Evander McIver Law was born in Darlington, in Darlington County, South Carolina. He was the first child and oldest son of eleven children born to Ezekiel Augustus Law, an attorney, judge and legislator, and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” McIver. His paternal grandfather, William Law, at the age of sixteen became a soldier in the Revolutionary armies. A maternal great-grandfather, Abel Kolb, fought in the American Revolutionary War under Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" guerilla leader. His maternal grandfather, E. R. McIver. was a prominent citizen of South Carolina; during the nullification troubles in the 1830s, he was commissioned as a Brigadier-General of South Carolina troops, when the state was threatening to leave the Union and raising an army.
|Darlington, Darlington County, South Carolina|
|South Carolina Military Acadmey in Charleston|
|Kings Mountain Military Academy in Yorkville|
|Law as a Colonel|
Law recovered, although his left arm was stiff and almost useless, and returned to the regiment. He was promoted to colonel on October 28, 1861, and assumed command of what would become known as the "Alabama Brigade" under General James Longstreet in the Army of Northern Virginia in May 1862.
|Law, front center, with his staff in 1862|
His left arm was injured at the First Battle of Bull Run
|John Bell Hood|
|Illustration of Battle of Gaines Mill, by Alfred Waud|
|Confederate Dead at Antietam|
|Dunker's Chapel, Antietam Battlefield|
Late in the afternoon of the 16th, the enemy's skirmishers advanced into the woods in front of my position. They were held in check by my riflemen and the Texas skirmishers. In the mean time I was ordered by General Hood, commanding the division, to move forward and occupy the edge of the wood in which the skirmishing was going on. This was quickly accomplished, and the enemy was driven, at dark, to the farther side of the wood, toward the Antietam. My brigade was relieved during the night, and moved, with the rest of General Hood's command, to the wood in rear of Saint Mumma's Church (Dunkers' Chapel).
Soon after daylight on the 17th, the attack of the enemy commenced. The battle had lasted about an hour and a half, when I was ordered to move forward into the open field across the turnpike. On reaching the road, I found but few of our troops on the field, and these seemed to be in much confusion, but still opposing the advance of the enemy's dense masses with determination. Throwing the brigade at once into line of battle, facing northward, I gave the order to advance. The Texas Brigade, Colonel Wofford, had in the mean time come into line on my left, and the two brigades now moved forward together. The enemy, who had by this time advanced half-way across the field and had planted a heavy battery at the north end of it, began to give way before us, though in vastly superior force. The Fifth Texas Regiment (which had been sent over to my right) and the Fourth Alabama pushed into the wood in which the skirmishing had taken place the evening previous, and drove the enemy through and beyond it. The other regiments of my command continued steadily to advance in the open ground, driving the enemy in confusion from and beyond his guns. So far, we had been entirely successful and everything promised a decisive victory. It is true that strong support was needed to follow up our success, but this I expected every moment.
At this stage of the battle, a powerful Federal force (ten times our number) of fresh troops was thrown in our front. Our losses up to this time had been very heavy; the troops now confronting the enemy were insufficient to cover properly one-fourth of the line of battle; our ammunition was expended; the men had been fighting long and desperately and were exhausted from want of food and rest. Still, they held their ground, many of them using such ammunition as they could obtain from the bodies of our own and the enemy's dead and wounded.
It was evident that this state of affairs could not long continue. No support was at hand. To remain stationary or advance without it would have caused a useless butchery, and I adopted the only alternative-that of falling back to the wood from which I had first advanced. The enemy followed very slowly and cautiously. Under direction of General Hood I reformed my brigade in the rear of Saint Mumma's Church (Dunkers' Chapel), and, together with the Texas Brigade, which had also retired, again confronted the enemy, who seemed to hesitate to enter the wood. During this delay re-enforcements arrived, and the brigade was relieved for the purpose of obtaining ammunition.
At 1 p. m., having been supplied with ammunition, I was again ordered to the field, and took position in the wood near the church. Here the brigade remained, under an incessant cannonade, until near nightfall, when it was moved [one]half mile nearer the town of Sharpsburg, where it lay during the night and the following day.
