John S. Marmaduke

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John S. Marmaduke
Major-General John S. Marmaduke, portrait carte de visite by Charles D. Fredricks
Major-General John S. Marmaduke, portrait carte de visite by Charles D. Fredricks
25th Governor of Missouri
In office
January 12, 1885 (1885-01-12) – December 28, 1887 (1887-12-28)
Lieutenant Albert P. Morehouse
Preceded by Thomas T. Crittenden
Succeeded by Albert P. Morehouse
Personal details
Born John Sappington Marmaduke
(1833-03-14)March 14, 1833
Saline County, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 28, 1887(1887-12-28) (aged 54)
Jefferson City, Missouri, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Woodland Cemetery,
Jefferson City, Missouri, U.S.
38°34′02.7″N 92°09′43.6″W / 38.567417°N 92.162111°W / 38.567417; -92.162111
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Father Meredith M. Marmaduke
Alma mater
Military service
Years of service
  • 1857–1861 (USA)
  • 1861 (MSG)
  • 1861–1865 (CSA)

Utah Expedition
American Civil War

John S. Marmaduke (born John Sappington Marmaduke; March 14, 1833 – December 28, 1887) served as the 25th Governor of Missouri from 1885 until his death in 1887. Prior to this he was a senior officer of the Confederate States Army who commanded cavalry in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. In 1863, Marmaduke killed Confederate Brigadier-General Lucius M. Walker in a famous duel. Major-General Sterling Price ordered Marmaduke's arrest, but suspended the order because of the impending Federal advance on Little Rock, Arkansas. Marmaduke never faced a court martial for his actions on September 6.

Early life and education[edit]

The second son among ten children, John S. Marmaduke was born on his father's plantation in Saline County, Missouri.[1] His father, Meredith M. Marmaduke (1791–1864), was the 8th Governor of Missouri. His great-grandfather, John Breathitt, had served as the Governor of Kentucky from 1832–1834, dying in office.[2] Marmaduke attended Chapel Hill Academy in Lafayette County, Missouri, and the Masonic College in Lexington, Missouri, before attending Yale University for two years and then Harvard University for another year.[2] U.S. Representative John S. Phelps appointed Marmaduke to the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1857, placed 30th out of 38 students.[3] He served as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st United States Mounted Rifleman, before being transferred to the 2d United States Cavalry under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Marmaduke later served in the Utah War and was posted to Camp Floyd, Utah, in 1858–1860.[3]

American Civil War[edit]

Marmaduke was on duty in the New Mexico Territory in the spring of 1861 when he received news that Missouri had seceded from the Union. He hastened home and met with his father (an avid Unionist). Afterwards, Marmaduke finally decided to resign from the United States Army, effective April 1861. Pro-secession Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, Marmaduke's uncle, soon appointed him as the Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Rifles, a unit from Saline County, Missouri, in the Missouri State Guard.[3] Governor Jackson departed Jefferson City, Missouri, in June, along with State Guard commander Major-General Sterling Price, to recruit more troops. Marmaduke and his regiment met them at Boonville, Missouri. Within a short time, Price and Jackson left, leaving Marmaduke in charge of a small force of militiamen. Marmaduke realized his troops were in no way prepared for combat, but Governor Jackson ordered him to make a stand. Federal Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon's 1,700 well-trained and equipped soldiers easily routed Marmaduke's untrained and poorly armed force at the Battle of Boonville on June 17, a skirmish mockingly dubbed by Unionists "the Boonville Races," since Marmaduke's recruits broke and ran after just 20 minutes of battle.[2]

Disgusted by the situation, Marmaduke resigned his commission in the Missouri State Guard and traveled to Richmond, Virginia, where he was commissioned a First Lieutenant in the regular Confederate States Army.[2] The Confederate War Department ordered him to report for duty in Arkansas, where he soon was elected the Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Arkansas Battalion.[3] He served on the staff of Lieutenant-General William J. Hardee, a former United States Military Academy instructor of infantry tactics. Marmaduke's former Mormon War commander, Albert Sidney Johnston, asked him to join his staff in early 1862.[4] Marmaduke was wounded in action at the Battle of Shiloh as Colonel of the 3rd Confederate Regiment, incapacitating him for several months.[5]

In November 1862, the War Department confirmed Marmaduke's promotion to Brigadier-General. His first battle as a brigade commander was at the Battle of Prairie Grove.[6] In April 1863, Marmaduke departed Arkansas with 5,000 men and ten artillery pieces and entered now Union held Missouri. However, he was repulsed at the Battle of Cape Girardeau and forced to return to Helena, Arkansas.[7] Controversy soon followed Marmaduke. In September 1863, he accused his immediate superior officer, Brigadier-General Lucius M. Walker, of cowardice in action for not being present with his men on the battlefield. Walker, slighted by the insult, challenged Marmaduke to a duel, which resulted in Walker's death on September 6.[7]

Marmaduke later commanded a cavalry division in the Trans-Mississippi Department, serving in the Red River Campaign. During this period, Marmaduke once again was involved in controversy. Commanding a mixed force of Confederate troops, including Native-American soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Choctaw Regiments, Marmaduke defeated a Federal foraging detachment at the Battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas on April 18, 1864. Marmaduke's men were accused of murdering African-American soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry (later designated the 79th U.S. Colored Infantry). Marmaduke and other white officers claimed that the accusations of illegal killings were overblown, and blamed any murders that may have happened on the Choctaw troops who, in the words of one Confederate, did "kill and scalp some" of the black troops. He was hailed in the Confederate press for what was publicized as a significant southern victory.

