Henry Alexander Wise (1806 - 1876) MP

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Birthplace: Drummondtown Road, 6, Accomack, VA, USA
Death: Died in Richmond, VA, USA
Occupation: Statesman and Governor of VA, 33rd Gov. of Virginia, and Gen. in the Confederate States during Civil War, Minister to Brazil/Governor of VA / CSA Brig.General
Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Henry Alexander Wise

Henry Alexander Wise (December 3, 1806 – September 12, 1876) was a United States Congressman and governor of Virginia, as well as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He served as US minister to Brazil from 1843–1847, during the administration of President John Tyler.

Early life

Wise was born in Drummondtown, Accomack County, Virginia, to Major John Wise and his second wife Sarah Corbin Cropper, whose families had long been settled there. Wise was of English and Scottish descent. He was privately tutored until his twelfth year, when he entered Margaret Academy, near Pungoteague in Accomack County. He graduated from Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1825. He was a member of the Union Literary Society at Washington College.

After attending Henry St. George Tucker's Winchester Law School, Wise was admitted to the bar in 1828. He settled in Nashville, Tennessee, in the same year to start a practice but returned to Accomack County in 1830.

Marriage and family

Wise was married three times, first in 1828 to Anne Jennings, the daughter of Rev. Obadiah Jennings and Ann Wilson of Washington, Pennsylvania. Anne died in 1837, leaving Henry with four children: two sons and two daughters. A fifth child died with her in a fire.

Wise married a second time in November 1840, to Sarah Sergeant, the daughter of Whig U.S. Congressman John Sergeant and Margaretta Watmough of Philadelphia. In nineteen years of marriage with two wives, Wise fathered fourteen children; seven survived to adulthood. Sarah gave birth to at least five children. She died of complications, along with her last child, soon after its birth on October 14, 1850.

Henry married a third time to Mary Elizabeth Lyons in 1853. After serving as governor, Wise settled with Mary and his younger children in 1860 at Rolleston, an 884-acre (3.58 km2) plantation which he bought from his brother John Cropper Wise, who also continued to live there. It was located on the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia. It had first been developed by William and Susannah Moseley, English immigrants who settled there in 1649.

After Wise entered Confederate service, he and his family abandoned Rolleston in 1862 as Union troops were taking over Norfolk. Wise arranged for residence for his family in Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia. After the Civil War, Henry and Mary Wise lived in Richmond, where he resumed his law career.

Political career

Henry A. Wise served in the United States Congress from 1833 to 1844. He was elected to Congress in 1832 as a Jacksonian Democrat. On the question of the rechartering of the United States Bank he broke with the Jackson administration, and became a Whig, but was sustained by his constituents. After his first election in 1832, he fought a duel with his competitor for the seat in Congress. Wise was reelected to Congress as a Whig in 1837, serving till 1841, and was reelected as a Tyler Democrat in 1843.

In 1840 Wise was active in securing the election of John Tyler as Vice President. After succeeding to the presidency, Tyler appointed Wise as United States minister to Brazil from 1844 to 1847. Two of his children were born in Rio de Janeiro. In Brazil, Wise worked on issues related to trade and tariffs, trying to ameliorate Brazilian concerns about the US annexation of Texas, and working toward establishing diplomatic relations with Paraguay.

After his return to the United States, Wise identified with the Democratic Party. In 1855, he was elected governor of Virginia over the Know Nothing candidate. Wise supported the annexation of Texas by the United States and Wise County, Texas, was named in his honor. In the statewide election of 1855, Wise defeated Thomas S. Flournoy and subsequently served as the 33rd Governor of Virginia from 1856 to 1860. Wise County, Virginia, was named after him when it was established in 1856. One of his last official acts as Governor was to sign the death warrant of John Brown.

As a member of the Virginia secession convention of 1861, Wise supported immediate secession. On April 17, with delegates debating secession, Wise declared that he had ordered Virginia militiamen to seize Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Norfolk’s Gosport Naval Yards. Wise had forced the issue and Virginia seceded from the Union. He joined the Confederate army and was commissioned as a brigadier general.

Military career

Gen. Wise during the American Civil War.

Wise served as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He commanded the District of Roanoke Island during the Battle of Roanoke Island. His part in the decision to cede the island when faced with much greater Union forces drew the ire of some of the Confederate government leadership.

His forces were attached to the division of Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes during the Seven Days Battles. For the rest of 1862 and 1863, he held various commands in North Carolina and Virginia.

