Lucius M. Walker
|Lucius Marshall Walker|
|Born||October 18, 1829
|Died||September 7, 1863 (age 33)
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Place of burial||Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee|
|Allegiance|| United States of America
Confederate States of America
|Service/branch|| United States Army
Confederate States Army
|Years of service||1850–52 (USA)
|Rank|| Second Lieutenant (USA)
Brigadier General (CSA)
Early life and career
Walker was born in Columbia, Tennessee. He was a nephew of President James K. Polk. Walker graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1850, placing 15th of a class of 44. He was brevetted second lieutenant of dragoons and served on frontier duty. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1852, shortly before resigning to return to Tennessee, where he established a successful mercantile business.
Civil War service
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Walker was commissioned Colonel of the 40th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry on November 11, 1861. His first assignment was to command the post at Memphis. In 1862, he and his 40th Tennessee were ordered to New Madrid, Missouri to prepare for the Battle of Island Number Ten.
Walker was commissioned brigadier general on March 11, 1862, and was posted at Kentucky Bend, with the command of the 40th Tennessee falling to Lt. Col. C. C. Henderson. He retreated in the face of a much larger Union force, which threatened to capture all of Walker's command. Being forced to surrender at Island #10, Walker was exchanged and rejoined the army at Corinth, Mississippi, before it retreated to Tupelo. At the May 9, 1862, Battle of Farmington, his brigade attacked and drove a Union force from its entrenchments. He was reassigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department on March 23, 1863, commanding a brigade of cavalry under Lt. Gen. Theophilus Holmes at the Battle of Helena.
After the Battle of Reed's Bridge on August 26, 1863, Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke accused Walker of imperiling Marmaduke's men by being absent from the field in the face of the enemy. Walker, judging from the indications that the enemy was about to flank his position, had withdrawn his troops after dark. Walker felt that he had been unjustly accused of cowardice and challenged Marmaduke to a formal duel. “I have not pronounced you a coward,” Marmaduke wrote, “but I desire to inform you that your conduct as commander of the cavalry was such that I determined no longer to serve you.” Maj. Gen. Sterling Price ordered both officers to remain in their quarters in an attempt to prevent the duel. However by an unfortunate series of mishaps, the orders were not delivered to Walker.
At dawn on Sunday, September 6, Walker and Marmaduke squared off with Colt Navy revolvers on the north bank of the Arkansas River near Little Rock. Both fired and missed. Marmaduke then recocked and fired a second time, mortally wounding Walker in the right side, just above the beltline. Walker forgave Marmaduke when the latter offered his assistance. As General Walker lay dying, his wife rode from St. Francis to Little Rock, and gave birth to their son, Lucius Marshall Walker, Jr. Lucius M. Walker died at 5 p.m. the next day. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.
- U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Washington, D.C., 1880–1901, Series I, Vol XXII, Part 1, pages 520-522 and others.