Marmaduke commanded a division in Major-General Sterling Price's Raid September–October 1864 into Missouri, where Marmaduke was captured at the Battle of Mine Creek in Kansas (by Private James Dunlavy of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry).[7] While still a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island in Ohio, Marmaduke was promoted to Major-General in March 1865. He was released after the war ended.[6] His younger brother, Henry Hungerford Marmaduke, served in the Confederate States Navy, was captured and was imprisoned on Johnson's Island. He later served the federal government in negotiations with South American nations. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Two other Marmaduke brothers died in the American Civil War.[8]

Later life and death[edit]

Marmaduke returned home to Missouri and settled in Carondelet, St. Louis. He worked briefly for an insurance company, whose ethics he found contrary to his own. He then edited an agricultural journal, and publicly accused the railroads of discriminatory pricing against local farmers. The governor soon appointed Marmaduke to the state's first Rail Commission.[8] Marmaduke decided to enter politics, but lost the 1880 Democratic nomination for governor to former Union general Thomas T. Crittenden, who had strong support and financial backing from the railroads. Undeterred, Marmaduke campaigned four years later for Governor of Missouri at a time when public opinion had changed, and railroad reform and regulation became more in vogue. Marmaduke conducted a campaign which apologetically emphasized his Confederate service, emphasized alleged abuses of Missourians by Union troops during the Civil War, celebrated the activities of pro-Confederate "partisan guerrillas" such as William Clark Quantrill, claimed that the Republican Party in Missouri a tool of "Carpetbaggers" to oppress "native" Missourians, and made overt appeals to white racism. Ironically, considering Marmaduke's "Confederate-focused" campaigning, he was elected on a platform (officially) focused on cooperation between former Unionists and Confederates, promising an agenda which would produce a "New Missouri". He settled potentially crippling railroad strikes in 1885 and 1886. The following year, Marmaduke pushed laws through the state legislature that finally began regulating the state's railway industry. Marmaduke also dramatically boosted the state's funding of public schools, with nearly a full third of the annual budget allocated to education.

He never married, and his two nieces served as hostesses at the Governor's Mansion.[9] Like his great-grandfather, Marmaduke died while serving as governor. He contracted pneumonia late in 1887 and died in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he was buried in Woodland Cemetery.[9]


Marmaduke, Arkansas, is named after him.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shoemaker's pp. 189–190
  2. ^ a b c d Parrish's pp. 16–17
  3. ^ a b c d Welsh's pp. 154
  4. ^ Johnston's pp. 583–584
  5. ^ Neal's pp. 142–143
  6. ^ a b Black's pp. 159
  7. ^ a b c Conard's pp. 199–200
  8. ^ a b Reavis's pp. 510–511
  9. ^ a b McClure pp. 175–176
  10. ^ Houston's pp. 10


  • Black, William P., Banasik, Michael E., Victoria and Albert Museum, Duty, Honor, and Country: The Civil War Experiences of Captain William P. Black, Thirty-Seventh Illinois Infantry, Press of the Camp Pope Bookshop, 2006. ISBN 1-929919-10-7.
  • Conrad, Howard Louis, Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: A Compendium of History and Biography for Ready Reference, Published by The Southern History Company, Haldeman, Conard & Co., Proprietors, 1901.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
  • Hinze, David; Farnham, Karen, The Battle of Carthage, Border War in Southwest Missouri, July 5, 1861. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-58980-223-3.
  • Houston, Curtis A., The Houston Family and Relatives, C.A. Houston, 1984.
  • Johnston, William Preston, Johnston, Albert Sidney, The life of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston: embracing his services in the armies of the United States, the republic of Texas, and the Confederate States, D. Appleton, 1878.
  • McClure, Clarence Henry, History of Missouri: A Text Book of State History for Use in Elementary Schools, A.S. Barnes Company, 1920.
  • Neal, Diane, Kremm, Thomas, The Lion of the South: General Thomas C. Hindman, Mercer University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-86554-556-1.
  • Parrish, William Earl, McCandless, Perry, Foley, William E., A History of Missouri, University of Missouri Press, 1971. ISBN 0-8262-1559-9.
  • Ponder, Jerry, Major-General John S. Marmaduke, C.S.A., Doniphan, Missouri: Ponder Books, 1999. ISBN 0-9623922-8-6.
  • Reavis, L. U., Saint Louis: the Future Great City of the World, Gray, Baker & Co., 1875.
  • Shoemaker, Floyd C., A History of Missouri and Missourians: A Text Book for "class A" Elementary Grade, Freshman High School, and Junior High School, Ridgway, 1922.
  • Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4.
  • Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.
  • Welsh, Jack D., Medical Histories of Confederate Generals, Kent State University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-87338-649-3.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas T. Crittenden
Governor of Missouri
Succeeded by
Albert P. Morehouse