Confederate Hampton's Legion

  • American Civil War
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Of all The American Confederate Legions raised to fight in The Civil War of 1861, ''Hampton's Legion'' is perhaps the most well known and famous. Raised in South Carolina in 1861, it fought (in a number of guises), throughout the entirety of The War. The Legion was a self contained Military organization formed by wealthy South Carolina Plantation Owner Wade Hampton. It originally consisted of (6) Companies of Infantry, (2) Troops of Cavalry and One Light Artillery Battery.

 

Numbers for The Legion were roughly 1,100 Officers and Men. Each Company was noted for it's ''spectacular and bright'' Uniforms. These ranged from the jaunty Zouave Uniform to those of richly embroidered and embellished Cavalry ones. No expense was spared by Hampton (who even had previously imported (6) expensive Blakely Cannon from England to outfight his Light Artillery. Hampton held the Rank of Lt.-General in The Confederate Army. Yet, he was still seen as a ''Political Officer'', having been deeply involved in State Government before The War, with no real Military training or experience. However, he attracted several of The South's most skilled Infantry Officers as well as Cavalrymen.

 

The Legion was deployed with General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia Cavalry Corps. In early 1862. He was eventually placed under famed Confederate Cavalier JEB Stuart who trained Hampton to be an effective Cavalryman. Elements of The Legion fought with distinction at The Seven Days Battle, Chancellorsville and others. Hampton's Legion was not present at Gettysburg in 1863. At The Battle of Yellow Tavern (Virginia 1864), The Corps. - and, with a flair typical of a Southern Cavalry Officer. Led a Charge straight into a Federal troop. Hampton was wounded several times (saber cuts), but remained in his saddle, leading his troops from the field in ''good order''.

 

Perhaps the most famous exploits of The Legion was The ''Beefsteak Raid''. With Lee's Army starving in 1864, scouts had learned of a large train shipment and storage of 2,400 cattle, for Federal soldiers stationed in the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia. In a daring daylight raid, Hampton's troopers cut out the 2,400 cattle from Union control and delivered them to Lee (much to the utter disgust and anger of Federal General US Grant). Surrendering in 1865, Hampton would go on to help re-establish a Federal Government in South Carolina, but was a staunch ''Lost Cause'' Supporter. He resented The Freedman's Bureau (established by The Emancipation Proclamation), and worked to undo many Laws seen as helping African-Americans struggling to establish themselves and their culture in The South. He is seen as a ''Hero'' in The South and a ''Racist'' in The North.

 

The Legion used a variety of Flags. From The Army of Northern Virginia ''Battle Flag'' to many different Company Banners (all varied and embellished), the primary Flag carried by The Legion Cavalry was a Red Field version of The South Carolina State Flag. Set upon an entire Red Field was a White Palm with a White Quartered Moon set in the Upper Left Canton (The traditional state Flag was and still is Blue).