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About Brig. General James Conner (CSA)
James Conner (September 1, 1829 – June 26, 1883), was a Confederate States Army brigadier general during the American Civil War (Civil War). He was a lawyer in South Carolina both before and after the war and was elected State attorney general of South Carolina in 1876.
James Conner was born on September 1, 1829 in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from South Carolina College in 1849, he studied law and practiced law in Charleston. In 1856, he was appointed United States district attorney and served in this office until 1860. Conner authored The History of a Suit at Law (1857). Conner prosecuted the famous case against the slave ship Echo. He also prosecuted a member of William Walker's filibustering effort. Conner was a secessionist and supported the calling of a secessionist convention. Although he was a member of the convention, he did not vote on the ordinance of secession.
American Civil War
James Conner participated in the bombardment of Fort Sumter as captain of the Montgomery Guards, a South Carolina militia unit. At the beginning of the Civil War, Conner declined appointment as a district attorney for the Confederacy. Instead, he became a captain in the Hampton Legion and fought at the Battle of First Bull Run (First Manassas), taking temporary command of the legion after Colonel Wade Hampton was wounded. On July 21, 1861, he was appointed major of Hampton's Legion. After the Battle of Seven Pines during the Peninsula Campaign, he took command of the 22nd North Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment. During the Seven Days Battles, his leg was broken by a rifle ball during the Battle of Gaines Mill. After a two-month recovery period, he returned to lead his regiment at the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Gettysburg.
He resigned his command on August 13, 1863 and became a member of the military court of the 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Returning to field command in 1864, Conner was promoted to brigadier general on June 1, 1864. Conner temporarily commanded the brigades of Brigadier Generals Samuel McGowan and James H. Lane consecutively during the opening months of the Siege of Petersburg. Then he led Major General John B, Kershaw's former brigade during the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of 1864. Six days before the main battle, Conner was severely wounded during a skirmish at Cedar Creek (Fisher's Hill) and he lost a leg to amputation. This effectively ended his Confederate States Army field service, although his service record shows an assignment to General Joseph E. Johnston's command on February 25, 1865. There is no record of his parole.
After the Civil War, James Conner returned to his law practice in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1876, he was elected attorney general of South Carolina. In that office, Conner was able to obtain judicial confirmation of the election of former Confederate Major General Wade Hampton as governor of the state.
James Conner died in Richmond, Virginia on June 26, 1883. He is buried in Magnolia Cemetery (Charleston, South Carolina). The Letters of General James Conner, C.S.A. was published posthumously in 1933.