Confederates in Our Attic, part 3 of 3

Friday, May 13, 2016

by Terry Humphrey

Local History and Genealogy Marshall Public Library

Note: This is part three in a series of three articles appearing this week.

Gen. Price quickly arrested Marmaduke and the Seconds, Crockett and Moore, with every intention of prosecution. Marmaduke, his officers and friends immediately petitioned Price for his release. Price found it difficult to release Marmaduke as he feared Walker's men would become embittered prior to the pending Union attack across the Arkansas River. That oncoming attack allowed Price to free Marmaduke et al for the duration of the battle to come.

Walker's men were indeed bitter. On Sept. 10, Little Rock fell to the Federal assault. Col. Archibald Dobbins had taken command of Walker's division and was now engaged in the suburbs just south of Little Rock at Fourche Bayou when Marmaduke's cavalry approached. Marmaduke ordered his units as well as one of Walker's former divisions to charge the Federal position. Dobbins refused to join in this action, citing his men's refusal to serve under Marmaduke. Marmaduke quickly placed Dobbins under arrest and then led the combined brigades into a successful charge against the enemy force. Gen. Price, upon learning of Dobbin's arrest, released him as he had Marmaduke.

Marmaduke's reputation survived intact. His exploits in two raids into Missouri in 1862 and again in 1863 and a string of battles in the Red River Campaign in the spring of 1864 gave him the gratitude of the Arkansas citizenry (The town of Marmaduke in Green County, Ark., is named after him) and he remained popular with his peers. More importantly, his superiors let the matter quietly drop.

An anemic Confederate Army remained in the Department of Arkansas under the command of Gen. Price. In 1864 he proposed a raid into Missouri with some lofty goals. His plan called for the capture of St. Louis, then on to Jefferson City to get Missouri politicians to secede, and finally, secure recruits, weapons and supplies which were in abundance in that state.

The hope was a Confederate victory in the West would lead to Missouri's joining the Confederacy and Lincoln's defeat in the upcoming election. Price's "Army of Missouri" was divided into three cavalry divisions, led by Marmaduke, J. O. Shelby and James F. Fagan. Each was to leave Pocahontas, Ark., on a slightly different and converging for the attack on St. Louis.

Price's plan went immediately astray at the Battle of Pilots Knob and Price's Raid became the last gasp of the Confederacy in the Trans-Mississippi theatre. More like a meander across Missouri with the Federals converging on the Army of Missouri and 200 wagons of illgotten gains. At the Battle of Little Blue River, Marmaduke had two horses shot from under him. Price's lack of focus and luck ran out in Kansas at Mine Creek. So did Marmaduke's. Federal cavalry charged Marmaduke's rearguard position and in the melee of men and horses, Private James Dunlavy of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry captured Marmaduke when he mistakenly approached the Union soldiers thinking they were his own men, who were also dressed in Union uniforms captured in the raid across Missouri. For this stroke of luck, Private Dunlavy was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Marmaduke was sent to Fort Warren in Boston Harbor where he was held until August of 1865. Ironically, Marmaduke has the distinction of being the last Major General promotion of the Confederacy on March 17, 1865, while in captivity.

With his release, Marmaduke toured Europe and then returned to St. Louis where he began working for an insurance company. Marmaduke quit the insurance company due to their lack of ethics and became editor of an agricultural magazine. He quickly joined his fellow farmers in denouncing the railroads gauging them on freight rates. With his appointment to the

state's first Rail Commission, Marmaduke turned to politics. In 1880 he ran against a former Union General, Thomas T. Crittenden, for the Democratic nomination for governor but lost.

The Civil War became an issue in the 1884 Missouri governor's race. Crittenden had the backing of Marmaduke' s arch enemies, the railroads. In an ironic touch, with railroad money and backing, Crittenden offered a $25,000 reward for Jesse and Frank James, dead or alive. The James brothers began their career as bushwhackers during the war and had taken part in Price's Raid. Now, 30 years on, they were America's premier train robbers. Many Missourians saw this more of a bounty and many were incensed when Crittenden pardoned Robert Ford. You remember, the "dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave." In this environment, Marmaduke won the Governor's Mansion to become Missouri's Governor.

Most Missourians were pleasantly surprised with Marmaduke's administration. The governor was a supporter of public schools and one-third of the state's budget was allocated to education. He ended a crippling railway strike and finally brought regulation to the railroads. Marmaduke also refused to engage in patronage hiring practices and remained a bachelor with his two nieces serving as hostesses at official events. It was on the day of his annual Children's Christmas Party on Dec. 28, 1887, that Marmaduke died of pneumonia. He is buried in the Jefferson City Cemetery and the inscription on his tombstone reads, "He was fearless and incorruptible."

The above article was written from primary and secondary sources available in the Marshall Public Library 's Local History and Genealogy collection.

Next up, Henry Hungerford Marmaduke, Midshipman on the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) and pirate chaser in Bolivia. Did Vincent Marmaduke make a deal to escape the gallows? The date of publication is not yet determined.