One hundred twenty-eight manuscripts, 1843-1983, focus principally on the life of Andrew Bowie Wardlaw (1831-1888). The son of Robert Henry (1807-1887) and Eliza Bowie Wardlaw (1808-1883), of Abbeville, S.C. A.B. Wardlaw married Sarah Elizabeth Thompson (1837-1885), of Liberty Hill (Kershaw County, S.C.), in 1858.
Andrew Bowie Wardlaw’s career at South Carolina College is reflected in a set of student writings that cover topics such as the Spanish conquest of South America, the French Revolution, and Francis Marion. His success as a scholar is attested to in a series of letters of recommendations from professors Charles Pearce Pelham, Robert Henry, Matthew J. Williams, Francis Lieber, and James Henley Thornwell, all written upon his graduation in 1852. Of particular interest among them is Lieber’s recommendation congratulating Wardlaw for his “fair use of the College library, apart of the regular college pursuits.”
In 1861, after the outbreak of hostilities, Wardlaw joined the 14th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, and saw his first service near Tomotley on the South Carolina coast. In 1862 the unit was moved to Virginia and combined with the 12th and 13th South Carolina Volunteers into Gregg’s, later McGowan’s, Brigade. The unit saw heavy action in Virginia and was with Lee at the surrender at Appomattox. Wardlaw maintained a regular correspondence with his wife from 1862 to 1865 from the coast of South Carolina and camps in West Virginia near Harper’s Ferry and Martinsburg, and the Virginia localities of Richmond, Bunker Hill, Orange, Winchester, Fredericksburg, and Petersburg. As a commissary officer, he provides a unique perspective on camp life and the battles in which the brigade participated.
Writing in a diary entry of 15 September 1862, Wardlaw described the capture of Harper's Ferry by Confederate forces. Along with the surrender of “ten thousand or more men,” according to his calculations, “not less than 1200 negroes were captured and restored to their owners.” He then describes the supplies and military equipment seized by the Confederates—“Forty six pieces of superb artillery (part of which number was taken from our vessels crossing the Atlantic) a vast quantity of small arms, cavalry and artillery equipment, horses, ammunition, Q.M and Com’ry stores were among the trophies.” “The large number of wagons and teams was probably the most valuable acquisition,” he suggests.
After the war A.B. Wardlaw returned to Abbeville, S.C., where he owned a tenant plantation with his uncle David Lewis Wardlaw (1799-1873). An annual labor contract from January 1866 gives descriptions of the financial and occupational agreements between the two landowners and the freed persons living and working on the plantation.
Andrew’s oldest and youngest sons, Patterson (1859-1948) and James (b. 1881), are also represented in the collection, the former through two letters—30 December 1902, from State Superintendent of Education John J. McMahan, commending Patterson Wardlaw’s skill as “a teacher of Pedagogical Psychology,” and 26 April 1907, from James Rion McKissick at Harvard Law School, relating an account of a lecture in which South Carolina College professor R. Means Davis stressed the need for remembrance of “great men who have been connected with this college.” The younger son was awarded the title “Student Distinguished and Proficient” during 1899 and 1901, his freshman and sophomore years at South Carolina College.
The collection also contains genealogical information in the form of obituaries and twentieth-century family correspondence; a nineteenth-century photograph album of cartes-de-visite, featuring an 1860 portrait of South Carolina governor F.W. Pickens taken in St. Petersburg, Russia, and likenesses of members of the Bowie, Livingston, Mabry, Wardlaw, and White families; and seven individual portraits, among them Andrew Bowie Wardlaw, Jr., Eliza Bowie Wardlaw, Sarah Elizabeth Thompson Wardlaw, Robert Henry Wardlaw, and Patterson Wardlaw. The portrait of Robert Henry Wardlaw and one of two unidentified photographs were taken at J.T. Winburn’s studio in Sumter, S.C.