At Upperville in 1863, Hamptons Brigade routed Judson Kilpatrick's Union
command. A Confederate trooper who saw Hampton lead the charge described
him as "a veritable God of war."
General M.C. Butler.
2nd S.C. Cavalry
"One of Hamptons most trusted men"
From the book
Butler and His Cavalry
War of Secession
South Carolina Regimentals Series (see command roster for Jim Fox)
Charge at Trevilian Station.
"Charge Them My Brave Boys, Charge Them."
He was a big man who inherited a big task. After General J.E.B. Stuart was
killed in battle in 1864, command of General Robert E. Lee's cavalry corps
was given to General Wade Hampton. Born into a distinguished South
Carolina family and descended from Revolutionary War patriots, Hampton
organized a cavalry force, Hampton's Legion, and outfitted them at his own
expense. He rose to brigadier quickly, was wounded at First Manassas,
Seven Pines and Gettysburg, and was promoted to major general in August of
A year later, after the death of Stuart, Hampton was given command of
the Army of Northern Virginia's cavalry corps. Almost immediately, he
engaged the enemy. In early June of 1864, General Philip Sheridan led
6,000 Federal cavalrymen on an expedition to destroy a vital section of
the Virginia Central Railroad. Just after daybreak on the morning of
June 11th, Hampton and 5,000 Confederate cavalrymen intercepted
Sheridan's force at Trevilian Station in Virginia. A fierce battle
erupted in dense woods, forcing the cavalrymen to fight on foot. In the
heat of the fight, however, Hampton seized the opportunity to mount a
charge against the Federals in a dusty clearing near the railroad.
"Charge them, my brave boys, charge them," he ordered, and courageously
led the attack atop his favorite mount, a big bay named "Butler."
Around him, the troops in gray and butternut surged toward the enemy
through a haze of smoke and dust. Bolstering Hampton's veterans was a
force of newly-arrived South Carolinians that included the Cadet
Rangers - Company F of the 6th South Carolina Cavalry - which had been
organized at the Citadel. Typically, Hampton led with his saber - then,
in hand-to-hand combat, switched to his revolver. Saddles were emptied
on both sides, and Hampton single-handedly took down three
adversaries. The battle shifted to other fields and continued the next
day. It was finally decided when a bold Confederate counterattack
shattered the Federal line. On June 13th, Sheridan and his troops
retreated without destroying the railroad. Hampton had driven back the
enemy - and had demonstrated his ability to assume J.E.B. Stuart's
mantle of leadership.
Print by Mort Kunstler, can by purchased at CSA Galleries.com in
Charleston S.C. Text by Rod Gragg Southern Communications
Lt. General Wade Hampton
2nd South Carolina Cavalry
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.
"Beaufort District Troop,
Major Dannie “Wildman” Gregory
The Man who started it all for Hampton Legion Re-enacting
Author and Publisher,
South Carolina Regimentals Series Books
Jim "JJ" Fox
9 Precipice Road
Camden, S.C. 29020
The Mounts of old stir up thoughts of a lasting and sometimes dying
partnership. Men who loved and cared for their mounts. A bond that
cannot be explained. A trust in one another throughout war and peace. You
think of names like "Arab" who had a book written about him and who rode
throughout the war with Hampton's man Prioleau Henderson. Of "Traveler"
who carried General Lee and was also written about. Of "Butler" General
Hampton's mount. And of "Roderick," General Forrest's mount who was
eulogized in poem. And many more.
Beloved mounts who littered the battlefields across the land as did there
riders. They gave all that they had. The did all they were asked. They
were hungry. They were cold. They bled and they died.
We remember them here now. Like our veteran fathers, we shall not forget.
We lift there names to life again and in doing so, simple honor is
"Three cheers for the Grand Ole Chargers"!