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John Austin Wharton
Born (1828-07-23)July 23, 1828
Died April 6, 1865(1865-04-06) (aged 36)
Place of birth Nashville, Tennessee
Place of death Houston, Texas
Place of burial Texas State Cemetery
Austin, Texas
Allegiance United States United States of America
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–65
Rank 35px Major General

American Civil War

John Austin Wharton (July 23, 1828 – April 6, 1865) was a lawyer, plantation owner, and Confederate general during the American Civil War. He is considered one of the Confederacy's best tactical cavalry commanders.

Early life[]

Wharton was born near Nashville, Tennessee, as the only child of Sarah Groce Wharton and William H. Wharton, later a leading politician during the Texas Revolution. When he was still an infant, the family moved to what became Brazoria County, Texas. In 1846, Wharton enrolled at South Carolina College. Two years later, he married Eliza Penelope Johnson, the daughter of David Johnson, the Governor of South Carolina.

After graduating in 1850, Wharton returned to Texas and studied law, establishing his practice in Brazoria. He became a wealthy plantation owner and slave owner. In 1860, he supported John C. Breckinridge's candidacy for the Presidency and served as an elector.

Civil War[]

An ardent secessionist, Wharton enlisted in the Confederate Army as captain of Company B, Eighth Texas Cavalry, also known as "Terry's Texas Rangers." Commissioned as colonel of the regiment, Wharton fought with distinction at Shiloh, where he was wounded. Wharton served under Gen. Braxton Bragg during the 1862 invasion of eastern Kentucky. He was promoted to brigadier general on November 18, 1862, and was again wounded, this time at Murfreesboro.

Wharton monument at Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas

Wharton again distinguished himself at Chickamauga and was promoted to the rank of major general. He was assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department in Louisiana in February 1864, leading the cavalry under Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor during the Red River Campaign.[1]

Shortly before the end of the war in 1865, a fellow Confederate cavalry officer, Col. George Wythe Baylor (1832–1916) (brother of Confederate Arizona Governor Colonel John Baylor) killed Wharton in Houston, over a simmering dispute on military matters. The incident began with an argument on the street outside of the Fannin Hotel, the headquarters of Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder. The two officers had quarreled in the past, but this time Wharton came into Magruder's quarters and, as Baylor later claimed, called Baylor a liar. Baylor shot the unarmed Wharton and killed him instantly.[2]

Wharton is interred at Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.


Wharton and Wharton County in Texas are named after Wharton and his father, William Harris Wharton.

See also[]


  1. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963. ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp, 361, 365, 375
  2. Bailey, p. 123.


  • Bailey, Anne, "John Austin Wharton", The Confederate General, Vol. 6, Davis, William C., and Julie Hoffman (eds.), National Historical Society, 1991, ISBN 0-918678-68-4.
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1959, ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.

External links[]

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