Cabinet Card Image of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham
Statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park in Richmond, Va.
Cabinet Card Image of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham – This image of General Wickham appears to have been taken in the late 1870s or early 1880s. During the time when this image would have been made, Wickham served as Chairman of the Hanover County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors, was a Virginia State Senator and an officer of the C&O Railroad. The image is in excellent condition and is housed in its original, finely carved frame, with its original glass. The image is back marked as follows: “Anderson, Richmond, Va.” – D. H. Anderson, photographer, is listed as active, in Richmond, in the 1870s. This framed image was found at Hickory Hill Plantation, in Hanover County, Va., the ancestral home of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham. The contents of this still extant house, were auctioned off in 2006. The image was gifted to one of the owners of Perry Adams Antiques, by the Great-Great Grandson of Gen. Wickham, John G. Wickham, at the time of the auction. The buyer will be provided with a notarized description of provenance. The image measures as follows: Frame – 8.75” x 5.5”; image – 6.5” x 4.25”.
Williams Carter Wickham was the son of William Fanning Wickham and Anne Butler (née Carter) Wickham. His paternal grandfather was John Wickham, the famed constitutional lawyer. Wickham was born in Richmond, Virginia, but spent much of his youth on his father’s 3,200-acre plantation, Hickory Hill, which is located about 20 miles north of Richmond and 5 miles east of Ashland, in Hanover County, Va. Hickory Hill was long an outlying appendage to Shirley Plantation, with much of the property having come into possession of the Carter family by a deed dated March 2, 1734.
Williams Wickham was graduated from the University of Virginia and was admitted to the bar, in 1842. He married Lucy Penn Taylor and had several children. He became a justice and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1849. In 1858, Wickham was commissioned captain of a Virginia volunteer militia cavalry unit, and in 1861 he was elected, by the people of Henrico County, to the state convention, as a Unionist, where he voted against the articles of secession.
In September 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, Wickham was commissioned, by Governor John Letcher of Virginia, as a lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. On May 4, 1862, he incurred a severe saber wound during a cavalry charge, at the Battle of Williamsburg. Because of the severity of his injury, Wickham was captured, but was quickly paroled. In August 1862, he was commissioned Colonel of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. At the Battle of Sharpsburg, he was wounded again, this time in the neck, by a shell fragment. He would recover to participate in the battles of Chancellorsville, Brandy Station and Gettysburg.
Wickham was commissioned brigadier general on September 9, 1863, and put in command of Wickham’s brigade, of Fitzhugh Lee‘s division. On May 11, 1864, he fought at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, where Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded. During this engagement, Stuart’s final order was: “Order Wickham to dismount his brigade and attack.”
Wickham resigned his commission on October 5, 1864, and took his seat in the Second Confederate Congress, to which he had been elected, while in the field. Gen. Wickham soon realized that the Confederacy was near its demise, so he participated in the Hampton Roads Conference, in an attempt to bring an early end to the war.
Throughout the years after the Civil War, while developing railroads, Wickham also maintained an active political life. He maintained his offices in Richmond and at his residence in Hanover County. He was elected chairman of the Hanover County, Virginia Board of Supervisors in 1871 and a Senator, in the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly, in 1883. Wickham was an officer of the C&O, holding all of the aforementioned, at the time of his death, on July 23, 1888, at his office in Richmond. Wickham was interred in Hickory Hill Cemetery near Ashland, Virginia. A statue of Williams Carter Wickham was donated to the City of Richmond, by the general’s comrades and employees of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, in 1891 and was placed in Monroe Park, a city park in Richmond.