General John A. Wagener

John Andreas Wagener

Biographical Outline

  • Pre-War Life
    • Born in Sievern in Hanover, July 21, 1816
    • Immigrated to New York when very young, but moved to Charleston, South Carolina when he was 17 years old.
    • Entered mercantile trade, but also became an important political, business and social leader.
    • Published German language newspaper
    • Organized German church
    • Organized German fire-companies and lodges
    • President of Carolina Mutual Insurance Company
    • Was lieutenant of a German militia company, "The German Fusiliers", in 1843.
    • Was noted as being an anti-secessionist before the war.
    • Was elected major of the German artillery, another city militia unit in 1860
  • Civil War Career
    • As major of the German artilley, participated in the bombing of Fort Sumter, April 1861. Promoted to lieutenant colonel shortly afterwards.
    • On Sept. 5, 1861, made colonel of the 1st Regiment of South Carolina Militia Artillery
    • During DuPont's attack on Port Royal, Wagener commanded the batteries of Fort Walker. He was stunned by the burst of a shell, and temporarily disabled.
    • Commanded the militia artillery during the siege of Charleston in 1863 and 1864 (though his regiment was acting as infantry).
    • Promoted to brigadier general of militia during the siege of Charleston.
  • Post-War Life
    • Member of the 1865 Constitutional Convention for South Carolina
    • Represented Charleston in the South Carolina General Assembly, 1865-66.
    • Became state commissioner on immigration in 1867.
    • Became mayor of Charleston in 1871.
    • In 1876, he started to help Wade Hampton rid the state of "carpetbag rule"
    • Died in Walhalla, South Carolina (a German settlement he had helped to found) on August 27, 1876.

Bruce S. Allardice, More Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995).