Red Shirts

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RED SHIRTS. Even though they wore shirts of various colors, this name was given to Democrat Wade Hampton's supporters, who in 1876 helped the former Confederate general become governor of South Carolina. Their core consisted of 290 clubs, composed of 14,350 men. They intimidated black voters and joined Hampton parades on foot or on horses or mules. Hundreds of uniformed blacks also joined Democratic parades in support of Hampton. Some thought Hampton, a paternalist, would bring peace and an end to corruption; others were bribed or intimidated into wearing red shirts. White and black Red Shirts also participated in Hampton's reelection in 1878.


Drago, Edmund L. Hurrah for Hampton: Black Red Shirts in South Carolina During Reconstruction. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1998.

Simkins, Francis Butler, and Robert Hilliard Woody. South Carolina During Reconstruction. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1932.

Zuczek, Richard. State of Rebellion: Reconstruction in South Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Edmund L.Drago