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FEATURES: CIVIL WAR UNITS: Hampton's Legion (2nd South Carolina Cavalry, CSA) [BACK]

Lt. General Wade Hampton
Hampton Legion
2nd South Carolina Cavalry
1861-1865

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.




Wade Hampton 1818-1902

Given by South Carolina to the National Statuary Hall Collection. Marble by Frederic W. Ruckstull. Given in 1929; located in House connecting corridor, 2d floor.

Wade Hampton (1818-1902)
Confederate Lieutenant General; U.S. Senator; South Carolina Governor and South Carolina Senator

Wade Hampton was born in Charleston on March 28, 1818. He was a member of one of the richest families in the antebellum South. He owned and operated many plantations in Mississippi and South Carolina.

Hampton served in the General Assembly as a Representative from 1852-1857 and a Senator from 1858-1861. He resigned from the Senate to accept a colonel's commission in the Confederate Army. He received many promotions, rising to Lieutenant General in 1865, a rank achieved by only one other Southern cavalry officer. Hampton evacuated Columbia in 1865 when General Sherman entered the city.

In the 1876 elections for Governor, Hampton defeated Daniel Chamberlain by 1,134 votes. However, a conflict arose between the Democrats and the Republicans and Chamberlain protested the results. Chamberlain took the oath of office but the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hampton. Hampton was barred from the Statehouse by federal troops until April 10, 1877.

Hampton was reelected in 1878 as Governor. He resigned to become a United States Senator and served two terms.

Hampton married Frances Smith Preston and they had 5 children. When she died, he married Mary Singleton McDuffie and had 4 more children.



Information appears here courtesy of Terry M. Gatch at tgatch@lowcountry.com.



FEATURES: CIVIL WAR UNITS: Hampton's Legion (2nd South Carolina Cavalry, CSA) [BACK]



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