Claiborne Fox Jackson
Claiborne Fox Jackson, the
secessionist governor of Missouri, was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, on
April 4, 1807, the son of Dempsey and Mary (Pickett) Jackson. The family moved
to Howard County, Missouri, where both father and son went into business and
prospered. The younger Jackson, a states' rights Democrat, served as state
representative from 1836 to 1854- Jackson married, in succession, three
daughters of the wealthy Dr. John Sappington. His brother-in-law, Meredith
Marmaduke, and his nephew, Confederate Major General John S. Marmaduke, were
both governors of Missouri. In 1860 Jackson, the acknowledged leader of the
secessionist, anti-Benton wing of Missouri's Democratic party, was elected
governor of Missouri. Ironically Jackson, a secessionist, was forced by
intraparty squabbles to support the Unionist Democrat Stephen Douglas in the
1860 presidential election. His support of Douglas, and his cautious political
nature, caused Missouri's more rabid secessionists to distrust Jackson's
sincerity when he finally attempted to maneuver the state into seceding.
Before the firing on Fort Sumter in April, 1861, Governor Jackson called for a constitutional convention for the state, which would act to take Missouri out of the Union. However, the voters, including many southern sympathizers who were not yet ready to abandon the Union, instead elected a Unionist majority to the convention. Jackson then took steps to have a pro-southern brigade of state militia seize the Federal arsenal in St. Louis, to use the equipment stored there to arm the southern partisans in the state who were already organizing for war. Quick action by Union Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon frustrated this plan; the arms were shipped to safety in Illinois, and the militia brigade was captured. The news of the Federal action, and the violence that followed the capture of the militia, galvanized Jackson and the pro-southern majority in the Missouri General Assembly. They voted to create a Missouri State Guard, under the governor's control, to hold Missouri for the Confederacy and defend it against the federal government. Quick offensive actions by General Lyon and the Union troops forced Jackson to leave Jefferson City. Cut off from the machinery of government, Jackson became a governor in exile. He fled south with a detachment of guard troops. On July 5, 1861, Jackson led his growing army to victory at the Battle of Carthage, Missouri, defeating a Union brigade that attempted to intercept his retreat. Jackson headed up a makeshift government in southern Missouri in 1861 and early 1862. However, by the spring of 1862 the Union army had driven the southern armies from Missouri. The governor was again forced to migrate, this time to Arkansas. Heading the pro-southern Missouri government in exile, he died of cancer in Little Rock on December 6, 1862. Jackson is buried in the Sappington family burial grounds in Saline County, Missouri.
Wakelyn's Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy, following an article on Jackson in Cyclopedia of American Biography, mentions that Jackson entered the Confederate army as brigadier general, but was compelled to resign because of ill health. No record of Governor Jackson's appointment exists. Moreover, Jackson was exclusively a political, not military, figure.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.