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    Description

    Confederate Major General John Austin Wharton Ambrotype - Terry's Texas Rangers. Major General John Austin Wharton led Terry's Texas Rangers, the famed Confederate Cavalry regiment after the deaths of the regiment's former leaders, Colonel Benjamin F. Terry and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas S. Lubbock. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1828, Wharton moved to Texas at an early age and grew up on a plantation at Brazoria, Texas. From 1846 to 1850 he attended South Carolina College, now the University of South Carolina where he was commander of the student cadet corps. He returned to Texas and studied law under United States Senator William Preston and practiced law with Clint Terry, Benjamin F. Terry's brother at Brazoria. At the outbreak of the Civil War he owned 135 slaves in Brazoria County.

    This ambrotype of Wharton was taken early in the war and is the only one of him at this age known to exist. Hand-tinted in its copper frame and ½ of its original leather case, there is some fading at the face, but this is undoubtedly General Wharton early in the war. On June 23, 1861 Wharton traveled to Richmond, Virginia and met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis and James Longstreet seeking permission to organize a company of Texas cavalry. Reportedly, Davis did not give his permission and Wharton returned to Texas. He passed through New Orleans and it is believed that this is where this ambrotype was taken as the backdrop is typical of the photographs from that era and place. Leaving New Orleans on a ship named the Shark bound for Texas, Wharton was captured by Union troops aboard the USS South Carolina. He was permitted to travel on to Texas by Union Commander James Alden and undoubtedly saved this ambrotype through the capture.

    Back in Texas, Wharton was elected captain of the Terry's Ranger unit, formally known as the Eighth Texas Cavalry. After the Battle of Shiloh where he was wounded, he was promoted to Brigadier General. His bravery at the Battle of Chickamauga earned him his promotion to Major General. While visiting the command of General John B. Magruder at the Fannin Hotel in Houston, Wharton quarreled with fellow Confederate officer Colonel George W. Baylor over a personal matter. Reportedly Baylor shot the unarmed General Wharton with his revolver killing him instantly. Baylor was acquitted of the killing and went on to enjoy an illustrious career as a Texas Ranger.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    29th-30th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,343

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