COLONEL JACK WARTON

 

            Colonel Jack Wharton was born December 1, 1832, in Washington County, Maryland, and, at an early age, studied law under the celebrated Ortho Scott, practicing his profession until 1857, with considerable success in the courts of his native State.  At this period, he located in Kansas, where his political feeling was of such nature, that no Southern man, with any degree of pride for the land of his nativity, could rise in his profession.  With all the vim and vitality of a man determined not to be subdued by his  passions and prejudices of this evil period, he started for Salt Lake City, in 1858, with General Harney, who being ordered back, he left for California under Captain W. S. Handcock – now Major General – acting as Quartermaster of the Sixth Regiment of Infantry. 

After remaining in California, he returned to Baltimore, where he remained for several months, visiting with old friends.  It was at this period he established, in Texas, an extensive horse ranch, on the line of Kaufman and Van Zandt Counties, about two hundred miles west of Shreveport.  Here he remained until the war commenced, when he enlisted, as a  private soldier, in a company organized in his neighborhood, and which, subsequently, became attached to the 6th Texas Cavalry.  Upon the definite organization of the company, Wharton was elected Captain.  Henceforth, the history of the man, and of the regiment, are indissoluble.  He served through all the campaigns, battles, advances and retreats in which the regiment and brigade were engaged, until the final catastrophe.  Upon the appointment of General L. S. Ross to the rank of Brigadier General, Wharton, who had been elevated to Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, was promoted to the Colonelcy.  General Ross cited Colonel Wharton several times for his dearing charges and leadership during the Atlanta Campaign and during The final campaign in Tennessee. Wharton was in command of Ross’ Brigade at the end of the war, because Ross was in Texas recruiting and seeking funding. After the conclusion of the war, he returned to his stock ranch in Texas, where he remained until 1867, when he was invited by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, to take charge of their works from Shreveport, Louisiana to Marshall, Texas, with headquarter at the former place.  After the completion of the railroad, he came to New Orleans, where he has resided till his death.

Colonel Wharton held many important offices of honor and trust in the State – such as Assessor of Taxes, Secretary of State under Governor Warmouth, Adjutant- General under Governor Kellogg, which place he held until the meeting of the Packard Legislature, when he resigned the office of Adjutant-General, and accepted the position of Clerk of the Superior Civil Court, an office just created, and which was the most lucrative in the gift of the Governor.  After the downfall of the Packard Government, he was appointed, by President Hayes, Marshall for the State of Louisiana, from June 15, 1878, which he held for four years from the date of commission. He died April 7, 1882, in New Orleans, just 2months before his four years would have been completed. In a book co-authored by Bruce Allardice, Texas Burial sites of the Civil War, we are told that Colonel Jack Wharton is buried at Saint John’s Episcopal Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Jack Wharton had an agreeable personal appearance, was a fluent conversationalist, and always a boon companion, and was welcomed by bon vivants.  As an officer in the field, he was surpassed by none in personal courage, sagacity, and devotion.  Sparks and Ross’ Brigade Association believed Colonel Wharton never married.               Taken from “The War Between the States, As I Saw It, Reminiscent, Historical and Personal,” by A. W. Sparks, in 1901. Tyler, Lee & Burnett Printers.  Re- printed 1987 by D&D Publishing, PO Box 5003, Longview, TX 75608.  Additional material came from, Personal Civil War Letters of General Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Transcribed by Perry Wayne Shelton, Austin 1994 and from Victor Rose’s book, Living and Fighting with Ross’ Texas Cavalry Brigade.

 

Though a true Son of Texas Colonel Wharton is not found in the Handbook of Texas Online.