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Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives


WHEELER, Joseph, a Representative from Alabama; born in Augusta, Ga., September 10, 1836; attended local schools and the Episcopal Academy, Cheshire, Conn.; was graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1859; attended the Cavalry School at Carlisle, Pa., 1859-1860; transferred to the Mounted Rifles June 26, 1860; second lieutenant September 1, 1860, and served in New Mexico; resigned from the United States Army February 27, 1861; appointed lieutenant of Artillery in the Confederate Army on April 3, 1861; successively promoted to the grade of colonel, brigadier general, and major general, and was commissioned lieutenant general in February 1865; in 1862 was assigned to the command of the Army Corps of Cavalry of the Western Army, continuing in that position until the war closed; senior Cavalry general of the Confederate Armies May 11, 1864; studied law; was admitted to the bar and engaged in practice at Wheeler, Ala., and also became a planter; presented credentials as a Democratic Member-elect to the Forty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1881, to June 3, 1882, when he was succeeded by William M. Lowe, who contested his election; subsequently elected to the same Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William M. Lowe and served from January 15 to March 3, 1883; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth and to the six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1885-March 4, 1900); elected to the Fifty-six Congress, but was not sworn-in and resigned April 20, 1900; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Fiftieth Congress), Committee on Territories (Fifty-third Congress); served in the Spanish-American War; commissioned major general of Volunteers May 4, 1898, and assigned to command of a Cavalry division, United States Army; senior member of the commission which negotiated the surrender of Santiago and the Spanish Army in Cuba; during the Philippine Insurrection commanded the First Brigade, Second Division, Eighth Army Corps, in the Tarlac campaign and in several other operations in central Luzon from July 8, 1899, to January 24, 1900; commissioned brigadier general in the United States Regular Army June 16, 1900; retired September 10, 1900; died in Brooklyn, N.Y., January 25, 1906; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Durham, NC
Papers: ca. 1864-1903, 57 items. The papers contain correspondence of Joseph Wheeler. Several letters contain correspondence concerning the Civil War, including general orders, refutations of charges that his command had impressed a citizen's mules, military telegrams, and a letter to Gen. H.W. Halleck, May 20, 1865, telling of Wheeler's arrest and the refusal of Federal authorities to grant him a parole. Other letters contain reminiscences of the Civil War; routine communications written while a member of the U.S. Congress; letters written from Manila, Phlippine Islands; and letters, 1888, to the editor of the Philadelphia (Pa.) News concerning an article about Wheeler.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Montgomery, AL
Papers: In the Alabama Governor (1896-1900 : Johnston) administrative files, 1896-1900, 13 cubic feet. Other authors include Joseph Wheeler.
Papers: In the Moses Wright Hannon papers, 1863-1865, 14 items. Correspondents include Joseph Wheeler.
Papers: In the Hopkins Family papers, 1829-1925, 1.5 cubic ft. Included are a few certified copies of letters to Mrs. Ayres from Gen. Joseph Wheeler, as well as typed transcripts of an article by Wheeler about Juliet Opie Hopkins.
Papers: In the Joseph F. Johnston papers, 1847-1926, 3.5 cubic feet. Other authors include Joseph Wheeler.
Papers: In the C.S.A. Wheeler's Corps military orders, 1863, 1 folder. The collection contains orders written by secretary W.M. Magenis sent back and forth between the generals of Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, including General Wheeler and John H. Morgan.
Papers: In the Wheeler family papers, 1809-1943, 70 cubic ft. The collection documents primarily the public service career of Joseph Wheeler, as a Confederate and, later, as a U.S. general, and, more fully, his almost-two decades as a U.S. Representative from Ala. The bulk of political papers are letters, telegrams, and postcards sent to him in Washington. Unfortunately, Wheeler did not regularly keep records of his responses until the late 1890s, and then only during the months he was on active duty. Within the Political/Post-political series of the Joseph Wheeler subgroup, the letters and correspondence cover such topics as patronage, a variety of U.S. Postal Service issues, military appropriations, claims and pension settlements, the development of Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee River, Alabama politics, the free silver issue, and the Spanish-American and Civil wars, on which he wrote extensively. Other topics include tariff issues, elections, education, and African American soldiers' claims. The Joseph Wheeler papers also include letters and correspondence on personal and family matters as well as financial, business, and legal topics, the latter being generated by the extensive and complicated Wheeler real property lawsuits.
Photographs: In the Wheeler family photographs, [188?]-1923, 45 photographs. The collection includes images of Joseph Wheeler in Washington, D.C., including one of the House of Representatives in session and another of the capitol reading room.

The Filson Historical Society

Lexington, KY
Papers: 1900-1905, 3 items. The papers include two letters from Joseph Wheeler to John W. Green giving his regrets that he cannot attend the United Confederate Veterans reunion; and a 1905 letter to Wheeler’s daughter Julia suggesting she arrive early at the Confederate reunion in Louisville and explaining why he desires it.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: ca. 1898-1901, 4 letters.

United States Military Academy

West Point, NY
Papers: 1854, 1 page. A letter from Joseph Wheeler to his sister, Lucy, written on July 2, 1854. In the letter, Wheeler comments on the birth of Lucy’s younger son, asks about other family members, tells of the cadet infantry drills and comments on the accessability and quality of the library.

University of California, Berkeley
The Bancroft Library

Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1905, 3 pages. A letter from Joseph Wheeler to Porfirio Díaz written on September 27, 1905. In the letter, Wheeler introduces himself and recommends Miss Strong.

University of Georgia Libraries
Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Athens, GA
Papers: 1864, 1 item. A letter from Joseph Wheeler to a Confederate Captain, written on August 8, 1864. In the letter, Wheeler states he has heard from Generals Iverson and Allen who are moving toward his position, requests horse shoes to be ready for movement, and states his command has been successful at foraging for food. This letter was written on the eve of Wheeler's Atlanta Raid (Aug. 10 - Sept. 10, 1864).
Papers: 1864, 1 item. A letter from Major General Joseph Wheeler to William Joseph Hardee, 1864 Nov. 22. In the letter, Wheeler discusses his proposed troop movement toward the Oconee bridge due to Union occupation of all roads to Milledgeville, Georgia.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Dyer, John Percy. "Fightin' Joe" Wheeler. Baton Rouge, LA.: Louisiana State University Press, 1941.

___. From Shiloh to San Juan: The Life of Fightin' Joe Wheeler. Revised edition. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1961.

Fisher, John E. They Rode with Forrest and Wheeler: A Chronicle of Five Tennessee Brothers' Service in the Confederate Western Cavalry. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 1995.

Kinney, Anders M. Joseph Wheeler: Uniting the Blue and the Gray. San Jose, CA: Writers Club Press, 2002.

Longacre, Edward G. A Soldier to the Last: Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler in Blue and Gray. Washington, D. C.: Potomac Books, 2007.

Poole, John Randolph. Cracker Cavaliers: The 2nd Georgia Cavalry under Wheeler and Forrest. Macon, GA.: Mercer University Press, 2000.

Staff Officer. Synopsis of The Military Career of Gen. Joseph Wheeler. Birmingham, AL.: Linn-Henley Research Center: Birmingham Public Library Press, 1988.

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