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Friday, November 2, 2012

Civil War Photo Friday: Confederate General John S. Marmaduke

I'm back safely from Iraq and while I've been blogging about my trip, it's time to get back to some Civil War and Wild West stuff! My Iraq series for Gadling will be starting shortly and I'll announce it here.

This week's Civil War photo is of John Sappington Marmaduke, a Confederate commander from Missouri. Born to a wealthy plantation family in Arrow Rock, he went with the South when his uncle, Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, planned the state's secession from the Union. Marmaduke commanded the rebel troops and tasted defeat at the Battle of Boonville, one of the first battles of the Civil War.

Marmaduke rose in the ranks and was appointed a Brigadier General 150 years ago this month. He's most famous for two raids he conducted into Union-dominated Missouri in 1863 in an effort to reduce pressure on Confederate-held Arkansas. The first raid saw him in a bitter fight in Springfield. The second saw him causing havoc in southeast Missouri. Neither raid was particularly successful. His career was further tarnished when he challenged a fellow officer to a duel and shot him dead.

Marmaduke's career ended at the Battle of Mine Creek on October 25, 1864. This was near the end of General Price's disastrous invasion of Missouri, the background for my Civil War novel A Fine Likeness. Marmaduke positioned his artillery and men poorly and the Union army cut him off from the rest of the rebel army and captured him and some 800 of his men. I'll cover all of these events in more detail as their 150th anniversaries come up.

Despite his failings as a commander, Marmaduke remained a popular figure and served as governor of Missouri from 1885 to his death in office in 1887.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

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