In 1864 Wise commanded a brigade in the Department of North Carolina & Southern Virginia. His brigade defended Petersburg and was credited with saving the city at the First Battle of Petersburg and to an extent at the Second Battle of Petersburg. Wise commanded a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia during the final stages of the Siege of Petersburg. He was promoted to the rank of major general after the Battle of Sayler's Creek. He was with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, where he fought bravely but urged Lee to surrender.

He was the brother-in-law of Union Maj. Gen. George G. Meade.

Postbellum activities

After the war Wise resumed his law practice in Richmond, and settled there for the rest of his life. In 1865 he was unable to reclaim Rolleston, his plantation outside Norfolk, before he received pardon from the president. He had abandoned the residence when he moved his family to another residence at Rocky Mount, Virginia.

As recounted in an exchange of letters published in the New York Times, Maj. Gen. Terry of the U.S. command in the Norfolk area did not permit Wise to reclaim the Rolleston property. Terry stated that under post-war conditions of parole for Confederate officers, Wise had claim only to the Rocky Mount property, where he and his family were living when he went to war. The Freedman's Bureau adapted Rolleston Hall and other plantations in the Norfolk area as schools for the newly emancipated slaves and their children. Two hundred freedmen were said to be taking classes at Rolleston.

Along with working at his law career, Wise wrote a book based on his public service, entitled Seven Decades of the Union (1872). His two surviving sons were both active in state and Federal politics.

His younger son John Sergeant Wise wrote a memoir entitled The End of an Era, (1899), reprinted in numerous editions since its first publication. John Wise was fourteen in the summer of 1860 and served in the Confederate Army late in the war. He wrote about his own memories of Rolleston, a childhood slave companion and friend, and the war years, as well as about his father's role and their family members. In addition, Henry A. Wise's grandson Barton Haxall Wise wrote a biography of the former governor entitled The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia (New York, 1899).

The older son, Richard A. Wise, was a student at the College of William and Mary when the war began in 1861. During the war, he served with J. E. B. Stuart and later as aide-de-camp to his father during the Battle of Roanoke Island. After the war, he earned his MD degree at the Medical College of Virginia in 1869. He served as a professor of chemistry at William and Mary (1869–1878). In 1871 he helped reorganize a volunteer militia for the city of Williamsburg and James City County, Virginia, which he commanded. Known as the Wise Light Infantry, the unit continued at least through 1885, when it appeared during the inaugural festivities of President Grover Cleveland in Washington.

Richard A. Wise later served in politics like his father: he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates (1885–1887); served as clerk of the court of Williamsburg and James City County, 1888–1894; and was elected as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, serving April 26, 1898 to March 3, 1899 and again March 12, 1900 until his death on December 21, 1900.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=103992731&ref=wvr -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wise

Henry Alexander Wise (December 3, 1806 – September 12, 1876) was an American statesman from Virginia, as well as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Contents

   * 1 Early life
   * 2 Marriage and family
   * 3 Political career
   * 4 Military career
   * 5 Postbellum activities
   * 6 Notes
   * 7 References
   * 8 External links

Early life Wise was born in Drummondtown, Accomack County, Virginia, to Major John Wise and his second wife Sarah Corbin Cropper, whose families had been long settled there. He was privately tutored until his twelfth year and then entered Margaret Academy, near Pungoteague in Accomack County. He graduated from Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1825. He was a member of the Union Literary Society at Washington College. Wise was admitted to the bar in 1828, and settled in Nashville, Tennessee, in the same year, but returned to Accomack County in 1830.

Marriage and family Wise was married three times, first in 1828 to Anne Jennings, the daughter of Rev. Obadiah Jennings and Ann Wilson of Washington, Pennsylvania. Anne died in 1837, leaving Henry with four children: two sons and two daughters. A fifth child died with her in a fire.

Wise was married a second time in November 1840, to Sarah Sergeant, daughter of Whig US Congressman John Sergeant and Margaretta Watmough of Philadelphia. In nineteen years of marriage with two wives, Wise fathered fourteen children, only seven of whom survived to adulthood. Sarah gave birth to at least five children. She and the last child died soon after its birth on October 14, 1850. Henry married a third time to Mary Elizabeth Lyons in 1853.

