University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Louis Trezevant Wigfall Papers, 1839-1874, 1901



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Wigfall, Louis T. (Louis Trezevant), 1816-1874
Title: Louis Trezevant Wigfall papers
Dates: 1839-1874, 1901
Abstract: A secessionist and staunch believer in slavery and the chivalric code, Louis Trezevant Wigfall was active in Texas politics, taking part in the Galveston County Democratic convention, 1848, and serving in the Texas House of Representatives, 1850-1857. Photostats and transcripts of correspondence, a speech, legal documents, genealogy and family history, newspaper accounts, and literary productions comprise the papers.
Identification: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01869
Extent: 5 inches
Language: English .
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Louis Trezevant Wigfall (1816-1874), educated at South Carolina College and the University of Virginia, became involved in controversial political arguments, culminating in his killing of another man. He and his family moved to Galveston in 1846 and then to Nacogdoches, where he worked in a law firm with Thomas J. Jennings and William B. Ochiltree. He relocated once more to Marshall to open his own law practice.

A secessionist and staunch believer in slavery and the chivalric code, Wigfall was active in Texas politics, taking part in the Galveston County Democratic convention, 1848, and serving in the Texas House of Representatives, 1850-1857. He was best known for his vocal opposition to Sam Houston and may have played an important role in Houston's loss in the gubernatorial race of 1857. Also in 1857 Wigfall was elected to the Texas Senate and one year later took an active role in the Democratic convention that stressed states' rights. In 1859 he became a member of the United States Senate, where he supported slavery, states' rights, and limiting the power of the national government.

Wigfall helped author the "Southern Manifesto," urging the need for the secession of the slave states and the creation of a Southern Confederacy. After Texas's secession, he remained in his position in the Senate, spying on the Union, raising troops to send to South Carolina, and providing arms to Texas Confederates. He acted as an aide to President Jefferson Davis and was a member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy before being formally expelled from the U.S. Senate in July 1861. Later that year he became a colonel in the First Texas Infantry and a brigadier general in the Provisional Army. Additionally, he led the Texas Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia until 1862 when he resigned to join the Confederate Congress. He eventually withdrew his support for President Davis and conspired to strip Davis of his power. After the Confederacy fell, Wigfall returned to Texas for a time before moving to England in 1866 to try to stir up a war between England and the United States, thinking it could also restart a U.S. Civil War. He returned to the states, settling in Baltimore in 1872 for two years before moving once more to Texas, where he died in 1874.

Source:

"Wigfall, Louis Trezevant," Handbook of Texas Online.


Scope and Contents

Photostats and transcripts of correspondence, a speech, legal documents, genealogy and family history, newspaper accounts, and literary productions comprise the Louis Trezevant Wigfall Papers, 1833-1874. The papers pertain to Wigfall's activities as a Confederate Senator during the Civil War, his political philosophy of states' rights, his support of slavery, and his advocacy of the admission of Texas as a slave state (1845). Additionally, the records document Wigfall's leadership in the Secession movement, the Confederate government, and the Civil War, as well as his exile in England after the Civil War. Included in the collection is a brief sketch of Wigfall's career published in the Galveston News, 1874, as well as a piece by J. L. Bagwell entitled "The Life and Services of L. T. Wigfall of Marshall, Texas, 1849-1860." The collection includes Wigfall's report as Chair of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs to establish one state university in Texas.


Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Bagwell, J. L.
Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant), 1818-1893
Bonham, Milledge L. (Milledge Luke), 1813-1890
Breckinridge, John C. (John Cabell), 1821-1875
Brooks, Preston S. (Preston Smith), 1819-1857
Brooks, Whitfield, 1790-1851
Burt, A. (Armistead), 1802-1883
Clay, C. C. (Clement Claiborne), 1816-1882
Hampton, Wade, 1818-1902
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863.
Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
Longstreet, James, 1821-1904
Lyons, James, 1801-1882
McCulloch, Ben, 1811-1862
Ochiltree, William B. (William Beck)
Preston, William, 1816-1887
Reagan, John H. (John Henninger), 1818-1905
Seddon, James A. (James Alexander), 1815-1880
Wigfall, Arthur
Wigfall, Halsey
Wigfall, Louis T. (Louis Trezevant), 1816-1874
Woodson, Hortense
Corporate Names
Confederate States of America. Congress. Senate
United States. Congress
Subjects
American Civil War (United States : 1861-1865)
Congresses and conventions
Exile (Punishment)
Lawyers
Legislators
Politicians
Politics and government
Secession
Slavery
States' rights (American politics)
Places
Austin
Confederate States of America
France
South Carolina
Texas
United Kingdom
Virginia
Washington, D.C.

Related Materials

See also the Paul C. Crusemann Collection, 1788-1932.

See also the Clyde Willis Lord Essays, 1925-1931.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Louis Trezevant Wigfall Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Accession Number(s)

1934; 1935

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center's History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.

Subsequent revisions by Colleen Hobbs, October 2020.


OCLC Number

776248569


Detailed Description of the Collection

Inventory

box
2H369 [SRH1230008384] Letters [Photostats], 1855-1873
box
2R299 [SRH1230011823] Family papers, 1860-1862
Speech delivered in the Confederate States Senate, "On Resolution in Respect to the Right of Congress to Suspend the Privilege of the Write of Habeas Corpus" , May 10, 1864
"The Life and Services of L. T. Wigfall of Marshall, Texas, 1849-1860" by J. L. Bagwell
Death of General Lewis (sic) T. Wigfall, brief sketch of his career, Galveston News , February 19, 1874
Letters to John L. Manning, 1839-1860
Letters of General Joseph Eggleston Johnston to Louis T. Wigfall, 1862-1868
box
2R300 [SRH1230011824] Papers, 1839-1860
Wigfall's report as Chair of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs to establish one state university in Texas; official State of Texas typescript copy, 1901
Existence and Location of Copies
Original copy of report is dated January 16, 1858.