{⋆★⋆} MG Wharton, John Austin

John Austin Wharton


Born: July 23, 1828

Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee

Father: William Harris Wharton 1802 – 1839
(Buried: Restwood Memorial Park, Clute, Texas)​

Mother: Sarah Grace Wharton Unknown – 1858
(Buried:Hempstead Cemetery, Hempstead, Texas)​

Wife: Eliza Penelope Johnson 1828 – 1876


Katherine Ross Wharton – 1874


1850: Graduated from South Carolina College​

Occupation before War:

Attorney in Brazoria, Texas​
Wealthy Plantation Owner, and Slave Owner​
1860: Democratic Party Presidential Elector​

Civil War Career:

1861 – 1862: Colonel of 8th​ Texas Cavalry Regiment​
1862: Wounded during the Battle of Shiloh​
1862 – 1863: Brigadier General of Confederate Army, Cavalry​
1863: Served with distinction during the Battle of Chickamauga​
1863 – 1865: Major General of Confederate Army, Cavalry​
1864 – 1865: Cavalry Commander in Trans Mississippi Department​
1864: Served in the Red River Campaign​
1865: Killed by Colonel George Wythe Baylor​

Died: April 6, 1865

Place of Death: Houston, Texas

Age at time of Death: 36 years old

Burial Place: Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas
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Brigadier General
Forum Host
Apr 11, 2016
South Carolina
I saw a listing of Confederate General Birthdays this morning and it list Brig. General Wharton's birthday as July 3rd instead of July 23rd. Happy Birthday General Wharton! Salutes remembering General Wharton on his birthday.
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
The Brazos Santiago expedition mentioned in the accompanying newspaper clipping occurred on Feb. 21, 1861 when a group of Texas State Troops under R.I.P. Ford captured the U.S. depot located there. An Army depot had been set up at the mouth of the pass between two islands by General Zachary Taylor and was still in use. This was that era before the War had actually started and when hostilities at Fort Sumter had yet occured. Numerous U.S. establishments including forts, arsenals, a mint, etc were "confiscated" by troops in those seceeding states. Wharton was part of the expedion to capture of the depot at the pass.This is the same Pass/Depot that the Union retook in 1863 and troops from that Army Depot were involved in the Battle of Palmito Ranch in 1865.
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
Wharton succeeded to command of the 8th Texas Cavalry, also known as Terry's Texas Rangers, because of 2 deaths. The original leader, Colonel Terry, was killed at Woodsonville, Kentucky on Dec.17, 1861. Lt.. Col. Thomas Lubbock was to have assumed command but died of a disease before doing so. Command of the regiment then fell to John Wharton who was a captain though he may have been a major at the time.
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Feb 20, 2005
4/6/64 Gen Magruder to Boggs-Gen Wharton is here-I request he be assigned to Cav pertaining to Tex commanded by Gen Green...

Former Governor & now Lt Col Lubbock AAG [first to K Smith, then to Wharton, then to Pres Davis] writes-
Maj-Gen John A. Wharton, who had gained reputation as a cdr of Cav in the Army of Tenn, arrived from east of the Miss. He was on leave of absence, to recuperate his broken health at his home in Texas. I was just from home, in health, & with good camp supplies, while he was broken down & poorly provided with camp necessaries. I divided my blankets with him, & was with him during the next month's active campaign. [He was an old friend]

Gen Wharton had been selected by Gen Taylor at Shreveport to succeed Green [killed 4/12] in the command of the Cav, though his formal appointment was not made till a few days later. He immediately offered me a position on his staff as AAG, with the rank of Lt-Col, which I gladly accepted.*''' *' Next to Tom Green, Wharton was thought to be the ablest Cav cdr in the Trans-Ms Dept. — Ed.


Feb 20, 2005
4/6/65 Houston/11 a.m.-Magruder to K. Smith-Gen Wharton has just been killed by Col Baylor at the Fannin House in the presence of Gen Harrison. Baylor is under close confinement under military guard.

4/6/65 throughout the war, there was no lack of open enmity between Gen’ls – especially among the Confederates. Thin skins, the constant stress of war & the cultural expectation of manly conduct ensured that honor was easily offended. There were altercations, & there were deaths, involving such rebel luminaries as Gen’ls Marmaduke & Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Conflicts generally stopped short of bloodshed, but the possibility of mortal confrontation was never far away. In a time when the horror of war was everywhere, & when violent death was an accepted part of daily life, it was inevitable that words would occasionally fail, & the fine line between defensible conduct & homicide would be crossed.

