Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall
Marshall graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1832, was assigned to the mounted rangers, served in the Black Hawk War, and was breveted as a second lieutenant. However, he resigned from the Army in April 1833 to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1833 and practiced in Frankfort for two years before moving to Louisville. He became captain in the Kentucky militia in 1836, major in 1838, and lieutenant colonel in 1841. In 1836 he raised a company of volunteers and marched to defend the Texas frontier against the Indians, but his force disbanded on hearing of General Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto. In 1846 he became Colonel of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry during the Mexican-American War, where he fought at the Battle of Buena Vista as a part of Zachary Taylor’s Army of Occupation. Returning from Mexico, Marshall engaged in agricultural pursuits in Henry County, Kentucky.
Marshall’s native Kentucky was a border state. Marshall, a moderate in his political views, supported John C. Breckinridge for president in the Election of 1860 and advocated the commonwealth’s neutrality. When his efforts failed and Union troops occupied Kentucky, Marshall enlisted in the Confederate army with the rank of brigadier general, and aided the recruitment effort. He was stationed in western Virginia, but saw limited combat. In January 1862, he lost a minor battle in eastern Kentucky to future President James A. Garfield. Garfield’s Federal cavalry had chased off Marshall’s cavalrymen at Jenny’s Creek near Paintsville, Kentucky. Marshall withdrew to the forks of Middle Creek, two miles from Prestonsburg, on the road to Virginia. Garfield attacked on January 9, precipitating the Battle of Middle Creek. He eventually forced Marshall to withdraw after a day’s fighting.
Frustrated by his inability to secure a good assignment following his victory at Princeton Court House in present-day West Virginia in May, Marshall briefly resigned his commission in June 1862. However, he soon returned to the army and participated in Braxton Bragg’s Kentucky operations in the fall of 1862. Resigning again from the army in June 1863, he moved to Richmond, Virginia, and continued the practice of law. In November, he was elected to the Second Confederate Congress as a representative from Kentucky’s 8th District. With the collapse of the Confederacy, he briefly fled to Texas.
After the war, Marshall moved to New Orleans. His citizenship was restored by President Andrew Johnson in December 1867. He later returned to Louisville and resumed his law practice. He died in Louisville and was buried in the State Cemetery in his native Frankfort.