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Wade Hampton (1752 – February 4, 1835) was a South Carolinamarker soldier, politician, two-term U.S. Congressman, and wealthy plantation owner. He was the scion of the politically important Hampton family, which was influential in state politics almost into the 20th century. His great-great-grandfather Thomas Hampton [317071] (1623-1690) was born in Englandmarker and settled in the Virginia Colony.

Hampton served in the American Revolution as a lieutenant colonel in a South Carolina volunteer cavalry regiment. He was a Democratic-Republican member of Congress for South Carolina from 1795-1797 and from 1803-1805, and a presidential elector in 1801.

He was a colonel in the United States Army in 1808, and was promoted to brigadier general in 1809, replacing James Wilkinson as the general in charge of New Orleans.

He used the U.S. military presence in New Orleans to suppress the 1811 German Coast Uprising, which he believed was a Spanish plot.

During the War of 1812, Hampton led the American forces in the Battle of Chateauguay in 1813. On April 6, 1814, he resigned his commission and returned to South Carolina after leading thousands of U.S. soldiers to defeat at the hands of a few hundred Quebecmarker militia, then getting his army lost in the woods.

Thereafter, he acquired a large fortune land speculating. At his death it was told that he was the wealthiest planter in the United Statesmarker, owning over 3,000 slaves. Hampton spent much of his time in a mansion, now known as the Hampton-Preston Housemarker, in Columbia, South Carolinamarker.

Hampton County, South Carolinamarker is named for the former Congressman.

His son Wade Hampton II and grandson Wade Hampton III were also prominent in South Carolina social circles and politics, with the latter Hampton serving as the state's governor after a distinguished career as a general in the Confederate army during the American Civil War.

He is interred in the churchyard at Trinity Episcopal Churchmarker in Columbia, South Carolina.

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