Sidney Drake Jackman (1826–1886)

Sidney Drake Jackman was a Confederate officer who played an active role in Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s operations in Arkansas during the summer of 1864.

Sidney Drake Jackman was born on March 7, 1826, in Jessamine County, Kentucky. His parents, Thomas Jackman and Mary Drake Jackman, moved the family to Howard County, Missouri, about four years later. Jackman became a teacher and farmer in Boone County, Missouri, where he married Martha Rachael Slavin in 1849; they would have six children.

The Jackmans moved to Papinville, Missouri, in 1855, and he led a home guard militia during cross-border troubles with abolitionist Kansans. He moved his family away from the border in 1860. When the Civil War began, Jackman served as the captain of a home guard company in 1861–1862 but was serving as a lieutenant colonel of Missouri recruits in the Confederate victory at Lone Jack, Missouri, in August 1862. He was colonel of the Seventh (later Sixteenth) Missouri Cavalry (CS) in September 1862 but resigned a month later when the regiment was dismounted.

In 1863–1864, he recruited a guerrilla band, Jackman’s Missouri Cavalry, and he led his troops in cooperation with Shelby when that officer worked his way behind Union bases along the Arkansas River in May 1864, intent on disrupting Federal operations in eastern Arkansas and corralling the guerrillas and deserters who frequented the area.

Jackman apparently brought his men south from Missouri in May 1864, when the Union scout in Craighead and Lawrence counties sought to disrupt his activities, and his men smashed a Union supply train in a May 5 skirmish on Richland Creek in Searcy County. He was reported to be near Danville (Yell County) in June when Colonel Abraham Ryan dispatched a scout of the Third Arkansas Cavalry (US) from Lewisburg (Conway County) in search of him.

After Shelby dispatched him into the Ozarks to force guerrillas in the area to join his command, Jackman was back in eastern Arkansas by August 7, 1864, when he was bloodied in the skirmish at Hickory Plains (Prairie County). Jackman’s troops played a significant role in the August 24, 1864, Confederate victory at Ashley’s Station, where they held back Union reinforcements from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) in the flat, featureless Grand Prairie of which Jackman wrote: “There was not a twig, much less a tree, between them and us.” After participating in Major General Sterling Price’s disastrous Missouri Raid, Jackman was back in eastern Arkansas by mid-December 1864 when Federal troops undertook the White River Expedition to disrupt his and other guerrilla bands.

On May 16, 1865, Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith promoted Jackman to brigadier general commanding Confederate troops in southern Missouri. The collapse of the Confederacy soon followed, and Jackman escaped to Mexico rather than take the oath of allegiance to the United States. He returned in 1867 and took the oath, settling on a farmstead near Kyle, Texas. His wife died three years later, and he married Cass Gains in 1875; they would have four children.

Jackman was elected to the Texas state legislature in 1873 and in 1885 was appointed U.S. marshal for western Texas. He died on June 2, 1886, and is buried in Kyle Cemetery.

For additional information:
Allardice, Bruce S. Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008.

Jackman, Sidney D., and Richard L. Norton. Behind Enemy Lines: The Memoirs and Writings of Brigadier General Sidney Drake Jackman. Springfield, MO: Oak Hill Publishing, 1997.

Miller, Aragorn Storm. “Sidney Drake Jackman (1826—1886).” Handbook of Texas Online. (accessed December 31, 2022).

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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