Marmaduke raid passed through Ozark County
The Battle of Pea Ridge, described in the previous Ozark Journey column, secured Missouri’s future as a Union state; however, it was far from the end of hostilities in southwest Missouri. One of the Confederate leaders who stayed engaged on Missouri soil was Missouri’s native son, Gen. John S. Marmaduke.
John Sappington Marmaduke had a colorful and unusual background and career. His father was a colonel in the War of 1812 and served as the eighth governor of Missouri. After attending both Harvard and Yale, John graduated from West Point in 1857. When Missouri seceded from the Union, John resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, served briefly in the Missouri militia and then accepted appointment by Jefferson Davis as a lieutenant in the Confederate Army. He rose in rank quickly and became commander of the 1st Arkansas Cavalry as a lieutenant colonel.
He fought valiantly at Shiloh, Tennesse, on April 6-7, 1862, and was severely wounded but survived; soon after he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In the closing months of 1862, Marmaduke convinced his superiors to authorize a raid from Arkansas into southwest Missouri. His objective was to capture supplies and military equipment as well as to distract Union forces still advancing into Arkansas.
Marching through Ozark County
Three columns pressed northward simultaneously, in wintry weather, from central Arkansas. One column was led by Marmaduke, one by Col. Emmett MacDonald and one by Col. Joseph Porter. Also serving under Marmaduke’s command was Col. Joseph O. Shelby.
After serving brilliantly at Pea Ridge, Shelby had been promoted to command a cavalry brigade that included the 6th Missouri Cavalry, 11th Missouri Cavalry, 8th Missouri Cavalry and Brown’s Artillery Battalion. If the situation seems confusing, remember that all of these units were raised in Missouri and were led by senior officers who were themselves from Missouri. They were serving with the Confederate forces and attacking military and civilian sites in Missouri. It was literally brother against brother in some cases.
The columns led by Marmaduke and MacDonald left Lewisburg, Arkansas, on the Arkansas River, and passed through Yellville, headed for Springfield through Ozark, Douglas and Christian counties. According to an 1863 map of their route, preserved at the Missouri Historical Society, at least some of the units passed close to Isabella on the Old Salt Road. That same map shows Col. Porter leaving Pocahontas, Arkansas, and passing by Gainesville. Porter went north to Hazelwood in Webster County before turning west toward Springfield to join Marmaduke.
No battles were fought in Ozark County, but the passage of any army through enemy territory is bound to create isolated incidents of foraging and confrontation.
The first significant action of this campaign occurred on Jan. 6, 1863, at Fort Lawrence on Beaver Creek in what is now Douglas County. The spot was only a few miles north of the Ozark County line and was still part of Taney County at that time. Apparently, this “fort” was a defensive structure built to protect the nearby Lawrence Mill. There, “Long-haired Emmett” MacDonald’s column, with Shelby’s brigade attached, attacked the garrisoned militia unit. These militia members were no match for MacDonald’s forces and were quickly overrun by the Confederates. Many weapons and supplies were captured, and the fort was burned to the ground.
The next day, with his forces rejoined, Marmaduke captured the town of Ozark without a fight and burned the fort before pressing on to Springfield. Hearing of his advance and realizing they were outnumbered four to one, the Union defenders, led by Gen. Egbert Brown, chose nevertheless to defend Springfield.
The military district commander activated all of the militia units in the area and ordered them to proceed immediately to the city. Even the local civilians were armed by Federal forces. As the Confederates advanced on the city, hand-to-hand street fighting ensued. This made Marmaduke’s excellent cavalry units relatively ineffective. Meanwhile, Porter’s column received word too late that the attack was in progress; it was unable to reach Springfield in time to assist. Marmaduke failed to displace the Union forces and was forced to retreat.
He then turned east and raided a small military outpost at Marshfield. With cold, battle-weary troops, Marmaduke’s column joined Porter’s and engaged a force of 2,500 Union troops at Hartville. The Federal units eventually fled, but it was a costly victory. Both Col. MacDonald and Col. Porter were killed in the battle.
Marmaduke then passed through Douglas County, and the corner of Ozark County, stopping at West Plains on his return to Ark-ansas. His troops arrived at Batesville on Jan. 25, 1863. His campaign raised enough concern among Unionists that more federal troops were assigned to the region. After this raid, a stronger effort was made to integrate the Home Guard and State Militia into the Federal forces.
Second campaign into Missouri
Marmaduke led a second campaign into Missouri in April 1863. Following skirmishes at several points along the way, he launched an assault at Cape Girardeau on April 26. This turned out to be something less than a battle. The facilities at Cape Girardeau were well defended, and Marmaduke retired back to Arkansas, fighting several small skirmishes along the way. His brilliant leadership at Chalk Bluff saved his army and salvaged the weapons and supplies they gathered. He then withdrew to help defend the state capital at Little Rock.
On July 23, 1863, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price became commander of the District of Arkansas. He was immediately faced with the prospect of defending the state capital against an expected Union attack. The siege lasted nearly a month. Marmaduke and Shelby put up stubborn resistance at Bayou Fourche on Sept. 10, where they were initially able to repulse the Union forces. However, the sheer, overwhelming size of the enemy caused the Confederates eventually to retreat. The city fell that evening, and Price retreated with his forces to west-central Arkansas.
Marmaduke served under Price at the Battle of Westport, Missouri, on Oct. 23 of that year. Westport was part of what is modern-day Kansas City. The engagement, involving more than 30,000 combatants, marked the end of Confederate campaigns in Missouri.
Marmaduke was captured at Mine Creek during this campaign and spent the rest of the war as a Union prisoner. During that time he was promoted by the Confederacy to the rank of major general. He stayed in Missouri after the war and was elected the 25th governor of the state in 1884. He died in office on Dec. 28, 1887, three years into his term.
He is buried in Woodland-Old City Cemetery in Jefferson City – near the grave of Ozark County Rep. Moses C. Martin, who was elected to the legislature in 1866 and died in Jefferson City on Feb. 15, 1868. Martin was the great-great-grandfather of Ozark County Times editor Sue Ann Jones and Times Past columnist Mary Ruth Sparks.