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James S Rains

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Years of service  1861–65 (MSG)
Rank  Brigadier General MSG
Name  James Rains

James S. Rains image2findagravecomphotos250photos201131221
Allegiance  Missouri  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Missouri State Guard  Confederate States Army
Battles/wars  American Civil War - Battle of Carthage - Skirmish at Dug Springs - Battle of Wilson's Creek - Siege of Lexington - Battle of Pea Ridge
Died  May 19, 1880, Texas, United States
Battles and wars  American Civil War, Battle of Carthage, Battle of Wilson's Creek, First Battle of Lexington, Battle of Pea Ridge

James Spencer Rains (October 2, 1817 – May 19, 1880) was a brigadier general of the Confederate Missouri State Guard during the American Civil War.


James S. Rains Gen James S Rains 1817 1880 Find A Grave Memorial

Early life and career

James Spencer Rains was born in Tennessee to Asahel and Malvina (Duncan) Rains of Warren County. By 1840 Rains had moved to the vicinity of Sarcoxie, Missouri. He served as prewar general of the militia, as Newton County, Missouri judge from 1840 to 1842, was elected to the state house by Newton County in 1844, and in the state senate from 1854 to 1861. Between 1845 and 1852 Rains served as an agent for Indian affairs in various locations, and ventured to California as a "forty-niner" where he served as a general in the California state militia. In 1860 Rains was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Congress for the Southwest Missouri District.

Rains County, Texas is named for his brother Emory Rains, an early Texas legislator.

Civil War

On May 18, 1861, Governor Claiborne Jackson of Missouri appointed Rains brigadier general of the 8th Division of the Missouri State Guard. While he was an excellent recruiter, the new brigadier was completely unfit for military command. His failure to instill organization and discipline led to derisive nicknames such as "Rains' Blackberry Cavalry" and routs referred to as "Rains' scares."

Rains led his command ineptly at the Battle of Carthage. (It is a matter of historical contention as to whether he may have been in command of the whole Missouri State Guard on the field, but if he was he seems to have provided no direction beyond his own 8th Division.) Here the cavalry failed to cut off the retreat of a small Union force over open prairie.

His standing did not improve when his cavalry panicked and was routed in a skirmish south of Springfield at Dug Springs. At Wilson's Creek his force was surprised and driven in by the initial attack of Lyon's advancing infantry. He served in the major battles of the Missouri State Guard in 1861 and 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Pea Ridge and ran afoul of the commander of the Confederate forces, Earl Van Dorn, during the retreat.

Rains did not accompany the Missouri forces across the river into Mississippi in April 1862. He remained behind with other Missouri State Guard forces who did not wish to leave the Trans-Mississippi. Major General Thomas Hindman placed Rains in command of the mixed guard and Confederate forces in Northwest Arkansas. Hindman relieved Rains of command in October 1862 for "incompetence and insobriety."

Rains moved to Texas to recover his health. In 1864 he returned to Missouri at the command of Confederate Governor Thomas C. Reynolds to recruit during Price's Missouri Raid. With the end of the raid, Rains withdrew.

Post-war Career and Death

After the war Rains settled in Wood County, Texas and later Kaufman County, Texas where he became a farmer, railroad promoter, lawyer, and political organizer/candidate. He failed in his run for lieutenant governor in 1878. He died on May 19, 1880 at his home and is buried at Lee Cemetery in Seagoville, Dallas County.


James S. Rains Wikipedia

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