Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HAMPTON, Wade, soldier, born in South Carolina in 1754; died in Columbia, South Carolina, 4 February, 1835. He served with distinction in the Revolution under Marion and Sumter, and after the war was in congress in 1795-'7. He was a presidential elector in 1801, and in 1803-'5 served again in congress, having been elected as a Democrat. He was made a colonel in the United States army in 1808, placed in command of one of the regiments that had been raised in apprehension of war with England, and in February, 1809, was promoted to brigadier-general, and stationed at New Orleans. In consequence of continual disagreements with his subordinates he was superseded by General James Wilkinson in 1812, and during the war with England commanded a force on the northern frontier, having been given a major-general's commission on 2 March, 1813. On 26 October, 1813, at Chateaugay, he attacked Sir George Prevost, who repelled him with an inferior force. He afterward frustrated the attempt on Montreal by his unwillingness to co-operate with his old rival, General Wilkinson. He resigned his commission on 6 April, 1814, and returned to South Carolina. He acquired a large fortune by land speculations, and at his death was supposed to be the wealthiest planter in the United States, owning 3,000 slaves. General Hampton was a fair example of the old-fashioned slave-holding oligarchs, being of a high, proud, stern, and inflexible character, and ably administering his large estate.--His son, Wade, born 21 April, 1791; died on a plantation near Mississippi river, 10 February, 1858, became lieutenant of dragoons in 1811, and was acting inspector-general and aide to General Jackson at New Orleans in January, 1815. He succeeded to his father's estates. His home at Columbia, South Carolina, was famous for its beauty and elegance, and the grounds were improved at a cost of 860,000, a large sum for that time. His sisters married General John S. Preston and Governor Richard Manning.--Wade, son of the second Wade, born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1818, was graduated at the University of South Carolina, and afterward studied law, but without the intention of practising. Under his father's training he became a good horseman, a famous hunter, and an accomplished fisherman. He served in the legislature of South Carolina in early life, but his political views were those of a Democrat of a national, rattler than a secession, tendency, and were not popular in his state. His speech against the reopening of the slave-trade was called by the New York "Tribune" "a masterpiece of loaic, directed by the noblest sentiments of the Christian and patriot." His earlier life was, however, devoted to his plantation interests in South Carolina and Mississippi, and to the pursuits of a man of fortune. When the civil war began, Hampton first enlisted as a private, but soon raised a command of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, which was known as "Hampton's Legion," and won distinction in the war. At Bull Run 600 of his infantry held for some time the Warrenton road against Keyes's corps, and were sustaining Bee when Jackson came to their aid. In the peninsular campaign they were again distinguished, and at Seven Pines lost half their number, and Hampton himself received a painful wound in the foot. Soon afterward he was made brigadier-general of cavalry, and assigned to General J. E. B. Stuart's command. He was frequently selected for detached service, in which he was uncommonly successful. In the Maryland and Pennsylvania campaigns of 1862--'3 Hampton was actively engaged, and he distinguished himself at Gettysburg, receiving three wounds. It is said that twenty-one out of twenty-three field officers and more than half the men in Hampton's command were killed or wounded in this battle. Hampton was made a major-general, with rank from 3 August, 1863. In 1864, after several days' fighting, he gave Sheridan a check at Trevillian's Station, which broke up a plan of campaign that included a junction with Hunter and the capture of Lynchburg. In twenty-three days he captured over 3,000 prisoners and much material of war, with a loss of 719 men. He was made commander of Lee's cavalry in August, with the rank of lieutenant-general, and in September struck the rear of the National army at City Point, bringing away 400 prisoners and 2,486 beeves. Soon afterward, in another action, he captured 500 prisoners. In one of these attacks he lost his son in battle. Hampton was then detached to take command of General Joseph E. Johnston's cavalry, and did what he could to arrest the advance of Sherman's army northward from Savannah in the spring of 1865. After the unfortunate burning of Columbia, South Carolina, on its evacuation by the Confederates, a sharp discussion arose between General Hampton and General Sherman, each charging the other with the wilful destruction of the city. After the war he at once engaged in cotton planting, but was not successful. He accepted from the first all the legitimate consequences of defeat, an entire submission to the law, and the civil and political equality of the negro; but he has steadily defended the motives and conduct of his people and their leaders. In 1866, speaking of the negro, he said: "As a slave, he was faithful to us; as a free man, let us treat him as a friend. Deal with him frankly, justly, kindly." During the reconstruction period Hampton's conciliatory policy found little favor for some time, but in 1876 he was nominated for governor against Daniel II. Chamberlain. Each claimed to be elected, and two governments were organized, but Mr. Chamberlain finally yielded his claims. (See CHAMBERLAIN, DANIEL H.) In 1878 he met with an accident by which he lost a leg: but, while his life was despaired of, he was elected to the United States senate, where he is still serving (1887). In the senate his course has been that of a conservative Democrat. He has advocated a sound currency, resisting all inflation, and has generally acted in concert with Thomas A. Bayard, whose aspirations for the presidency he has supported. General Hampton married in early life Margaret Preston, youngest daughter of General Francis Preston. His second wife was the daughter of Senator George McDuffie, of South Carolina.
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