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WADE HAMPTON, JOHN B. GORDON and ALEXANDER HASKELL With the results of the US Presidential election, and also the South Carolina gubernatorial election, undecided, Democrats (and former Confederate generals)

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With the results of the US Presidential election, and also the South Carolina gubernatorial election, undecided, Democrats (and former Confederate generals) Governor-elect Hampton, US Senator Gordon, and campaign manager Haskell write to General Thomas Ruger, commander of US troops in the State, condemning his interference in the meeting of what they consider the lawfully elected legislature. The former secessionists invoke the US Constitution and the bicentennial of American independence in support of their cause!
Collection includes: 1) Autograph Letter signed: "Wade Hampton", "J B Gordon", "A. C. Haskell", 4 pages, 8x12½. Columbia, South Carolina, 1876 November 30. To General T. H. Ruger, Commanding US Troops in South Carolina. In full: "We have just heard through Major McGinnis of your staff your orders communicated to Mr. Wallace, Speaker of the House of Representatives, that at 12 o'clock tomorrow no spectators would be allowed in the Hall and that the Members elect from Edgefield County would not be allowed upon the floor. To say that we are surprised at such an order after the explanations & pledges by you to each one of us, is to use very mild language. When the outrage of Tuesday was committed by the placing of armed sentinels at the door of the House of Representatives, who decided upon the admission of members to their seats, and when the provisions of the Constitution & the decision of the Supreme Court were brought to your attention, you distinctly and warmly asserted again & again that your orders were misunderstood. - that you had not intended to have sentinels at the door of the Hall & that you had not & did not assume to decide upon the legality of any supervisory control whatever over the body or bodies claiming to be the House of Representatives. All this occurred on yesterday. In a later interview last night with Senator Gordon you made the same explanations and this morning after both bodies were assembled in the Hall, you assured General Hampton that under no circumstances would you interfere except to keep the peace. What now can justly measure our astonishment at the issuance of such an order as the one just sent by you. There is no breach of the peace & no prospect of its disturbance. You had it officially brought to your knowledge that absolute good humor prevails in that Hall. We cannot refrain from expressing the apprehension that the fact that a number of leading Republicans are taking issue with the legality of the proceedings by the Republican House has changed your views as to your line of duty. It is proper that we should say in conclusion that we relied upon your honor as a man & your character as a soldier to maintain your pledged position of nonintervention. The Democratic members from Edgefield & Laurens are entitled to seats by the judgment of the Supreme Court of this State & we have advised them to remain in that Hall until removed by your troops, that the issue may be made in this Centennial year of American Independence whether we have a Government of Law as construed by Courts or a centralized despotism whose only Law is force. Let the American people behold the spectacle of a Brigadier General of the Army seated by the side of Gov. Chamberlain in a room of the State House issuing his orders to a Legislative Body peacefully assembled in one of the original Thirteen Commonwealths of this Union. Respectfully yours" 2) Autograph Letter signed: "A. C. Haskell", 1 page, 8x10. No place, 1876 November 30. To General [US Senator John] Gordon, in full: "The Members walked quietly into the Hall - and proceeded to business. Mackey has come in and announced his intention to oust Wallace from the chair. We have no idea yet of the cause - but you can give notice to Gen. Ruger. We ask nothing except the recognition of the fact that we are here peacefully and defenceless". 3) Autograph Letter signed: "Wade Hampton", 1 page, 7¾x10. Columbia, 1876 December 7. To General Ruger, in full: "I have just heard that the House of Reps have assembled a committee to call on you in reference to the House repairing to the Capital. With all deference to the House I beg to say that I regard such action as unnecessary at present. I wish to avoid all risk of a collision & our House can carry on its legislature in this Hall here occupied by them. I think I can assure you there is not the slightest apprehension of violence on our part. We have appealed to the Courts & we propose to abide by their decision. Very respectfully yours". Lieutenant General WADE HAMPTON III (1818-1902) served in the Confederate cavalry throughout the Civil War, participating in most of the battles of the Eastern Theater. Wounded five times, he assumed command of the Cavalry Corps after the death of General Stuart. He never lost a battle while in command. The South Carolinian entered politics after the war, serving as the Democratic Party's chairman, and actively opposing the Reconstruction policies of the Radical Republicans.When he challenged incumbent Republican Governor Daniel H. Chamberlain in the 1876 election, the outcome was disputed. Republicans and Democrats formed rival legislatures, each claiming legitimacy. This uncertainty was paralleled at the national level, where Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden were locked in a similar dispute, with 20 deciding votes in the Electoral College, including the 7 Electoral Votes of South Carolina, claimed by rival slates of Electors. The federal impasse was not resolved until March 2, 1877, two days before the inauguration, when a special Electoral Commission, voting 8-7 on strict Party lines, awarded all the EVs of Oregon, Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina to the Republicans, making Hayes the President by a margin of one vote, 185-184. The South Carolina result was the opposite. The South Carolina Supreme Court declared Hampton the winner, bringing an end to Reconstruction in the South. Most historians believe there was a grand bargain: Southern Democrats assented to the election of Hayes, in exchange for an implied promise to withdraw federal troops from the South. Hampton went on to serve as Governor (1877-1879), US Senator (1879-1891), and US Railroad Commissioner. Confederate Major General JOHN B. GORDON (1832-1904) served four years as a division commander - and ultimately a corps commander, under General Robert E. Lee in Virginia, fighting under his command from The Peninsula campaign to Appomattox, suffering five disfiguring wounds while bravely fiercely defending "the Bloody Lane" at Antietam. He served as a Democrat in the Senate representing Georgia from 1873-1880 and 1891-1897. From 1886-1890, he was Governor of Georgia.ALEXANDER C. HASKELL (1839-1910) also served throughout the Civil War, and was in command of General Robert E. Lee's cavalry during the surrender at Appomattox. He chaired the South Carolina Democratic Party during Hampton's run for governor, and was rewarded with a seat on the State Supreme Court. A document of great historical significance! Three items.

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