“Humphrey Marshall”


"Oh General Humphrey Marshall Who weighs all of three hundred pound, To fetch here safe your message, On that purpose I am bound." "Humphrey Marshall he's our boss, Brave as hell and big as a hoss."


Humphrey Marshall (1812-1872) was a Confederate politician (a Kentuckian, he served in congress as a Whig 1849-1852 and as a Know-Nothing in 1855-1859 as well as in the Confederate congress 1864-1865).

Marshall, who had graduated West Point (barely) but resigned after only a year of military life, was appointed a Confederate general in 1861, and -- in an interesting sidelight to Thomas's narrative about General Garfield -- fought against that Union general in early 1862.

Marshall had originally tried to keep Kentucky neutral in the Civil War, and only "went south" after his hopes failed. He probably received appointment because the Confederates needed Kentucky officers for recruiting purposes; this caused Marshall to be given a command during Bragg's 1862 invasion of Kentucky.

His record, however, was apparently not very distinguished; his weight is mentioned in both my biographic sources, and he is said to have been a poor disciplinarian. He finally resigned from the Confederate army in 1863 (he had already quit once in 1862), perhaps because he couldn't acquire a meaningful command. - RBW


  1. Thomas-Makin', pp. 55-56 (no title) (2 very short fragments)
  2. BI, ThBa055


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Thomas)
Found in: US(Ap)