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John Burke (1830 – January 18, 1871) was a Confederate Adjutant General of Texas and spy. He was born in Pennsylvania. He was left an orphan by age 11 and eventually he made his way to Texas. There he studied law at night and was a cobbler (shoemaker) by day. He was eventually admitted to the bar and took rank as a criminal lawyer along side his brother-in-law, Pendleton Murrah. He joined the Confederacy and was briefly a member of the famous Hood's Brigade until he became a scout. He served early in the war as a scout for P.G.T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston, and J.E.B. Stuart during Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862. He rode with J. E. B. Stuart around McClellan's army in 1862. Burke traveled behind Union lines as far as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. He used disguises, freque

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  • John Burke (1830 – January 18, 1871) was a Confederate Adjutant General of Texas and spy. He was born in Pennsylvania. He was left an orphan by age 11 and eventually he made his way to Texas. There he studied law at night and was a cobbler (shoemaker) by day. He was eventually admitted to the bar and took rank as a criminal lawyer along side his brother-in-law, Pendleton Murrah. He joined the Confederacy and was briefly a member of the famous Hood's Brigade until he became a scout. He served early in the war as a scout for P.G.T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston, and J.E.B. Stuart during Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862. He rode with J. E. B. Stuart around McClellan's army in 1862. Burke traveled behind Union lines as far as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. He used disguises, freque
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  • John Burke (spy)
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  • John Burke (1830 – January 18, 1871) was a Confederate Adjutant General of Texas and spy. He was born in Pennsylvania. He was left an orphan by age 11 and eventually he made his way to Texas. There he studied law at night and was a cobbler (shoemaker) by day. He was eventually admitted to the bar and took rank as a criminal lawyer along side his brother-in-law, Pendleton Murrah. He joined the Confederacy and was briefly a member of the famous Hood's Brigade until he became a scout. He served early in the war as a scout for P.G.T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston, and J.E.B. Stuart during Jackson's Valley Campaign in 1862. He rode with J. E. B. Stuart around McClellan's army in 1862. Burke traveled behind Union lines as far as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. He used disguises, frequently the uniform of a Union officer, and would change the color of his artificial eye. He was able to provide Lee with valuable information about Union forces and dispositions. Unfortunately, Captain John Burke never really kept a record of any field reconnaissance, but the information he gathered for the Confederacy was "said to have aided Beauregard and Johnston at Manassas." His most daring adventure came after he was apprehended in Philadelphia. He was placed under guard, in irons and handcuffs. As the train to Washington crossed a high trestle, he jumped into the river and made his way back to Lee. Fatigued by his exertions and now a colonel, Burke resigned and accepted appointment by Governor Murrah as adjutant general of Texas, effective November 1, 1864. General Lee wrote a letter thanking him for his services. Records of the adjutant general's office were lost in the Capitol fire of 1881, and little of Burke's service in that assignment is known. At the end of the war he joined Murrah in his flight to Mexico. After Murrah died, Burke returned to Marshall and resumed his law practice. Before the war, Burke married Jennie Taylor in 1855. They had two sons and a daughter, all of whom were born at John and Jennie Taylor Burke's plantation, Taylor Hall. After the war, Col. Burke emptied his plantation house of all finery as he had to burn it down. During reconstruction, the Yankees seized the plantations of high-ranking officers. Burke knew that being lynched for taking this step was the penalty according to the martial law. No one dared to reproach this dedicated man.His most famous case at the bar was his defense of prisoners held at Jefferson in the Stockade Case in 1869. Burke died at Jefferson on January 18, 1871, and is buried there.
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