplain of the 31st Regiment. The wedding was a sensation, and in response to a serenade he made a thrilling speech.

After the capture at Vicksburg in July 1863, Captain Burem was among those who was captured and later paroled, and ordered to return home. Captain Burem called upon General Grant, who graciously gave him permission to take a carriage and servant with his bride through the lines. They visited his home in Hawkins County, near Rogersville, Tennessee. He was the son of attorney Absolum Burem. Their farm, named Mill Bend, was on the Holston River, near where the Battle of Big Creek took place. There Captain Burem introduced his new bride to his family. They only remained a short time.

Returning to Vicksburg and after the reorganization of his company, the 31st was sent to Virginia. It was there at Piedmont Virginia on Sunday, June 5, 1864, he was killed. Although his body remains there in Winchester, Virginia his family placed a memorial monument in the Burem family cemetery near Rogersville, Tennessee on Burem Road.

Annie Laurie

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