Born in 1818 in South Carolina, Wade Hampton was the son of wealthy planters. He ran his plantations in South Carolina and the lower Mississippi Valley and held several public offices before the war. At the start of the war he personally raised and mostly equipped the Hampton Legion, a force of infantry, cavalry and artillery. Hampton fought at First Manassas and participated in the Peninsula, Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns. The last two as a cavalry commander. In September 1863 he became a major general and with Gen. Jeb Stuart's (CSA) death in May, 1864 he takes command of the cavalry corps during the siege.
During the siege of Petersburg he was involved in the Beefsteak Raid, Reams Station and Burgess Mill.
He was twice elected governor of South Carolina after the war and served as a U.S. Senator until 1891.