Wade Hampton III was a Confederate States of America military officer during the American Civil War and politician from South Carolina. He came from a wealthy planter family, and shortly before the war he was one of the largest slaveholders in the Southeast as well as a state legislator. During the American Civil War, he served in the Confederate cavalry, where he reached the rank of lieutenant general.
Following the war, he served as a Democratic Party politician in his home state. Near the end of Reconstruction, Hampton was elected as the 77th Governor of South Carolina, serving 1876-1879, and later was elected as a U.S. Senator. His campaign as governor was marked by extensive violence by the Red Shirts, a paramilitary group that served the Democratic Party by disrupting elections and suppressing black voting in the state. They contributed to the Democrats regaining control of the state government in this period.