George Wythe Baylor was not a man to trifle with. A strapping 6-foot-2 Texas frontiersman, he had killed more than his share of men. Baylor harbored a psychopathic hatred of Indians, once boasting that he had “killed & scalped six Indians one morning before breakfast.” In the 1860 Parker County, Tex., census enumerator, he listed his occupation as “Indian killer,” & chronicled his deeds of mayhem in a local newspaper.

When the war broke out, Baylor was reputedly the first man in Austin to raise the CS flag, & served briefly as Gen A S Johnston’s senior ADC. After Johnston’s death at Shiloh – the general died in his arms – Baylor returned to Texas as Lt Col & cdr in Gen Sibley’s 2nd Bn. He commanded a Cav Regt in the Red River Campaign of 1864, twice receiving commendations for gallantry.

In 1864, Baylor found himself under the command of Maj Gen John Wharton. A Texan since infancy, & a highly educated & cultured man, Wharton had distinguished himself as a lawyer & plantation owner, & had married the daughter of the Governor of SC. George Baylor’s biographer describes Wharton as a “wealthy & arrogant orator & jurist”; he was also a brave soldier. When the war began, he enlisted as a Capt in Co B, 8th Tex Cav – the famed Terry’s Texas Rangers – & was soon commissioned a Col of the Regt. Wharton fought courageously at Shiloh & at Murfreesboro, sustaining wounds in both actions. After distinguishing himself at Chickamauga, he was promoted to major general, & given command of the rebel Cav in the TM Dept in La.

Wharton nearly made it through the war alive; however, fate or circumstance brought him together with Baylor, shortly before Lee’s surrender. The trouble began when Gen Wharton dressed down Col Baylor for failing to attack a Union line – an allegation the prickly Baylor vigorously denied. The next day, a number of the Bgde’s Col’s – including Baylor – were treated to another of Wharton’s tongue lashings.

Around this time, Baylor discovered that his wife was deathly ill, & he requested leave. Several Gen’ls gave their approval, but Wharton wrote on the request, “I know nothing of Mrs. Baylor’s health. Col Baylor is needed with his Regt.” Baylor interpreted this as a challenge to his veracity. “Here was a pretty broad hint,” he later wrote, “that I had lied to get an extension of my furlough!”

Then came the final affront. Baylor saw no reason he should remain a Col when he had commanded a Bgde throughout the campaign. He put his case to Wharton, who – according to Baylor – promised him a promotion to the rank of BG. Wharton then proceeded to “dismount” Baylor’s Regt – reduce them to the status of Infy, a serious insult to the Texas horsemen – & placed Baylor under the command of David S. Terry, a junior Col whom Wharton had also promised a generalship. Terry, a known scoundrel, was a close friend of Wharton’s, & a particular personal enemy of Baylor’s.

Baylor’s dismtd Regt was placed in Robertson’s Bgde

Baylor’s ego could take no more. He sent word to Gen Wharton that he would see him in hell before he served under Col Terry.

He then set out for Houston, to put his case before Maj Gen Magruder.

On 4/6 by sheer ill fortune, Baylor ran into Wharton, who was passing by in Gen J.E. Harrison’s carriage, & a battle of words commenced. Baylor accused Wharton of doing him an injustice & called him a demagogue, to which Wharton responded by calling Baylor a “damned liar.” Baylor lunged at Wharton, & there was a brief exchange of blows, whereupon Baylor stepped back & half-drew his Navy Colt. At this, Harrison attempted to drive away, but Wharton restrained him, & the two combatants – after a few more harsh words – agreed to direct their hostility at the enemy, & to settle their differences after the war ended.

Baylor, in rage & frustration, sought out Magruder in his private quarters at the Fannin Hotel. Magruder attempted to calm his furious subordinate, then left for a few moments, at which point an angry but unsuspecting Wharton – also seeking Magruder – entered the room in the company of Harrison.

The war of words began anew. Then, as Baylor later recalled, Wharton “struck me a glancing blow on my cheek, throwing me on my back on the bed,” from which position Baylor raised both feet & kicked the general in the stomach. Harrison jumped between the two combatants, but Baylor drew his revolver & shot Wharton in the side; he died almost at once.

Harrison braced Baylor & said, “Col, he was totally unarmed!” Baylor, in his later writings, quotes an exchange between Harrison & himself immediately after the shooting, in which he claims to have fired on the assumption that Wharton was armed; else “I should never have used my pistol.” It is more likely that Baylor simply drew & fired in the heat of anger, with no thought as to whether his adversary had a weapon.

Baylor was arrested on the spot. While Wharton had transgressed by striking an officer of lesser rank, Baylor’s was the more serious offense by far, & might well have ended in his execution. However, the war was over before a court-martial could be convened, & Baylor’s case was transferred to the civil courts.