After serving as governor, Wise settled with Mary and his younger children in 1860 at Rolleston, an 884-acre (3.58 km2) plantation which he bought from his brother John Cropper Wise, who also continued to live there. It was located on the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia. It had first been developed by William and Susannah Moseley, English immigrants who settled there in 1649. After the Civil War, Henry and Mary Wise lived in Richmond, where he resumed his law career.

Political career Henry A. Wise served in the United States Congress from 1833 to 1844. He was elected to Congress in 1832 as a Jacksonian Democrat. On the question of the rechartering of the United States Bank he broke with the Jackson administration, and became a Whig, but was sustained by his constituents. After his first election in 1832 he fought a duel with his competitor for the seat in Congress. He was reelected to Congress as a Whig in 1837, serving till 1841, and was reelected as a Tyler Democrat in 1843.

Wise was active in securing the election of John Tyler as Vice President in 1840. Tyler appointed Wise as United States minister to Brazil from 1844 to 1847, where two of his children were born in Rio de Janeiro. After his return, Wise identified with the Democratic Party. In 1855, after a remarkable campaign, he was elected governor of Virginia over the Know Nothing candidate. Wise supported the annexation of Texas by the United States. Wise County, Texas, was named in his honor.

In the statewide election of 1855 Wise defeated Thomas S. Flournoy and subsequently served as the 33rd Governor of Virginia from 1856 to 1860. Wise County, Virginia, was named after him when it was established in 1856. One of his last official acts as Governor was to sign the death warrant of John Brown. He was a member of the Virginia secession convention of 1861, and opposed immediate secession. Upon the withdrawal of the commonwealth from the Union, however, he joined the Confederate army and was commissioned as a brigadier general.

Military career

Gen. Wise during the American Civil War. Wise served as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He commanded the District of Roanoke Island during the Battle of Roanoke Island. His part in the decision to cede the island when faced with much greater Union forces drew the ire of some of the Confederate government leadership.

His forces were attached to the division of Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes during the Seven Days Battles. For the rest of 1862 and 1863 he held various commands in North Carolina and Virginia. In 1864 Wise was in command of a brigade in the Department of North Carolina & Southern Virginia. His brigade defended Petersburg and was credited with saving the city at the First Battle of Petersburg and to an extent at the Second Battle of Petersburg. He then commanded a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia during the final stages of the Siege of Petersburg, and was promoted to the rank of major general after the Battle of Sayler's Creek. He was with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, where he fought bravely but urged Lee to surrender. He was the brother-in-law of Union Maj. Gen. George G. Meade.

Postbellum activities After the war Wise resumed his law practice in Richmond, and settled there for the rest of his life. In 1865 he was unable to reclaim Rolleston, his plantation outside Norfolk, before he received pardon from the president. After Wise entered Confederate service, he and his family abandoned Rolleston in 1862 as Union troops were taking over Norfolk. Wise arranged then for residence for his family in Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia.

As a result, Maj. Gen. Terry of the U.S. command in the Norfolk area did not permit Wise to reclaim the Rolleston property. In an exchange of letters published in the New York Times, Terry stated that under conditions of parole, Wise had claim only to the Rocky Mount property where he had been living when he went to war. The Freedmen's Bureau used Rolleston Hall and other plantations in the Norfolk area as schools for freedmen. Two hundred were said to be at Rolleston.

Along with working at his law career, Wise wrote a book based on his public service entitled Seven Decades of the Union (1872). His two surviving sons were both active in state and Federal politics.

One of his sons, John Sergeant Wise, wrote a memoir entitled The End of an Era. John Wise was fourteen in the summer of 1860 and served in the Confederate Army late in the war. He wrote about his own memories of Rolleston and the war years, as well as about his father's role and their family members. Henry A. Wise's grandson Barton Haxall Wise wrote a biography of the former governor called The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia (New York, 1899).

References

   * Simpson, Craig M., A Good Southerner: A Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia, Raleigh: University of North Carolina Press, 1985
   * Wise, Barton Haxall. The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia, 1806-1876. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1899. googlebooks Accessed January 29, 2008

Source: downloaded 2010 from Wikipedia

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-------------------- BIOGRAPHY (From Wikipedia)

Wise was born in Drummondtown, Accomack County, Virginia, to Major John Wise and his second wife Sarah Corbin Cropper, whose families had been long settled there. He was privately tutored until his twelfth year and then entered Margaret Academy, near Pungoteague in Accomack County. He graduated from Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1825. Wise was admitted to the bar in 1828, and settled in Nashville, Tenn., in the same year, but returned to Accomack County in 1830.

