John Carpenter Carter was born December 19th 1837 in Waynesboro, Georgia. He attended the University of Virginia in 1854, for two years before leaving to study law at Cumberland University under Judge Abram Carruthers. Carter would stay at the Lebanon, Tennessee school after graduating as an instructor, and he would marry the Judge’s daughter. He opened his own law practice in Memphis, Tennessee.
When the war started Carter became a Captain in the 38th Tennessee, and quickly moved up to become their Colonel. He saw action at the Battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga and the Atlanta Campaign. During the Battle of Jonesboro on September 1st 1864 Carter had temporary command of a division. He was promoted to Brigadier General on July 7th 1864. At the Battle of Franklin on November 30th 1864 while leading his brigade, Cater received a mortal wound, which caused his death on December 10th 1864. He is buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Tennessee.