A Civil War Biography

St. John Richardson Liddell

Liddell was born 6 September 1815 near Woodville, Mississippi at "Elmsley", his family's plantation. He briefly sought a military career, entering West Point in 1833 but lackluster grades encouraged him to resign after only a year. From then until the start of the Civil War he operated the plantation that his father purchased for him in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. In 1852 Liddell, involved in a feud with another planter, killed two men. He was acquitted of all charges. Street fights and duels were common at the time.

When the war started Liddell first served, with the rank of colonel, as a volunteer aide-de-camp to William J. Hardee. He also occasionally served as a confidential courier between Albert Sidney Johnston and the Confederate capital. Liddell was promoted to brigadier general on 17 July 1862. He commanded the 1st Brigade in the 3rd Division of Hardee's Left Wing of the Army of the Mississippi at Perryville. Liddell commanded the 2nd Brigade of Patrick Cleburne's 2nd Division attached to Hardee's Corps at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga.

Liddell was appointed to the committee that was tasked to draft the constitution of the "Comrades of the Southern Cross", an officer's fraternal organization begun by Cleburne during the war. In late 1863 Liddell requested to be transferred to the Trans-Mississippi. He would hold various district commands in the Trans-Mississippi until the end of the war. He took part in opposing Nathaniel Banks during the Union's Red River campaign, helped track down draft evaders and parolees, and operated against jayhawkers in northern Louisiana. He was assigned to the defenses of Mobile, Alabama in the spring of 1865 and was captured when Union forces over ran Fort Blakeley on 9 April 1865.

After his release, Liddell returned to his plantation. On 14 February 1870 while dining on a steamboat on the Black River Liddell was shot and killed by Charles Jones and his two sons. Jones, a neighbor of Liddell, was getting revenge for the killings by Liddell in 1852.

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