About John Sappington Marmaduke
John Sappington Marmaduke (March 14, 1833 – December 28, 1887) was a career military man and a West Point graduate. He is known for his service as a Confederate Major general during the American Civil War. Born into a political family, he later became the 25th Governor of Missouri from 1884 until his death in 1887.
Early life and career
The second son among ten children, Marmaduke was born on his father's plantation near Arrow Rock in Saline County, Missouri. His father, Meredith Miles Marmaduke (1791–1864), was the eighth Governor of Missouri. His great-grandfather, John Breathitt, had served as the Governor of Kentucky from 1832–1834, dying in office.
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. Congressman John S. Phelps appointed Marmaduke to the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1857, placed 30th out of 38 students. He briefly served as a second lieutenant in the First United States Mounted Rifleman, before being transferred to the Second United States Cavalry under Col. Albert Sidney Johnston. Marmaduke served in the Utah War and was posted to Camp Floyd in 1858–1860.
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). Even though the news was false, 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 First Regiment of Rifles, a unit from Saline County, in the Missouri State Guard. Governor Jackson departed Jefferson City in June, along with State Guard commander Major General Sterling Price, to recruit more troops. Marmaduke and his regiment met them at Boonville. 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. Union 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.
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. 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. He served on the staff of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee, a former West Point instructor of infantry tactics. Marmaduke's former Mormon War commander, Albert Sidney Johnston, asked him to join his staff in early 1862.
Marmaduke was wounded in action at the Battle of Shiloh as Colonel of the 3rd Confederate Infantry, incapacitating him for several months. 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. 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.
Controversy soon followed Marmaduke. In September 1863, he accused his immediate superior officer, Maj. Gen. Lucius M. "Marsh" 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.
Marmaduke later commanded a cavalry division in the Trans-Mississippi Department, serving in the Red River Campaign and Price's Raid into Missouri, where he was captured at the Battle of Mine Creek during the retreat from the Battle of Westport. 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.
Marmaduke returned home to Missouri and settled in 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.
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. Elected on a platform that urged cooperation between former Unionists and Confederates, Marmaduke pursued an agenda that called for 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.
Like his great-grandfather, Marmaduke died while serving as governor. He contracted pneumonia late in 1887 and died in Jefferson City. He was buried in the City Cemetery.
Marmaduke, Arkansas, in Greene County is named for John S. Marmaduke.
His younger brother, Henry Hungerford Marmaduke, served in the Confederate 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 Civil War.
Maj. General John S. Marmaduke (CSA), Governor's Timeline
March 14, 1833
West Point, U.S. Military Academy, New York
December 28, 1887