James Murrell Shackelford

James Murrell Shackelford was born on a farm in Lincoln County, Kentucky, on July 7, 1827. He was educated in the schools of nearby Springfield and Stanford; at the age of twenty he enlisted in Company I, 4th Kentucky Volunteers, and was soon elected first lieutenant of his company. Mustered out in 1848, he studied law and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1853; he practiced his profession in Louisville until the outbreak of the Civil War. In the fall of 1861 he recruited the 25th Kentucky (Union) Infantry and was commissioned its colonel on January 1, 1862. The regiment fought at Fort Donelson in Cruft's brigade of Lew Wallace's division, sustaining eighty-four casualties. Contrary to published sources, it does not appear that Shackelford was present at Shiloh; the records indicate that he had resigned his commission shortly before the battle. In August he raised the 8th Kentucky Cavalry, was made its colonel on September 13, 1862, and on March 17, 1863, was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from January 2. The 8th Kentucky Cavalry was organized into three battalions (which frequently saw service separately) to serve for twelve months. In September he was slightly wounded in the foot during a skirmish with Adam Johnson's Kentucky Confederates at Geiger's Lake; the 1st Battalion which he was directing personally, then moved to Bowling Green. The principal service of the regiment was its participation in the pursuit and capture of the celebrated Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan, during his expedition across the Ohio in July, 1863. Shackelford himself, now a brigadier, was nominally in command of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XXIII Corps, a mixed force of infantry and cavalry. Morgan's forces were broken up piecemeal day by day, and their leader finally surrendered to Shackelford near Wellsville, Ohio, after a chase through three states. The balance of Shackelford's military service was marked by his participation in the capture of Cumberland Gap during the campaign in East Tennessee, where he commanded a cavalry division of the XXIII Corps, and at Knoxville the Cavalry Corps of the Department of the Ohio. Shackelford resigned from the army in January, 1864, and returned to his law practice. In 1889 he was made United States judge for the Indian Territory and after 1893 practiced law at Muskogee (now Oklahoma) where he became attorney for the Choctaw nation. He died at his summer home in Port Huron, Michigan, on September 7, 1909, and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.