Stephen F. Hale

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Stephen F. Hale
Stephen Fowler Hale.jpg
Deputy from Alabama
to the Provisional Congress
of the Confederate States
In office
February 4, 1861 – February 17, 1862
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Stephen Fowler Hale

(1816-01-31)January 31, 1816
Crittenden County, Kentucky
DiedJuly 18, 1862(1862-07-18) (aged 46)
Richmond, Virginia
Resting placeMesopotamia Cemetery,
Eutaw, Alabama
Spouse(s)Mary Kirksey
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States
Branch/service Confederate States Army
Years of service1861–1862
RankConfederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit11th Alabama Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Stephen F. Hale (born Stephen Fowler Hale; January 31, 1816 – July 18, 1862) was an American politician who served as a Deputy from Alabama to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1862. In July 1862, he died of wounds received at the Battle of Gaines' Farm, in Virginia.

Early life and education[edit]

Hale was born on January 31, 1816, in Crittenden County, Kentucky. His father was a Baptist minister, a South Carolinian, who married a Miss Manahan, of the same state. He 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.

Political career[edit]

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.

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]

American Civil War[edit]

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 (established 1867), is named after him.[7]


  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.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  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
New constituency
Deputy from Alabama to the
Provisional Congress of the Confederate States

Succeeded by
Constituency abolished