John T. Hughes was born July 25, 1817, near Lexington, Kentucky. He died August 11, 1862,
during the Battle of Independence, Missouri. His 45 years were spent during some of
the most turbulent times in our nation's history.
Col. Hughes was near kin to General Sterling Price, and enjoyed the
trust and confidence of that great man. Hughes had been with Price
through the Mexican War, and the two men understood
and loved each other as brothers. At the battle of Pea Ridge,
when Slack fell mortally wounded, Price, who seldom made mistakes in
choosing men for arduous duties, assigned Hughes to replace the
fallen general. Price saw in Hughes the coming man and in this
Price and Doniphan saw alike. After the battle of Pea Ridge,
Hughes followed his kinsman to assist in the operations against Grant
and Halleck, at Corinth. In one month he was directed by the
Confederate Government, at Richmond, to return to Missouri, and raise
a brigade; which meant a generalship for him. He was on this
mission, making his way to northwestern Missouri, when he brought
together, near Lee's Summit, the forces of Thompson, Hays, and
Quantrill, and planned so skillfully the battle of Independence. It
was during this engagement that John T. Hughes lost his life.
John was more than a rising general. He was a graceful writer
as well, and had he lived, would have done for Price, what Edwards
did for Shelby-chronicled in classic English his achievements.
Prior to the War Between the States, John Hughes was one of the
leaders of political sentiment in Northwestern Missouri. He had
been a Whig all his life, until the Whig party became dominated by
Knownothingism, when he acted with the Democrats. This was due
to what he felt was the violent and radical assaults of the leaders
of the then forming Republican Party on the constitution. This
made it impossible for him to act with them. He was a member of
the State Convention that sent delegates to the National Democratic
Convention of 1860, the most stormy political assemblage, perhaps,
that ever met in Missouri-one of which none but the master hand of
Price could control.
He had strong, positive, and clearly
defined views on all the questions then agitating the public mind,
and expressed them with great force and energy, but, was at all times
courteous and considerate of those that held opposing views.
He was a strong and ardent advocate of the Union, and opposed every
attempt made in the direction of taking Missouri out of the
Union. He opposed calling a convention to consider the
question, and when it was called, he advocated with all his strength
and energy the election of delegates who opposed secession.
He held a commission as Colonel in the Missouri State Guard, which
was the state militia at that time. When the Federal
government usurped the will of the people, and ousted not only the
duly elected Governor of Missouri, but, the members of the
Legislature and the Senate, the Supreme Court and District Judges and
all other state officers, he moved the troops under his command and
took his place alongside that brave and noble band of patriots who
fought and were willing to die for their beliefs.
Promoted posthumously to Brigadier General, John T. Hughes ideals are
representative of B/G John T. Hughes SCV Camp #614, and LTC John R.
Boyd MOSB Chapter #236. John T. Hughes lies in Woodlawn
Cemetery in Independence, Missouri.
Some information for this article came from:
Battles and Bios of Missourians: by W.L. Webb. From Oak Hills Publishing.