The Legion Branch Commanders 2010-2011 from left to right: 1st SGT. KEVIN RORER (Infantry), CPT. DAN PATTERSON (Artillery), CPT. MIKE LOOPER (Infantry), General Wade Hampton, MAJ. DANNY GREGORY (Cavalry), PVT DJ GREGORY (Cavalry), SGT MAJOR TERRY GATCH (Cavalry)
The Hampton Legion
At the outbreak of the War Between the States, Wade Hampton, a cotton planter, member of the South Carolina Senate, and one of the wealthiest men in America. Hampton was not a secessionist and while serving in the senate he had often spoken in favor of the Union and moderation. With the reality of secession, he felt that South Carolina needed all her sons and offered to enlist as a private in the service of his native state. Francis Picken, then governor, recognized Hampton's worth. His social, political, leadership and administration skills derived from years of managing plantations could be used to a better advantage.
Governor Pickens secured for him a colonels commission and directed that he raise his own command. Hampton readily accepted the appointment and resigned from the senate to devote his energies to recruiting his Legion.
On May 3, 1861 he published a call for 10,000 volunteers in the Charleston Courier to be organized into a "Legion" of all arms: infantry, cavalry and artillery. Hampton had to ask but once. His call to arms brought forth a number of units already organized, boasting some of the best blood in the state. With more men answering the call then expected Hampton was able to select only the best for the Legion and through using his own money was able to help pay for the weapons and accoutrements of war for his men.
The Legion moved to Columbia and was formerly inspected and mustered into the service of the Confederate States of America. At the end of June the Legion moved to Richmond, Virginia where they went into camp at "The Rocketts" a flat on the James River.
The cavalry and artillery missed the the Battle of 1st Manassas due to the late arrival of the cavalry's horses and the artillery's cannons. The Legion Infantry however was heavily engaged and lost 35 killed and over 100 wounded. Following 1st Manassas the Legion was moved to an area around Pohick Church, VA. The cavalry was placed at picket posts and Hampton used them to aggressively engage Federal scouts, reconnaissance forces and in conjunction with the Infantry, to ambush larger Federal forces caught advancing into Virginia. The Legion artillery was not idle during this time either, they were assigned to help blockade the Potomac River and got their first taste of action against a fleet of seven Federal gunboats at Freestone Point, VA, an engagment which resulted in one sunken Federal gunboat and severly damaging two others.
In April 1862 while the Legion was encamped near Yorktown, VA the army underwent a re-organization. The Legion was broken up into three parts. The Cavalry commanded by Butler would be attached to Rosser Cavalry Brigade, Hampton would command the Infantry which was attached to General Hoods Texas Brigade and Hart's Battery would be attached to Stuart's horse artillery.
Despite being divided and the Legion disbanded these men from the Palmetto State, would always think of themselves first and foremost as part of Hampton's Legion just as the reenactors of the individual branches of Hampton's Legion do today.
WE ARE THE LEGION.
Hampton Legion today...
In 1989, The Hampton Legion, a reenactment group of cavalry was formed to honor the original Hampton's Legion, formed in 1861 during the War Between the States by Wade Hampton to fight for the Confederacy and South Carolina. Made up of men and women from South Carolina and North Carolina, the Legion reenactment group is dedicated to personal enrichment through the study of history and participation in living history.
Some Questions and Answers about the Legion:
Who is in the Legion?
-Many of our members have ancestors who fought in the War Between the States. We even have a few members whose ancestors choose to fight on the "wrong" side. Our members are from all walks of life, ages and gender. They all share a love for history and a deep respect for the past and the heritage of our region and country. Reenacting in the Legion is a family affair.
What is the purpose of Reenacting?
-First of all, we do not want to re-fight the war. Through reenacting, we can learn and depict how the soldiers and civilians of the time lived. Through living history, we are able to learn and feel things we cannot get from reading alone. Through reenacting we want to insure that the sacrifices of the men and women who lived through the war are not lost in time. We learn to respect our past and those who were a part of it. In addition, we have lots of fun!
What is a reenactment?
-Reenactments are living history that is presented to the public. Reenactors try to faithfully reproduce the way people lived and fought during the War Between the States. Reenactments may be small, involving only a few re enactors, or they may be massive. Re enactors portray both Confederate and Federal units and use the same tactics of the time. Reenactments take place all over the United States and in some foreign countries.
How much does reenacting cost?
-Let's be honest, reenacting is not a cheap hobby. Re enactors pay for their own uniforms, reproduction weapons, accouterments, tents and camp gear. In addition, they must pay their own travel expenses and incidentals. While not a cheap hobby or passion, it brings great satisfaction to its members.
http://www.hamptons-legion.de/news.php (This is The Hampton Legion in Germany)
English reenacting friends: http://www.soskan.co.uk/ This is the South Skirmish Association in England.
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