Francis Cockrell

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Francis Cockrell
Francis Cockrell - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 4, 1905
Preceded by Carl Schurz
Succeeded by William Warner
Personal details
Born Francis Marion Cockrell
(1834-10-01)October 1, 1834
Warrensburg, Missouri
Died December 13, 1915(1915-12-13) (aged 81)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic

Francis Marion Cockrell (October 1, 1834 – December 13, 1915) was a Confederate military commander and American politician from the state of Missouri. He served as a United States Senator from Missouri for five terms. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians.

Early life[edit]

Cockrell was born in Warrensburg, Missouri. His older brother was Jeremiah Vardaman Cockrell, who was a congressman from Texas in the 1890s. Francis Cockrell attended local schools and Chapel Hill College in Lafayette County, Missouri, graduating in July 1853; He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1855, practicing law in Warrensburg until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Civil War[edit]

At the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861, Cockrell joined the Missouri State Guard as a captain. After transferring to the Confederate army and being promoted to colonel, he was an important leader in the Vicksburg Campaign and was wounded in the hand by an exploding shell during the Siege of Vicksburg. Cockrell distinguished himself at the Battle of Champion Hill, launching a counterattack that temporarily ousted troops of XVII Corps off the hill. He also took part in the Battle of Big Black River Bridge. His brigade was able to escape just before federal troops seized the bridge.[1]

Cockrell was promoted to brigadier general on July 18, 1863.[1] He went on to fight in many of the battles of the Atlanta Campaign, and participated in Hood's Tennessee Campaign later that year (where he was wounded). In April 1865, shortly before the end of the war, Cockrell was captured in Alabama, but was paroled after a few weeks. His brigade was considered one of the finest on either side, and Cockrell himself is widely recognized as one of the best combat brigadiers of the entire war.[citation needed] He returned to his law practice in Missouri.

Postbellum career[edit]

In 1874, Cockrell, who became a member of the United States Democratic Party, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri by the state legislature. He served in the Senate from 1875 to 1905, when he retired. He held several committee chairmanships, including the chairmanships of the Claims Committee, Engrossed Bills Committee and Appropriations Committee during his senate career. He received 42 votes for President of the United States at the 1904 Democratic National Convention, but was defeated by Alton B. Parker.

He was appointed to the Interstate Commerce Commission by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. He served on the Commission until 1910. Cockrell then became part of a commission which negotiated the boundaries between the state of Texas and the New Mexico Territory, which was about to become a state. In 1912, he became a director of ordnance at the War Department. He remained in that job until his death in Washington, D.C.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eicher, p. 179.


  • Bailey, Anne, "Francis Marion Cockrell", The Confederate General, Vol. 2, Davis, William C., and Julie Hoffman (eds.), National Historical Society, 1991, ISBN 0-918678-64-1.
  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Williamson, Hugh P. "Correspondence of Senator Francis Marion Cockrell: December 23, 1885-March 24, 1888." Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society 28 (July 1969): 296-305.

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Carl Schurz
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Missouri
Served alongside: Lewis V. Bogy, David H. Armstrong, James Shields, George G. Vest, William J. Stone
Succeeded by
William Warner