Wade Hampton

Cavalry Commander

Monument: 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

Wade Hampton was born in Charleston, South Carolina, March 28, 1818, and was graduated from South Carolina College in 1836. He later served in both houses of the South Carolina legislature (1852-61). In 1861 he was reputed to be the largest landowner in the South. Organizing the Hampton Legion, of which he became colonel, and equipping it at his own expense, he took it to Virginia in time to participate in the battle of First Manassas, where he was wounded. He commanded an infantry brigade in the Peninsular campaign, and was appointed brigadier general on May 23, 1862. In July he assumed command of a brigade of J. E. B. Stuart's Cavalry Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and participated in most of Stuart's operations from 1862 to 1864. He was again severely wounded at Gettysburg, and was promoted major general to rank from August 3, 1863. After the death of Stuart at Yellow Tavern, Hampton succeeded to command of the Corps. Though his resources were steadily diminishing, he performed brilliantly in keeping the Federal cavalry around Richmond and Petersburg at bay until winter. In January 1865 he was ordered, with part of his force, to J. E. Johnston in the Carolinas, where he remained until the surrender to Sherman. Hampton was promoted to lieutenant general on February 15, 1865 to rank from February 14. After the war he was instrumental in reclaiming his state from the Reconstruction regime. He was elected governor in 1876 over the carpetbagger D. H. Chamberlain, then in office. He was re-elected in 1878, and served as United States Senator from 1879 to 1891, in which year he finally yielded his domination of South Carolina politics to "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman. Subsequently he was for five years commissioner of Pacific Railways (1893-99). He died at Columbia, South Carolina, April 11, 1902, and is buried there. General Hampton was one of three civilians without formal military training to attain the rank of lieutenant general in Confederate service; the other two were Richard Taylor and Bedford Forrest.

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