1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wheeler, Joseph
WHEELER, JOSEPH (1836–1906), American soldier, was born at Augusta, Georgia, in 1836, and entered the United States cavalry from West Point in 1859. Within two years the Civil War broke out, and Wheeler, as a Southerner, resigned to enter the Confederate service. In a short time he became colonel of the 19th Alabama Infantry, with which he took part in the desultory operations of 1861 in Kentucky and Tennessee. He commanded a brigade at the battle of Shiloh, but soon afterwards he returned to the cavalry arm in which he won a reputation second only to Stuart's. After the action of Perryville he was promoted brigadier-general, and in January 1863 major-general. Thenceforward throughout the campaigns of Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Atlanta he commanded the cavalry of the Confederate army in the West, and when Hood embarked upon the Tennessee expedition, he left Wheeler's cavalry to harass Sherman's army during the "March to the Sea." In the closing operations of the war, having now the rank of lieutenant-general, he commanded the cavalry of Joseph Johnston's weak army in North Carolina, and was included in its surrender. After this he became a lawyer and a cotton planter and in 1882–83 and 1885–1900 was a representative in Congress. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, President M'Kinley, in pursuance of the policy of welding the North and the South, commissioned two ex-Confederate generals—Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee—as major generals of United States volunteers, and in this capacity Wheeler was placed in command of the cavalry division of Shafter's army in Cuba. He commanded in the actions of Guasimas and San Juan, was afterwards sent to the Philippines in command of a brigade, and in 1900 was commissioned a brigadier-general in the regular army. Shortly afterwards he retired. General Wheeler died on the 25th of January 1906.