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American Civil War - October 12, 2018

11th Kansas Cavalry guidon, used during the American Civil War (Image from the Kansas Historical Society)

Q: During the Battle of Mine Creek (also known as the Battle of the Osage), a Confederate general was captured by a lowly private in the Union army. History remembers the 20-year-old private as James Dunlavy, of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry. What was the name of the Confederate general who was captured and who would later become governor of Missouri?

A: John Marmaduke

It's been 154 years since the Battle of Mine Creek, also known as the Battle of the Osage, which was one of the largest cavalry engagements of the American Civil War. On October 25, 1864, Union and Confederate forces collided in an area near the Kansas and Missouri border in what would later be called Linn County, Kansas. The battle was part of Confederate Major General Sterling Price's Raid into Missouri and Kansas. Two divisions of Price's Army of Missouri were routed by two Federal brigades under the command of Colonels Frederick Benteen and John Finis Philips. This battle was the second of three fought between Price and the Federals on this day; the first had been earlier that morning at Marais des Cygnes a few miles away, while the third would be fought a few hours later at the nearby Marmaton River.

Although vastly outnumbered, Union forces won all three engagements, forcing Price out of Kansas and sealing the fate of his disastrous Missouri campaign. Confederate General John S. Marmaduke commanded a division in General Price's Raid. But during the Battle of Mine Creek, Marmaduke was captured by 20-year-old Private James Dunlavy of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry. Marmaduke became a prisoner of war while Dunlavy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Battle of Mine Creek actually saw the capture of two Confederate Generals. In addition to Marmaduke, Confederate General William Lewis Cabell was taken by Union troops. Cabell was captured by Sergeant Calvary M. Young of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry. (Yes, a man named CALvary served in the Iowa CAValry.)

After the war, Marmaduke was released from the POW camp and returned to his home state of Missouri. He was was elected as the 25th governor of Missouri in 1885 and served until his death in 1887.  Years after the war, Cabell served as the mayor of Dallas.

Read more about the Battle of Mine Creek.

Odd fact: General John Marmaduke once killed another Confederate general in a duel. In 1863, he accused his immediate superior officer, Brigadier-General Lucius M. Walker, of cowardice. The insulted Walker challenged Marmaduke to a duel, which resulted in Walker's death.  

Want more tidbits and information about the wonderful state of Kansas? Visit KPR's online Kansas Trivia trove.

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