Formed in 1861 by its namesake, Wade Hampton III, the largest landowner in all South Carolina and the grandson of reputedly the richest planter in the nation, the Legion joined the Confederate States service with units of artillery, infantry and cavalry, some of the cream of Palmetto society. Although opposed to secession prior to the war, once South Carolina Seceded and war was inevitable, Hampton used his own fortune to raise and equip the Legion to support his state and the new Confederate Government.
His bearing was distinctly military, but without pompousness or egotism. His dark hair and beard matched his eyes, which flashed nervously to all sides. He personally led his legion as perhaps the South's foremost example of dilettante, playing soldier and destined to become remarkably good at it.
The original Hampton Legion was unique in that it had the three main branches of the army; cavalry, infantry and artillery.
With the re-organization of the Confederate Army in 1862, the Legion was broken up and assigned to other units. The infantry was transferred to John B. Hood's Texas Brigade. The legion infantry saw severe service throughout the war, particularly at Sharpsburg were most of its original members were killed or wounded.
The Cavalry went to J.E.B. Stuart as the 2nd S.C. Cavalry where it served with distinction throughout the war. Hampton took over command of the Confederate Cavalry in 1864 following Stuart's death.
The artillery portion of the Legion was converted to horse artillery, (all members mounted), and fought with the cavalry throughout the remainder of the war. During this time it came to be known as Hart's Battery, named after it's commander, James F. Hart.
During the war, the Legion
produced 43 general officers, 4 of which would one day become Generals.
Information appears here courtesy of Terry M. Gatch at