Henry Alexander Wise
(1806-1876)

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

Henry Alexander Wise was born on December 3, 1806, at Drummondtown, Virginia. He was graduated at Washington College, Pennsylvania, in 1825; and three years later opened a law office in Nashville, Tennessee, where he practiced for a time before returning to Virginia in 1830. An aggressive champion of states' rights, he was elected to Congress in 1833 as a Jacksonian Democrat, but later turned Whig and supported the Harrison - Tyler ticket of 1840. He declined the navy portfolio proffered him by President Tyler and was rejected by the Senate as minister to France, but lie was from 1844 to 1847 minister to Brazil. Again becoming a Democrat, he supported both Pierce and Buchanan, and from 1856 to 1860 was governor of Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War, although past middle age and totally without military training, he volunteered and was appointed a brigadier general on June 5, 1861. At the head of the Wise Legion and other troops, he fought in the West Virginia campaign under Robert E. Lee; again in North Carolina; under Beauregard in the defense of Charleston; and in Florida. From May 1864 to the end he was on the Petersburg lines, at Drewry's Bluff, and in Richard H. Anderson's corps in the defense of Richmond. The day following the battle of Sayler's Creek and two days prior to the surrender at Appomattox, General Lee placed Wise in divisional command, although he was never formally appointed major general. After the war he practiced law in Richmond and wrote Seven Decades of the Union, which he published in 1872. Never seeking amnesty or the restoration of his civil rights, he died at Richmond on September 12, 1876, and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery. His brother-in-law was Major General George Gordon Meade, U. S. A., the Union hero of Gettysburg.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.