He was married three times, first in 1828 to Anne Jennings, the daughter of Rev. Obadiah Jennings and Ann Wilson of Washington, Pennsylvania. Anne died in 1837 leaving Henry with four children: two sons and two daughters. A fifth child died with her in a fire.

Wise was married a second time in November 1840, to Sarah Sergeant, daughter of Whig Congressman John Sergeant and Margaretta Watmough of Philadelphia. In nineteen years of marriage with two wives, Wise fathered fourteen children, only seven of whom survived to adulthood. Sarah gave birth to at least five children. She and the last child died soon after its birth on October 14, 1850.Henry married a third time to Mary Elizabeth Lyons in 1853.

After serving as governor, Wise settled with Mary and his younger children in 1860 at Rolleston, an 884-acre plantation which he bought from his brother John Cropper Wise, who also continued to live there. It was located on the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, Virginia. It had first been developed by William and Susannah Moseley, English immigrants who settled there in 1649. After the Civil War, Henry and Mary Wise lived in Richmond where he resumed his law career.

Political career

Henry A. Wise served in the United States Congress from 1833 to 1844. He was elected to Congress in 1832 as a Jacksonian Democrat. On the question of the rechartering of the United States Bank he broke with the Jackson administration, and became a Whig, but was sustained by his constituents. After his first election in 1832 he fought a duel with his competitor for the seat in Congress. He was reelected to Congress as a Whig in 1837, serving till 1841, and was reelected as a Tyler Democrat in 1843.

Wise was active in securing the election of John Tyler as Vice President in 1840. Tyler appointed Wise as United States minister to Brazil from 1844 to 1847, where two of his children were born in Rio de Janeiro. After his return, Wise identified with the Democratic Party. In 1855, after a remarkable campaign, he was elected governor of Virginia over the Know Nothing candidate. Wise supported the annexation of Texas by the United States. Wise County, Texas was named in his honor.

In the statewide election of 1855 Wise defeated Thomas S. Flournoy and subsequently served as the Governor of Virginia from 1856 to 1860. Wise County, Virginia, was named after him when it was established in 1856. One of his last official acts as Governor was to sign the death warrant of John Brown. He was a member of the Virginia secession convention of 1861, and opposed immediate secession. Upon the withdrawal of the commonwealth from the Union, however, he joined the Confederate army and was commissioned as a brigadier general.

Military career and after the war


Gen. Wise during the American Civil war.Wise served as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. He commanded the District of Roanoke Island during the Battle of Roanoke Island. His part in the decision to cede the island when faced with much greater Union forces drew the ire of some of the Confederate government leadership.

He commanded a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia during the siege of Petersburg, and was promoted to the rank of Major General after the Battle of Sayler's Creek. He was with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, where he fought bravely but urged Lee to surrender. He was the brother-in-law of Union General George G. Meade.

After the war Wise resumed his law practice in Richmond, and settled there for the rest of his life. In 1865 he was unable to reclaim Rolleston, his plantation outside Norfolk, before he received pardon from the president. After Wise entered Confederate service, he and his family abandoned Rolleston in 1862 as Union troops were taking over Norfolk. Wise arranged then for residence for his family in Rocky Mount, Franklin Co, VA.

As a result, Major-General Terry of the US command in the Norfolk area did not permit Wise to reclaim the Rolleston property. In an exchange of letters published in the New York Times, Terry stated under conditions of parole, Wise had claim only to the Rocky Mount property where he had been living when he went to war. The Freedmen's Bureau used Rolleston Hall and other plantations in the Norfolk area as schools for freedmen. Two hundred were said to be at Rolleston.

Wise returned to law and made a career in Richmond after the war. In addition, he wrote a historical work based on his public service entitled Seven Decades of the Union (1872). His two surviving sons were both active in state and Federal politics.

One of his sons, John Sergeant Wise, wrote a memoir entitled The End of an Era.John Wise was fourteen in the summer of 1860 and served in the Confederate Army late in the war. He wrote about his own memories of Rolleston and the war years, as well as about his father's role and their family members. In addition, Henry A. Wise's grandson Barton Haxall Wise wrote a biography of the former governor called The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia (New York, 1899).


