Wade Hampton complains of state favoritism against his South Carolinian troops: "I am very tired of being a part of 'Stuart's Cavalry'"

    Confederate General Wade Hampton Autograph Letter Signed. Four pages of a bifolium, 5" x 7.5", Culpeper Court House [Virginia], February 16, 1863. General Wade complains to Colonel James Chesnut of "discrimination" favoring Lee's Virginia troops over his own South Carolinian troops. He consequently hopes to be removed from Jeb Stuart's Division. Very clear and bold ink. Age-toned paper. The letter reads in part:

    "As my brigade to [sic] about to be sent back to recruit I trouble you with some matters which I beg you to bring to the notice of the President should you ever have a good opportunity to do so. I do not like to complain but the partiality of Gen. Stuart to the Va. Brigade has well nigh broken my command down. We have been kept up here on the hardest duty when it was not our turn - while the Brigades of the two Lees have been doing little or nothing. In spite of my repeated requests that forage might be partially supplied to me by the R.R., on my assurance that this country could not support me, I have been ordered to subsist the command - men & horses - from this country. But as soon as Lee's Brigade comes to relieve me, a large supply of corn is sent to him by R.R. while his Division's Commissary was up here furnishing him with all necessary supplies. And I will venture to predict, that all his supplies for this Brigade will be sent to them by rail. This discrimination in favor of the Va. troops has injured my command very much & I am anxious to be removed from Stuart's Division. Indications seem to point to our country as the battle-field for some time to come & if the fight is to be here I desire greatly to participate in it."

    Hampton continues the letter, explaining why he and his men should be sent further south into the Carolinas and Georgia to face the enemy. "I think that I could organize the cavalry out there & make it effective," he reasons. He ends by explaining his purpose in writing this: "in the hope that you can by using them, get me transferred from the Va. Division. I have nothing to say against the Va. cavalry but I think they ought to serve together. Let their papers praise them as much as they choose, but for one, I am very tired of being a part of 'Stuart's Cavalry'. Do try to get us sent to the South."

    After a reorganization of General Lee's cavalry in 1862, Jeb Stuart chose Hampton to be his senior subordinate. As is obvious from this letter, Hampton disliked his new situation. It didn't last long, though. During the spring of 1864's Overland Campaign, Stuart died at the Battle of Yellow Tavern and Lee gave command of the Cavalry Corps to Hampton. He proved a wise choice, losing no cavalry battles for the rest of the war. James Chesnut served in the Confederate Congress from 1861-1862. His wife, however, is the best remembered member of the family: Mary Chesnut's diary described the war from the view of a wealthy South Carolina planter.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
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