John Wharton had been an only child, & his wealthy & embittered mother did everything in her power to see Baylor convicted. The case dragged on for three years, ending in a hung jury &, six months later, an acquittal.

After the war, Baylor worked at a number of professions before finally rejoining the Rangers & resuming his chosen calling – Indian fighting. For the rest of his life, he alternated between justifying the murder of Wharton & expressing his sadness over it. In 1898, he wrote that Wharton “struck me in the face & called me a liar. He ought to have known I would resent it at once, for he had seen me in battle.” Yet friends & relatives would comment that he could not mention the incident without tears. “I trust everyone who knows me personally,” he wrote, “will believe me when I say the whole thing was a matter of sorrow & regret to me.”
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
So far this biography of Wharton lists 2 Col. Terrys.. The original commander of the 8th. Cavalry was Benjamin Terry who was killed in 1861. Then there was a Col. David Terry who Baylor was going to place in command in 1865.


Feb 20, 2005
So far this biography of Wharton lists 2 Col. Terrys.. The original commander of the 8th. Cavalry was Benjamin Terry who was killed in 1861. Then there was a Col. David Terry who Baylor was going to place in command in 1865.
George Wythe Baylor was a bitter enemy of David S. Terry. It is rumored that Wharton wanted David Terry promoted to a Bgde Cdr instead of Baylor & that was the argument that caused Baylor to shoot John Wharton to death at Magruder's Hqs in Galveston.

Colonel David S Terry [former Supreme Judge in California]-

Judge David S. Terry had unsuccessfully tried in May 1862 to raise 1500 troops in California to reinforce the CS cause in Arizona. Kerby's Confederate Invasion of New Mexico & Arizona, 1861-1862

Life of David S. Terry: Edited by Alexander E. Wagstaff

After the battle of Chickamauga, he proceeded to Texas, in company with Major S. B. Brooks & Duncan Beaumont, & they formed a Regt of conscripts, & he was chosen Col & Brooks as Lt Col.

The following is from SW Historical Quarterly online Vol 062-When war came, David S. Terry after the death of his brothers B.F. & Clint-Left the west to join the Confederacy. Terry returned to Texas via Mexico then went to Richmond, where he was given a Col’s commission & authority to raise a Regt of Texans.
On his return to Texas, he stopped off at Chickamauga to fight in the battle with Terry's Texas Rangers. The reminder of his career was spent in Texas.

2/4/64 Richmond, Sec of War Seddon to K Smith-This will be handed you by Judge L. W. Hastings, late of California, who has received from the President a commission as major to raise troops in Arizona, & been authorized to proceed in the execution of the plan for the recruitment of troops in California or Arizona, & the occupation of the latter, as far as practicable, which was referred by you to the consideration of the Dept.

It is not contemplated to expend in the scheme a larger sum of money than can be conveniently raised by the exportation of some few hundred bales of cotton into Mexico, which will be managed by Major Hart or some other officer you may entrust with the duty. With the proceeds, which should be enough to furnish Major Hastings with some $10,000 or $12,000 in specie Thuds, & likewise to forward from the fort in Mexico the recruits who may be induced to engage in the enterprise to some rendezvous in Arizona, Major Hastings & a disbursing officer, to be selected by yourself, will go to the selected port. There the disbursing officer will remain, on some plausible pretext, while Major Hastings will proceed to California.

He is confident of his ability to engage 500 or more men, ostensibly as miners, to come out, armed & equipped at their own expense, & to report to the officer left in Mexico on the pledge that they will be paid for their arms & equipment & forwarded to the point of rendezvous. They should, of course, preserve throughout the character of a mining association, & be careful to do no act violative of neutrality with Mexico, or to so muster & collect as to raise the suspicions of the emissaries of the enemy who may be in Mexico. When assembled in sufficient numbers they will proceed to Arizona & commence their operations for the seizure & occupation of the country.

It would be well if men are procured freely from California, that some able & enterprising officer of superior rank to Major Hastings should be selected & sent by you to command the expedition. Meantime, when men begin to come in from California, so as to afford a reasonable prospect of success, a selected few of them, or some other special agents acquainted with Arizona, should he sent forward into that Territory to engage co-operation & prepare the friends of the South for action at the proper time. I must rely on you to select the proper assistants & officers in this matter, or to commit it to some officer on whom you can rely.

