CDV OF C.S. GENERAL HENRY A. WISE

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Item Code: 1138-566

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Oval bust view of Wise in civilian clothes. Photograph is clear with slightly light contrast. Printed identification on lower edge of mount. Photographer’s backmark: The Monumental Book Store, Baltimore.

Henry Alexander Wise (December 3, 1806 – September 12, 1876) was an American lawyer and politician from Virginia. He was a U.S. Representative and Governor of Virginia, and US Minister to Brazil. As Governor, he was much involved in the 1859 trial of abolitionist John Brown. During the American Civil War, he was a general in the Confederate States Army.

In Congress, Wise was an outspoken states’ rights supporter. Fellow Virginian John Tyler, when he became president in 1841, appointed Wise to the post of minister to Brazil, where he outspokenly criticized Brazil’s participation in the international slave trade.

Wise was an influential figure at Virginia’s constitutional convention in 1850-51, where a new constitution increased the political power of Western Virginia in the General Assembly. He successfully ran for governor in 1855.

Wise was appointed as a brigadier general in the Army of Northern Virginia for political reasons; he had no military experience. He performed poorly in operations in the Kanawha Valley in 1861 and on Roanoke Island in 1862. He serving with distinction at Petersburg and during the Army of Northern Virginia’s final retreat to Appomattox Court House. He was temporarily promoted to major general at Sailors Creek but surrendered as a brigadier.

After the war, Wise never sought out an official pardon, but rather deemphasized the large role he played in Virginia’s secession. In 1872, he supported his former adversary Ulysses S. Grant’s re-election to the presidency. He worked as a lawyer until he passed away in Richmond on September 12, 1876. [jet]  [ph:L]

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