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Wade Hampton

Hampton, Wade, 1818–1902, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. Charleston, S.C.; grandson of Wade Hampton (c.1752–1835). Hampton, a wealthy planter, served (1852–61) in the South Carolina legislature. In the Civil War he raised Hampton's Legion, which he led at the first battle of Bull Run. He commanded an infantry brigade in the Peninsular campaign, being made a brigadier general in May, 1862, but in July was given a brigade in the cavalry. He was active in most of Jeb Stuart's operations (1862–64) and upon Stuart's death in 1864 succeeded to the command of the cavalry corps. He took part in the fighting around Richmond and Petersburg and later with part of his force was engaged in covering Joseph E. Johnston's army until the surrender to General Sherman in Apr., 1865. He had been promoted lieutenant general in Feb., 1865. In the election of 1876, the Democrats of South Carolina were led to victory by Hampton, their candidate for governor. Daniel H. Chamberlain, the carpetbagger incumbent, disputed the result, but when federal troops were withdrawn (Apr., 1877), he had no support. More for this political triumph, which restored home rule, than for his military prowess Hampton is considered a state hero. He was reelected as governor in 1878 and in 1879 became a U.S. Senator. Hampton remained the dominant figure in South Carolina politics until 1890, when Benjamin Tillman led a successful revolt against Hampton's rule, and Hampton lost his Senate seat. He was (1893–99) commissioner of Pacific railroads.

See E. L. Wells, Hampton and His Cavalry (1899) and Hampton and Reconstruction (1907); A. B. Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts (1935, repr. 1970); M. W. Wellman, Giant in Gray (1949); H. M. Jarrell, Wade Hampton and the Negro (1949, repr. 1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies


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