SEVEN GENERALS OF THE HAMPTON LEGION
Posted By : manager
Posted : January 30, 2024
By Compatriot Michael Thomas
South Carolina’s Hampton Legion was a premier unit of the Confederate army. Formed and personally outfitted by Wade Hampton, it consisted of a battalion of infantry, another of cavalry, and a 2-gun section of artillery. Though it never fought as a single unit, its men and officers provided splendid service throughout the war. Further, the Confederacy appointed seven generals from its ranks, more than from any other single unit on either side. A brief synopsis shows how much leadership talent was in the Legion.
Wade Hampton started the war as Colonel of the Legion and distinguished himself in every way possible throughout the war. Promoted to Brigadier-General of Infantry in May 1862, he was transferred at that rank to the cavalry a few months later. In August 1863, Hampton was promoted to Major-General and, following the death of JEB Stuart, commanded the cavalry corps of the Army of Northern Virginia in a splendid manner. Upon transfer to South Carolina in February 1865 to face Sherman’s advance, Hampton was promoted to Lt. General. Despite having no military experience of any sort before the war, Hampton emerged as one of the finest officers of the Confederacy. Stephen Dill Lee, an 1850 graduate of West Point, had service with the “Seven Generals”, Hampton Legion only briefly because General P.G.T Beauregard, who knew & favored him, offered him command of an artillery battery in Virginia. Lee went on to serve in infantry & cavalry commands making him a highly versatile officer. Promoted to Brigadier-General in 1862, Major-General in 1863, and Lt.-General in early 1865, he served in both the eastern and western theaters of war with much acclaim.
Matthew C. Butler was promoted to Captain in the Legion Cavalry in early 1862 and, when it was blended into the new 2nd SC Cavalry Regiment, he was appointed as its Colonel. Promoted to Brigadier-General in early 1864, he rose to Major-General later that same year. Butler distinguished himself as a solid officer at all levels.
Martin W. Gary began his service as a Captain in the Hampton Legion Infantry battalion and 1862 rose to Lt. Colonel in command followed by promotion to Colonel when the battalion was increased to a full regiment. In 1864, the Hampton Legion Infantry was redesignated the Hamp-ton Legion Cavalry and Gary was promoted to Brigadier-General. Gary’s wartime service was one showing much personal courage and strong leadership.
James Johnston Pettigrew, a North Carolina native, Pettigrew lived in Charleston from 1856 until the war began. Enlisting in the Legion he served as a Private before answering an offer to take command of the 12nd North Carolina Infantry in August 1861. Promoted to Brigadier-General in 1862, he served with distinction and courage. At Gettysburg, he led Heth’s Division in Pickett’s Charge. He died of wounds received several days later during the withdrawal to Virginia.
Thomas M. Logan was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in the Legion Infantry in 1861. He was noted for great leadership in many battles throughout the war. At Sharpsburg, he was cited for “great bravery”. Promotions to Major and Lt. Colonel followed quickly in late 1862. He received promotion to Colonel in May 1864 and Brigadier-general in early 1865. His service was highly creditable.
James Conner Serving as a Captain and Major in the Legion Infantry Battalion, Conner was appointed Colonel of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry regiment in 1862. He distinguished himself at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and was promoted to Brigadier-general in June 1864. His service, too often overlooked, is most admirable.