Deering J. Roberts
From History of The Twentieth Tennessee Regiment, C.S.A. by Dr. W. J. McMurray (1904)
Deering J. Roberts, son of John and Eliza Roberts, and a brother of Albert Roberts, was born in Nashville, Tenn., May 20, 1840. He was educated in the private schools of Nashville until his seventeenth year, when he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. A. R. Griffith, matriculated in the Medical Department at the University of Nashville, in October, 1858, and received his degree of M. D. in the spring of 1860. He practiced in Mississippi, and in Williamson County, Tenn., until the spring of 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Company C, Rock City Guards, Maney's First Tennessee Regiment, having passed his examination as assistant surgeon before the State Medical Board, but declined a commission, preferring to go as a private soldier. He served with the First Tennessee for twelve months, having been twice detached and placed on hospital duty. In April, 1862, he was assigned to duty with the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment as acting assistant or contract surgeon, and was the only medical officer the regiment had until after the battle of Baton Rouge, when a Dr. Lee of Mississippi was assigned also as contract surgeon, and served as junior to Dr. Roberts until just before the battle of Murfreesboro. At this time Dr. Roberts passed his examination before the C. S. Army Medical Board and was commissioned Assistant Surgeon, Dr. J. F. Fryar being assigned to this regiment as surgeon. Six months later and just before the Battle of Hoover's Gap, Dr. Roberts passed his examination before the Board for promotion, and was commissioned Surgeon and assigned to duty with the Twentieth, Dr. Fryar being transferred to another regiment. From this time until the Battle of Franklin, Dr. Roberts was continuously on duty as surgeon of the Twentieth Tennessee. He was well liked and extremely popular with both commissioned officers and enlisted men. His colonel said of him on one occasion, that the only fault he had to find with him, was that he was "too fond of being at the front."
After the Battle of Franklin he was left in charge of the wounded of Bate's division, and remained with them after the Battle of Nashville, when he was sent by the Federal authorities down to Nashville, and was placed in charge of the Confederate wounded at the Gun Factory Hospital, in which were over 1,200 wounded from the fields of Franklin and Nashville. He, with other Confederate surgeons was relieved from duty here on Jan. 10, 1865, and were sent around by way of Louisville, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, Philadelphia, and Fort Delaware to Fortress Monroe, and from there through the lines, reaching Richmond, Va., Jan. 28, 1865. He rejoined his command, the Twentieth, and was with it at the surrender of General Jos. E. Johnston's army, and received his parole at Greensboro, N. C.
Since the close of the war, he has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Kentucky, where he married in 1867; in Sumner County, Tenn., and for the last twenty-five years in Nashville. He was for ten years professor of Practice of Medicine in the Medical Department of the Uuiversity of Tennessee, and is now lecturing on that branch in the Medical Department of the University of the South. He was surgeon at the Tennessee State Penitentiary during the four years of Governor Bate's administration, and had a lower mortality than any one who preceded or succeeded him in this office. He was for four years a member and secretary of the Nashville Board of Health. He was chairman of the Section on State Medicine of the American Medical Association in 1884, his address before the general meeting being highly commended. He was president of the Tennessee State Medical Association in 1902, and has been its secretary for the past two years. He has been secretary of the Nashville Academy of Medicine, and has done much during his five years service as its executive officer to build it up. In 1879, he with Drs. Duncan Fye, George S. Blackie, and T. C. Dow, established the "Southern Practitioner", he being its editorial manager. He succeeded to the entire control, ownership, and management of this journal four years later, and since then has been its editor and proprietor, gaining for it the largest circulation of any monthly medical periodical in the South and Southwest. For the past four years he has been the secretary and treasurer of the Association of Medical Officers of the Army and Navy of the Confederacy.
He has a wife, nee Miss Rachel L. Breeding, formerly of Adair County, Kentucky, six sons, two daughters, and five grandsons.