The good conduct of my brigade in this battle had not been surpassed by it in any previous engagement. Weak and exhausted as they were, and fighting against fearful odds, the troops accomplished and endured all that was within the limits of human capacity. Our loss in proportion to the numbers engaged was extremely heavy.
|Evander McIver Law|
|View from Little Round Top|
Illustration by Edwin Forbes
|Little Round Top from Devil's Den|
|Confederate Dead at Devil's Den|
Law also managed to save a large portion of the Army of Northern Virginia at the closing of the battle. Realizing that Lee’s troops were exposed, Law personally relocated two regiments and an artillery unit in order to protect its retreat. Witnessing this, General Benning would later write, “Lee’s baggage and rear were saved. There was nothing else to protect them; this was an exploit that excited my admiration. Never was anything better
|Confederate Troops Advancing at Chickamauga|
Illustration by Alfred Waud
Confederate Gen. Bragg recognized that the "cracker line" would spell the end of the siege of Chattanooga, and on October 28, ordered Longstreet to take his corps and seize control of Lookout Valley. Longstreet decided to send only Hood's division to deal with the two enemy corps. Jenkins quickly planned a night attack on the railhead at Wauhatchie, to be made by two brigades, his own and that of General Henry Benning. Simultaneous to the attack at Wauhatchie, and over a mile distant, a holding action near Brown's Ferry was to be made by the Texas brigade and Law's brigade. Already outnumbered, Jenkins further aggravated his situation by failing to utilize General George Anderson's brigade, also of Hood's division, and a sizable portion of the Hampton Legion Infantry, of his own brigade. As the battle broke out, Jenkins rode to Wauhatchie, on the extreme left of his widely dispersed division, instead of placing himself in a position where he could attempt to coordinate all of his troops. The ensuing engagement was a Confederate defeat. Jenkins later claimed that Law quit his holding mission prematurely. Law, and General Jerome Robertson, commanding the Texas brigade, claimed they acted in accordance with orders.
|Cold Harbor Burial Party|
After the war, Law administered the extensive agricultural holdings and railroad interests in the South Carolina estate of his father-in-law, William Albert Latta, who had died in July 1865. Law and his wife had six children - four lived to adulthood: Evander McIver, Edwin Augustus, Annie and William Latta Law. Two of his sons became doctors, and William became a civil engineer.
|Law, later in life|
In his speech, he said "It is true that the Federal government overthrew secession...but has it relieved it from the danger of revolution and internal dissension in other forms and from other causes?" Law maintained that the "vast accumulation of wealth" to so few people might cause the United States problems in its future. He believed that giving so much power to so few was the biggest reason for corruption and decay within our nation.
General Law considers the most important questions demanding the attention of our people to be the race problem, the liquor question, and that great and vital problem, the necessity for an honest and just government.
A man of pronounced opinions and strong convictions he does not hesitate to declare himself in favor of lynching for certain crimes.
Though he has passed the three score and ten mark, he is yet active in the discharge of his daily duties, and by a life of fidelity to every trust has won the esteem of a constituency which extends from the Potomac to the Rio Grande.
listed as having past away after a week’s illness. Law was the last surviving general of the Army of the Confederacy.
|Law Monument in Bartow, Florida|
|Alabama State Monument, Gettysburg|
McMaster asserted that the papers belong to South Carolina because they were among the official documents that the governor ordered spirited out of Columbia in February 1865 in advance of the Union army under Gen. William T. Sherman.
"The State of South Carolina is not contending that the Law family did anything illegal," said Trey Walker, a spokesman for McMaster. "But these letters are just as much part of the [state] archives, and just as much state property, as if they were taken out of the governor's office today."Krawchek, suggested that the state will have a hard time making its case. "The state maintains that these are public records, but we don't even know if that's true," Krawchek said. And even if it is determined that they are public records, he said, "Were they abandoned? Or given away? We don't know that. Everybody at the time thought that General Law was the right one to keep these." He said Willcox's father received the collection from his aunt, Blanche Law, Evander McIver Law's granddaughter.State Archivist Rodger Stroup alerted the attorney general's office to the planned auction.
"I personally haven't looked at them that closely," said Stroup, who is director of the South Carolina Department. of Archives and History. "My staff realized that these constituted a body of records of the government," and that therefore, by state law, they belonged to South Carolina. "They're the official papers of the governors during the war," Stroup said, "and they reflect the thinking of the government, and military information. We'd like to have the originals back."
Krawchek, meanwhile, said, "Collectors should be nervous" over the state's contention that, despite the passage of nearly 140 years, "once it's a government document, it's always a government document."