Additional Notes:

He, General Lee, and President Davis were indicted for treason in the summer of 1865 by the Reconstruction U.S. District court in Norfolk.  Though never being tried for the crime, taking the oath of loyalty troubled him greatly. He wrote to General Lee: "Pardon implies, ex vi termini, guilt, crime in this case the high crime of treason .... I was not a traitor to my country and cannot become a traitor to myself..."  He believed to his death he'd done nothing treasonous.
   He worked to promote passage of the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  He spent much of his final years carving elaborate canes for gentlemen, salad spoons and forks and jackstraws for the children.
   On the day he died, he told his son John: "Take hold, John, of the biggest knots in life," he told his son on that last day, "and try to untie them try to be worthy of man's highest estate have high, noble, manly honor. There is but one true test of anything, and that is, is it right? If it isn't, turn right away from it."

On Oct. 17, 1859, Governor Henry Wise of Virginia received the alarming news that Northerners had attacked the armory at Harpers Ferry. John Brown, leader of the insurgents, was surrounded and soon would be captured; his fate was now in the governor's hands. Should John Brown hang? The reform-minded Wise faced the most important political decision of his life. It would have far reaching implications for his career, for Virginia, and for the future of the Union.

   Wise began his political life with a duel. He shot and severely wounded his opponent for Congress. He served from 1833 to 1844, developing a reputation as a hot-headed, fiery orator. (In 1851, he captivated Virginias Constitutional Convention with a five day speech.)  He represented Accomac County, home to his ancestors for almost two centuries.  He was nearly six feet tall, lean and nervous, and favored wearing a white cravat.
   When elected governor in 1856, Wise had one primary goal: to restore the state of Virginia to its former glory. He believed that the plantation system that had once made Virginia great was now responsible for its economic stagnation. He was critical of Virginia planters, whom he accused of being lazy and having a fondness for "brandy, foxhounds and horse racing." ....
   ...  he had ambitions to be president. Wise may have initially thought that the John Brown affair offered an opportunity for favorable exposure on the national stage. After all, Browns raid had not only shocked the South, Northerners were appalled as well. Even abolitionists were distancing themselves from Browns "mad" act.
   Wise arrived in Harpers Ferry on the afternoon of Browns capture, accompanied by an entourage of press and politicians to observe the interrogation. He found the old man lying on a pile of bedding, his clothes caked with dried blood.
   The Governor interrogated the prisoner for three hours and was surprised by what he found. Brown presented himself as composed, articulate, if not eloquent in his thoughts. "He is cool, collected and indomitable," said Wise, "and he inspired me with great trust in his integrity as a man of truth."  He is "the gamest man I ever saw." ...
   Wise now faced the difficult decision of what to do with Brown; each option carried with it great political risk. He could have recommend incarceration for life. While that might have won him favorable support from the North, it was sure to alienate his support in the South; it was not worth the gamble. He could have declared Brown insane, but his conversation with Brown had convinced him otherwise.
   Wise's final decision reflected the popular sentiment in the South: John Brown would hang.  But for secessionists who saw Brown's raid as an invasion by the North and a clear signal that it was time to leave the Union, hanging was not the answer.  If Brown were hanged, they argued, he would become a martyr and unify the North.  A critic of Wise would later write: "The Harpers Ferry affair ought to have been treated and represented either in its best light as the mad folly of a few deluded cranks ... or, more truly, as the vulgar crime and outrage of a squad of reckless desperate Ruffians."
   Despite Wise's desire to remain in the Union, it became increasingly clear over the following months that the situation was hopeless. In April, 1861, Wise conspired to launch his own raid on the armory at Harpers Ferry in an attempt to force his state into secession.

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-------------------- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=103992731&ref=wvr

son of John Wise & Sarah Corbin Cropper Tombstone says: Member of Congress First District-Virginia Minister of Brazil Governor of state of Virginia Brigadier General Confederate States of America 1861-1865 He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond Virginia. this tombstone was put there in memory, with his other family members

view all 15

Gov. Henry Alexander Wise, (CSA)'s Timeline

1806
December 3, 1806
6, Accomack, VA, USA
1828
October 23, 1828
Age 21
Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Married in Nashville, Tenn

1829
September 21, 1829
Age 22
1831
1831
Age 24
1840
November, 1840
Age 33
1840
Age 33
Drummondtown, Virginia, United States
1843
September 2, 1843
Age 36
Philadelphia, PA, USA
1846
December 27, 1846
Age 40
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1853
1853
Age 46