John Austin Wharton

Major General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Gabriel Colvin Wharton was born on July 23, 1824, in Culpeper County, Virginia. He was graduated second in the class of 1847 at the Virginia Military Institute. (523) He then took up the profession of civil engineering and spent a number of years before the Civil War in Arizona, where he had mining interests. Elected major of the 45th Virginia Infantry in July 1861, he became colonel of the 51st Virginia the following month. He led this regiment in General John B. Floyd's Western Virginia campaign of that summer and fall. Escaping with Floyd from Fort Donelson in February 1862, he was transferred east. He served under Generals Loring and Samuel Jones, again in the western part of Virginia, and was promoted to brigadier general from July 8, 1863. He was in temporary command of the Valley District, and was with General Longstreet in East Tennessee in the winter and spring of 1863-64. He commanded his brigade at New Market and in the pursuit of Hunter; and also fought with it under General Early in the Shenandoah campaign and in the raid on Washington. His command was overwhelmed and dispersed at Waynesboro in March 1865. He was finally paroled at Lynchburg on June 21. At the close of the war General Wharton took up residence in Radford, Virginia, where he lived for more than forty years. Elected several times to the state senate, he devoted much time to the development of mining in the state, and died in Radford on May 12, 1906. He is buried there in the family cemetery.

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