Greene County, Arkansas

General John S. Marmaduke

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin

This article details the life of John Sappington Marmaduke, from whom the town of Marmaduke draws its name.

John Sappington Marmaduke, the twenty-fifth governor of the state of Missouri, was born on his his father's farm near Arrow Rock in Saline County, Missouri, on March 14, 1833. His father was Meredith Miles Marmaduke of Westmoreland County, Virginia, the eighth governor of Missouri who had come to Missouri  soon after it became a state. There is an early record of a Sir Miles Meredith Marmaduke who lived in Westmoreland County, England. His mother was Lavinia Sappington, the daughter of the famous Dr. John Sappington of Saline County who had come to Missouri from Tennessee.

Young Marmaduke attended the country schools of Saline County, Chapel Hill Academy in Lafayette County, Missouri, Yale University for two years and then Harvard. After attending Harvard less than a year, he was appointed to West Point by Congressman John s. Phelps and graduated in 1857. After his graduation he was assigned to duty in the First United States Mounted Rifleman but was soon transferred to the Seventh United States Calvary under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, where he served in the Mormon War in Utah in 1858-1860. When secession began, he was stationed in New Mexico and then when the war started Marmaduke came home on furlough to talk allegiance with his father who favored the Union. He resigned from the Army immediately and Governor Claiborne F. Jackson appointed him a colonel of the Missouri State Militia in the First Regiment of Rifles.

Colonel Marmaduke was probably the best trained pro-southern military man in Missouri at the outbreak of the War. General Price being ill, he was placed in command of the army which Governor Jackson had raised to oppose Lyon at Booneville. Marmaduke advised against fighting at Booneville, but was ordered by Jackson to give battle. On June 17, 1861 the State troops were defeated as Marmaduke had foreseen. Marmaduke resigned went to Richmond where he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army . For a short time, he was on duty in Arkansas and was then commissioned lieutenant-colonel and assigned to General Hardee's staff in Arkansas, but was soon transferred to his old commander, Albert Sidney Johnston. Marmaduke took conspicuous part in the desperate battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded and made a brigadier general because of his bravery and unusual ability displayed upon the battlefield. After the battle of Shiloh, Marmaduke was again transferred to Arkansas where he served with marked ability and was promoted to the rank of Major General. While serving under General Walker the saddest incident of his life occurred. A quarrel, not on Marmadukes' initiative, took place between him and General Walker. Walker challenged Marmaduke to a duel in which Walker was killed. Following this, he again returned to Arkansas. In April 1863 he invaded southeast Missouri but after a few minor victories , was forced to retreat back into Arkansas. After crossing the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluff in Clay County, AR his troops

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