A Civil War Biography

James Craig

Craig was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania on 28 February 1818. He moved to Mansfield, Ohio in 1821 where he attended the public schools. He studied the law and was admitted to the bar in New Philadelphia, Ohio in 1839. He moved to St. Joseph, Missouri in 1844 and established a law practice. He served during the war with Mexico as a captain of a volunteer company formed in Holt County, Missouri, that guarded wagon trains moving west on the Overland Trail.

Craig was appointed Missouri state's attorney for the 12th judicial circuit in 1852 and served until elected to the state house of representatives in 1856. He served in the state legislature until 1857 when he was elected as a Democrat from Missouri's 4th district to the US House of Representatives. He served in Congress from 3 March 1857 until 3 March 1861. He failed in his bid for re-nomination for a third term. In 1860 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

After leaving Congress he returned to his law practice in Missouri. Having boldly declared his intention to uphold the National authority, he was appointed a brigadier of volunteers by President Abraham Lincoln on 21 March 1862. Craig was given command of the troops guarding the overland mail and telegraph lines from the Missouri River to and including Utah. Later he would be assigned to command the District of Nebraska.

He resigned from the army on 5 May 1863 and returned to St Joseph. After an earnest appeal from Missouri governor Willard P. Hall in 1864 to defend the state from raids by Confederate armies and the activities of bands of "bushwhackers", Craig accepted the position of brigadier general in the Missouri State Militia. During Sterling Price's 1864 raid, Craig's troops ambushed and killed Bloody Bill Anderson. The threat to Missouri subsiding as the war wound down, Craig resigned from the militia in January 1865.

He returned to the practice of law specializing in managing the large interests and enterprises of his clients. In 1866 President Andrew Johnson appointed Craig the collector of internal revenue for the St Joseph district. Craig held this position until he resigned when Ulysses S. Grant became president. In 1880 Craig was unsuccessful in his attempt to return to the US Congress, losing by a single vote. He was the first president of the Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad and the first comptroller of the city of St Joseph. He died in St Joseph on 21 October 1888.

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