The few days of July of 1863 marked a pivotal time for the Confederacy’s war efforts – the Army of Northern Virginia was decisively defeated in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg, Mississippi fell to the Army of Tennessee, and the Confederate attacks against the Union garrison at Helena, Arkansas failed. In these defeats, Confederate commanders sought to find reason for these failures by placing blame on one another.
At Helena, Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke, commander of the Missouri Cavalry Division in the Department of Arkansas, believed that Brig. Gen. Lucius Walker’s Arkansas Cavalry Division failed to support the attack after they fled to safety. Just months later at Reed’s Bridge, Marmaduke once again placed blame on Walker, whose troops were absent from the field over fear they would be flanked. Instead of pursuing a court martial or even putting the issue to rest, Marmaduke and Walker tried to resolve the matter via a dual – one of a few uses of dueling between general officers in the Civil War. Continue reading