James Haggin McBride
James Haggin McBride, the son of
William McBride and Jane Haggin, was born in 1814 near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. In
his youth he engaged in manufacturing in Paris, Missouri. Relocating to
Springfield, McBride soon formed a lucrative law practice and became president
of the Springfield Bank. From 1850 to 1853 he lived in California. Returning to
Missouri, McBride, a Democrat, was elected to the state house of representatives
to represent Texas County. In 1859 he moved to Houston in Texas County and the
next year was elected circuit judge.
At the start of the war in Missouri he was appointed brigadier general of the 7th Division of the Missouri Columbia State Guard. One of McBride's staff officers remembered McBride's troops as "the most unique military body it has ever been my experience to meet.... The officers of the staff, who were small country lawyers, conducted theit several departments somewhat after the fashion of a loosely kept county court; colonels could not drill their regiments; captains their companies; and many officers could neither read nor write.. . . While there was no such thing as military discipline in this singular army, yet perfect order was preserved in it, through the force of character of the General, his great firmness, and the patriarchal authority he exercised. He knew each man personally in his command."' At the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, McBride (a "clear-headed, silent, courageous man"') displayed great bravery as he led his division in attacks upon Bloody Hill. At the siege of Lexington (September 18 and 20, 1861) McBride's division attacked the Union garrison from positions along the banks of the Missouri River. On January 23, 1862, those Confederate volunteers not attached to the two newly formed Missouri Confederate brigades were assigned to the command of McBride, a state guard general, and denominated the 3rd Brigade of Volunteers. This mark of favor led McBride to believe he would be soon commissioned brigadier general in the Confederate army, to command the new brigade. However, Major General Sterling Price, who commanded both the state guard and the Missouri Confederate volunteers, quickly found fault with McBride's flouting of regulations and the lax discipline of his state guard division. On February 23, 1862, McBride, figuring his chances of promotion while under Price to be nil, resigned his general's commission and attempted to obtain a commission in the Confederate army. That commission never came; McBride never saw field action again. He established a camp in northern Arkansas and commenced the organization of a brigade of infantry for the regular Confederate service. Two regiments were raised, and the men sent to the main Confederate army in Little Rock. McBride, however, fell ill, and was forced to remain in northern Arkansas even after the area was occupied by Union forces. In March, 1864, he contracted pneumonia. The disease rendered him unfit for even recruiting duty, so he gathered his family and headed south. While en route he died at Bluffton in Yell County, Arkansas. He was buried near Bluffton in an unmarked grave.
General McBride's command of a brigade of the Missouri State Guard and his service in a campaign qualify him to be considered a Confederate general.
Reference: More Generals in
Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray.
Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.