On the eve of the American Civil War, Wade Hampton, one of the wealthiest men in the South and indeed the United States, remained loyal to his native South Carolina as it seceded from the Union. Raising his namesake Hampton Legion of soldiers, he eventually became a lieutenant general of Confederate cavalry after the death of the legendary J. E. B. Stuart. Hamptons highly capable, but largely unheralded, military leadership has long needed a modern treatment. After the war, Hampton returned to South Carolina, where chaos and violence reigned as Northern carpetbaggers, newly freed slaves, and disenfranchised white Southerners battled for political control of the devastated economy. As Reconstruction collapsed, Hampton was elected governor in the contested election of 1876 in which both the governorship of South Carolina and the American presidency hung in the balance. While aspects of Hamptons rise to power remain controversial, under his leadership stability returned to state government and rampant corruption was brought under control. Hampton then served in the U.S. Senate from 1879 to 1891, eventually losing his seat to a henchman of notorious South Carolina governor Pitchfork Ben Tillman, whose blatantly segregationist grassroots politics would supplant Hamptons genteel paternalism. In Wade Hampton, Walter Brian Cisco provides a comprehensively researched, highly readable, and long-overdue treatment of a man whose military and political careers had a significant impact upon not only South Carolina, but America. Focusing on all aspects of Hamptons life, Cisco has written the definitive military-political overview of this fascinating man. Winner of the 2006 Douglas Southall Freeman Award.
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