James Conner was born at Charleston, South Carolina, September 1, 1829, and was graduated from South Carolina College at the age of twenty. He entered the legal profession, in which he soon attained distinction, and was made United States district attorney in 1856. In this office he prosecuted the celebrated case of the slave ship Echo. Entering Confederate service as a captain in the Hampton Legion, Conner was present at First Manassas, becoming colonel of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry immediately after the battle of Seven Pines, a regiment with which he served until his promotion to brigadier general on June 1, 1864. At Gaines's Mill, during the battles of the Seven Days, his leg was broken by a rifle ball, a wound which kept him from duty for two months. After temporarily commanding successively Generals McGowan's and Lane's brigades, he was assigned to General Kershaw's, which he led in the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1864 until the amputation of his leg, resulting from a wound received in a skirmish at Cedar Creek on October 13. Resuming his law practice after the close of the war, General Conner was elected attorney general of South Carolina in 1876, after which he established the legality of the election of General Wade Hampton as governor of the state. He died in Richmond, Virginia, June 26, 1883, and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.
Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.