I should be pleased if a gentleman of the known character & spirit of Judge Terry would undertake its guidance. While the loyalty & general intelligence of Major Hastings are appreciated, it is felt that he has little military experience, & is rather to be relied on to recruit & get men from California than to conduct & execute the whole plan. You will give to Major Hastings full instructions as to his course of procedure. I cannot well do so without knowing how far you can command means, & may deem it advisable to unite others with him in the performance of his proposed duties. Well conducted, I believe the plan expedient & feasible; but much must depend on the discretion, intelligence, & enterprise of the selected agent

10/21/64 Shreveport, H. Beaumont, Chief QM's Office, Trans-Miss Dept to Hon. S. H. Darden, Richmond: In the proposition which I submit through you to the Sec of War, I will state that Col Terry recommended it very strongly last spring & proposed with his friends to furnish the cotton which was required, & if the Dept would permit he was desirous at the proper time to take the command himself...

10/21/64 Shreveport, Henry Beaumont to Sec Seddon-I have the honor to submit the following: The importance to the Confederacy of occupying & holding the route to the Pacific through the Territory of Arizona is so great that it scarcely needs more than a mention in this connection to assure it of its proper consideration. The honorable Sec needs not to be told that in addition to securing us this thoroughfare, aside from the vast mineral wealth which that country possesses & which was in
a rapid process of development just before the war, it will furnish, I have further to submit that under these impressions in Feb last, acting under the advisement of Col D. S. Terry, late supreme judge of the State of California, & under whose directions we propose to proceed, I, in conjunction with my brother, Duncan Beaumont, also as Judge Terry, a citizen of California for many years, had the honor to submit to Gen Smith, cdg this Dept, a proposition looking to the securing this very Territory & any other advantages connected therewith which might be developed in the course of the operations we proposed…

Our proposition was simply to go into the State of Sonora, in Mexico adjoining the Territory of Arizona, &, from among the large numbers of miners & other adventurers who we were well advised had congregated there, to recruit men for the CS Army. Among the thousands whom we knew were in these new & rich mines of Sonora & Arizona we were well satisfied that we could raise at least 1,000 men for the service of the CS. To enable us to bring these men to the limits of the Confederacy, where they could be mustered in, we proposed to use our own means to the extent of 1,200 to 1,500 bales of cotton…This proposition, although considered favorably by Gen’ls Smith & Magruder, was finally rejected for the reason that Major Hastings, with authority from the War Dept, was going out on a similar mission.

Since Major Hastings has failed to go out into that country as anticipated, & there seems now to be nothing whatever doing toward asserting our claim to that territory, I would respectfully request that the Sec of War authorize me in the proper form to proceed to Eagle Pass, in Texas, & take entire charge of the recruiting service for the Confederacy north & west of Eagle Pass, & under general instructions from Judge (now Col) Terry, of the C. S. Army, proceed or send suitable officers…I would ask that authority be procured for me from the Sec of the Treasury to export 1,500 bales of cotton… I would ask that all men I may thus raise shall be Cav & be under the command of Col D. S. Terry. I would further ask that I have the power to name all officers under me, & that they shall not be elected.

March 1865 Regimental Return notes Terry’s Regt was stationed in Austin County,
Col D. S. Terry was appointed & confirmed by election, July 6, 1864,
assigned to the 2nd Bgde, Maxey's Infy Div, April 1865

March-May 1865
22nd Tex DC Bn
31st Tex DC
Terry’s Tex DC
Border’s Tex DC

3/22/65 GALVESTON WEEKLY NEWS-we leave Houston today for Hempstead, to report to Judge Terry, who, we are told, is at that place

3/27/65 Wharton to Gen Walker-Terry’s & Likens’ Regt have been dismtd. The troops could not have behaved [more [?] splendidly-[no desertion]...

Maj Davis goes to Houston to get the guns [?] that were turned in by the Cav Regts you dismtd. Please give any necessary order. He will also make inquiry about the 700 pistols you wrote me about…

Post-war-The most famous post-war exodus was that led by Gen J.O. Shelby. Among those with him were Dan Showalter, old "Chiv" friend Justice David S. Terry, ex-Arizona Congressman Granville H. Oury, Maj F.E. Kavanaugh, & their families.


Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
May 3, 2013
David S. Terry returned to the U.S. in 1869 settling first in Nevada and the returning to California where he had achieved notoriety by killing U.S. Senator David Broderick in a duel in 1859. During the 1880s Terry engaged in a public feud with California Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Field over a contested will involving Terry's wife and her previous husband. Field ruled the will fraudulent and sentenced Terry and his wife in contempt of court after they exploded in anger. Several years later on Sept. 14, 1889, Terry encountered Field by chance and slapped him across the face. Field's bodyguard promptly shot and killed Terry.