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John Selden Roane (January 8, 1817 – April 7, 1867) was an American politician who served as the fourth Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852. Prior to this he commanded the Mounted Arkansas Infantry (also known as Mounted Arkansas Volunteers) following the death of Colonel Archibald Yell at the Battle of Buena Vista. Roane also served as a senior officer of the Confederate States Army who commanded infantry in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War.

John Selden Roane
AR Roane John.jpg
4th Governor of Arkansas
In office
April 19, 1849 – November 15, 1852
Preceded byRichard Byrd (acting)
Succeeded byElias Conway
Personal details
Born(1817-01-08)January 8, 1817
Wilson County, Tennessee
DiedApril 7, 1867(1867-04-07) (aged 50)
Jefferson County, Arkansas
Resting placeOakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park,
Little Rock, Arkansas
34°43′41.3″N 92°15′29.5″W / 34.728139°N 92.258194°W / 34.728139; -92.258194
Political partyDemocratic
Mary Smith (m. 18551867)
RelationsArchibald Roane (uncle)
Alma materCumberland College
Military service
Years of service
  • 1846–1847
  • 1862–1865
  • Mounted Arkansas Infantry
  • Roane's Brigade, Jones' Division
  • Roane's Brigade, Churchill's Division
Battles/warsMexican–American War

American Civil War


Early life and careerEdit

John Selden Roane was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and educated at Cumberland College, which at the time was located in Princeton, Kentucky. He migrated to the new state of Arkansas in 1837, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. He was Prosecuting Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Arkansas from 1840 to 1842, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1842 to 1844, and the 4th Governor of Arkansas from 1849 to 1852.

Mexican–American WarEdit

At the outbreak of the Mexican–American War, Roane was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment of Arkansas Mounted Volunteers, succeeding to command when Colonel Archibald Yell was mortally wounded repelling the charge of the Mexican lancers at the Battle of Buena Vista. Roane was officially appointed Colonel on February 28, 1847. He was known to be jealous of the honor of his state and once challenged Albert Pike to a duel over what he perceived as derogatory statements made about the regiment's actions in the war. The duel was fought, but neither combatant was injured.

American Civil WarEdit

On March 20, 1862, Roane received a commission as brigadier-general in the Confederate States Army. After most troops were moved from Arkansas across the Mississippi River, he was placed in charge of the defense of Arkansas. At this time the state was nearly defenseless; and Roane, with the newly appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi District Major-General Thomas Hindman, cobbled together a reasonable defensive force. His brigade took part in numerous battles in the Trans-Mississippi District, including the Battle of Whitney's Lane and then the Battle of Prairie Grove.

Personal lifeEdit

On February 1, 1855, Roane married Mary Smith (1833–1907) in Dallas County, Arkansas.

Later lifeEdit

See alsoEdit


  • Donovan, Timothy P.; Gatewood, Willard B. Jr.; Whayne, Jeannie M., eds. (1995). The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography (2nd ed.). Fayetteville, Ark.: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-331-1.
  • Eicher, John H.; Eicher, David J. (2001), Civil War High Commands, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1
  • Sifakis, Stewart (1988), Who Was Who in the Civil War, New York: Facts On File, ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4
  • Warner, Ezra J. (1959), Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, pp. 257–58, ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9

External linksEdit