CDV OF SOUTH CAROLINA’S GENERAL MILLEDGE BONHAM

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Item Code: 1138-48

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Chest-up vignette view of Bonham in a dark double-breasted frockcoat. His shoulder straps and support strap for his sword belt are visible.

Contrast and clarity are excellent. Paper and mount are also very good. Bottom of mount has a modern pencil ID of “BONHAM.” Bottom front corners also have a photographer’s mark.

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for J. GURNEY & SON… NEW YORK with some collector information in pencil at bottom. Top has faint period pencil ID of “GEN BONHAM.”

From the collection of the late William A. Turner.

Milledge Luke Bonham was born near Red Bank, Edgefield District of South Carolina on December 22, 1813.

Bonham, after graduation at the South Carolina College, had his first military experience as a volunteer in the company of Capt. James Jones, in the Seminole War, and was promoted to brigade major, a position corresponding to adjutant-general of brigade.  Subsequently, while beginning his career as a lawyer and legislator, he continued his association with the militia and attained the rank of major-general.

When war began with Mexico he went to the front as lieutenant-colonel of the Twelfth United States Infantry, and served with distinction, earning promotion to colonel, and remained in Mexico a year after the close of the war, as military governor of one of the provinces.

Then returning home he resumed the practice of law, was elected solicitor of the southern circuit, and in 1856, upon the death of Preston S. Brooks, was chosen as the successor of that gentleman in Congress.

Upon the secession of the State he promptly resigned and was appointed commander-in-chief of the South Carolina army, with the rank of major-general.  In this capacity, and waiving all questions of rank and precedence, at the request of Governor Pickens, he served upon the coast in hearty cooperation with General Beauregard, sent there by the provisional government of the Confederate States.

At a later date he was commissioned brigadier-general in the provisional army, and he took to Richmond the first troops that arrived for the defense of the capital.  His regiments were commanded by Colonels Kershaw, Williams, Cash and Bacon, and were conspicuous in the operations before Washington and in the first battle of Manassas.

Afterward, in consequence of a disagreement with the war department, he resigned and was elected to the Confederate Congress.  In December, 1862, he was elected governor of the State.

In January, 1865, he was appointed to command of a brigade of cavalry, in the organization of which he was engaged at the close of military operations.

He was the first railroad commissioner of South Carolina, in 1878, and subsequently chairman of the commission until his death, August 27, 1890. Bonham is buried in Elmwood Memorial Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina. [ad] [ph:L]

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