Stephen F. Hale

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Stephen Fowler Hale
Stephen Fowler Hale.jpg
Deputy to the Provisional C.S. Congress from Alabama
In office
February 8, 1861 – February 17, 1862
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born Stephen Fowler Hale
(1816-01-31)January 31, 1816
Crittenden County, Kentucky, U.S.
Died July 18, 1862(1862-07-18) (aged 46)
Richmond, Virginia
Resting place Mesopotamia Cemetery
Eutaw, Alabama
Nationality Confederate
Spouse(s) Mary Kirksey
  • William Hale (son)
  • Fannie Hale (daughter)
  • Foster Hale (son)
  • Cicero Hale (son)
  • Eleanor Hale (daughter)
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States
Service/branch Provisional Army of the Confederate States
Years of service 1861–1862
Rank Confederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit 11th Alabama Regiment

American Civil War

Stephen Fowler Hale (January 1816 – July 1862) was an Alabaman politician and later a Confederate soldier. Stephen Fowler Hale, lawyer, was born January 31, 1816 in Crittenden County, Kentucky, and died July 18, 1862 in Richmond, Virginia as a result of wounds received in the battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia. His father was a Baptist minister, a South Carolinian, who married a Miss Manahan, of the same state.

Early life and education[edit]

Hale was a graduate of Cumberland University, came to Alabama about 1837, and taught school in Greene County for a year. He read law while teaching school, and in 1839 graduated from the law school at Lexington, Kentucky. Locating in Eutaw, he practiced at different times in association with Alexander Graham and T.C. Clarke.


In 1843 he was elected to the State legislature from Greene County. After serving his term in the house, he met and married Mary Kirksey on June 12, 1844[1] and retired to private life until the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, when he volunteered and was elected lieutenant of a company. He served in Mexico until the conclusion of peace in 1848, he then returned to Eutaw to his law practice. He was the nominee of his party for congress in 1853, but was defeated; was elected to the legislature again in 1857; was re-elected in 1859; and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alabama in 1859.

American Civil War[edit]

In December 1860, Hale, who was Alabama's commissioner to State of Kentucky at the time, wrote to that state's governor of Alabama's justification for secession. In it, he voiced support for the Dred Scott decision, condemned the Republican Party, and stated that the state's secession, which would perpetuate slavery, was the only way to prevent prospective freedmen, whom Hale referred to as "half-civilized Africans", from raping southern "wives and daughters":

[I]n the South, where in many places the African race largely predominates, and, as a consequence, the two races would be continually pressing together, amalgamation, or the extermination of the one or the other, would be inevitable. Can Southern men submit to such degradation and ruin? God forbid that they should. [...] [T]he election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions - nothing less than an open declaration of war - for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans.

— Stephen F. Hale, letter to the Governor of Kentucky, (December 1860)[2]

When the secession ordinance was passed, he was appointed commissioner to Kentucky by Governor Moore and delivered an able address before the legislation at Frankford. That same year, he was elected to represent his district in the provisional congress of the Confederacy. While holding that position, he was chosen as a lieutenant colonel of the 11th Alabama Infantry Regiment, and repaired with it to Virginia. He remained with that command until after the battle of Seven Pines, when he was temporarily assigned to the Ninth Alabama regiment and led it into battle. The fall of Col. Moore obliged him to return to the Eleventh regiment, which he led [3] at the Battle of Gaines' Mill,[4] sometimes known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia.

This was the third of the Seven Days Battles (Peninsula Campaign, March–July 1862). Original documentation of the battle, at the National Archives, Washington DC, states "S.F. Hale, Lt. Col 11th Ala. Regt. Appears on a Report of casualties, of the 4th Brigade, Longstreet's Division, in the action at Gaines' Mill, Va., June 27, 1862, Remarks: Dangerously wounded".[5]


Hale died of wounds on July 18, 1862 at Richmond, after lingering for 22 days. He was laid to rest in Mesopotamia Cemetery (Oak Hill), Greene County, Alabama, Burial Row/Column 34/34. His tombstone bears the epitaph "Statesman, Jurist, Patriot, Soldier & Christian Gentleman"[6]


Hale County, Alabama is named after him.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greene County, Alabama, Marriages, 1823-1860
  2. ^ Hale, Stephen F. (December 1860). "Letter of S.F. Hale, Commissioner of Alabama to the State of Kentucky, to Gov. Magoffin of Kentucky". Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ Clifton W. Crisler, Grand Masters of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama Who Served the Confederate States of America
  4. ^ National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior, The Civil War, Battles, Gaines' Mill
  5. ^ National Archives Trust Fund, Washington, DC, Series 1, Vol. 11, part 2, page 770.
  6. ^ Mesopotamia Cemetery, Greene County, Eutaw, Alabama
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 147. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Position established
Deputy in the C.S. Congress
from Alabama

February 8, 1861 – February 17, 1862
Succeeded by
Position abolished