Shingler's signature on Ordinance of Secession of South Carolina.
It was passed at St. Andrew's Hall on December 20, 1860
by a unanimous vote of 169 - 0.
William Pinkney Shingler was born in Orangeburg County, SC on November 11, 1827. He was a wealthy planter, banker and broker before the war. He was married three times, first to Harriet English then to Caroline English and lastly to Susan Ball Venning. William and his brother T. J. were partners as Shingler Brothers, exchange brokers in Charleston, SC. The Shingler Brothers speculated in cotton exports, and as the senior partner, William appears to have been especially daring in that risky but potentially very lucrative form of trade. Said to have been a man of commandingly handsome appearance, in 1856 he built a large house on Limehouse Street with the profits from this trade.
9 Limehouse Street, Charleston, SC.
Photo courtesy Library of Congress.
Follow this link to view a broadside for slave auction offered by the Shingler Brothers for "A Remarkably Prime Gang of 235 Negroes belonging to the Estate of the late General James Gadsen," - 1859
William was one of the signers of the Ordinance of Secession. At the outset of the war, he entered Confederate service as a staff member to then Colonel Clement Stevens. Later at 1st Bull Run, he served on the staff of Steven's brother-in-law, Brigadier Barnard Bee. Returning to SC, he took on the responsibility of forming an infantry/cavalry unit that would become known as the "Holcombe Legion". As it's Lt. Colonel, he took the legion into action against the federals on Edisto Island, SC in March 1862.
William's rank and responsibility grew in October 1862 when he became the Colonel and commander of the 7th SC Cavalry. Thereafter, he and the 7th saw action during the Petersburg campaign. In 1864 he ordered his troops to take no more black prisoners but rather to kill any blacks fighting for the Union. The Union's use of black troops had outraged the South, but the Confederacy agrees later in the year to treat blacks as prisoners of war rather than slaves. William was in line to receive a Brigadier Generalship but due to an apparent conflict with Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, the commission never came. William intentionally disregarded an order from the War Department to take command of another regiment. He resigned from the Confederate Army on May 30, 1864 and returned to SC to become that state's commander of militia. The following is a letter he wrote shortly before resigning:
HDQRS. CAVALRY, HOLCOMBE LEGION
March 6, 1864
Brigadier General Hunton
I send up four negro soldiers captured by Lieutenant Hume on the advance of the enemy from Williamsburg. In a conversation with General Elzey's assistant adjutant general some months since in the presence of General E., I think, it was suggested and sanctioned by General E. that the best disposition of such soldiers was to sell them and give the proceeds to the command capturing them. If such a proceeding is admissible you will allow the guard with the prisoners to proceed with them to Richmond, as they are instructed what to do with them, or you can let the guard go with them to General E. in case you do not feel authorized to act in the matter. I have directed Lieutenant Hume not to report any more such captures to me. I wrote you some days since that I had two men sentenced to hard labor on the public works, and asking you if you had any use for them at Chaffin's Farm, or where I should send them. Please answer me on this subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. Pinkney Shingler
Colonel, & c.
At the close of the war, William was a state senator from 1865 - 1867. He died on September 14, 1869 in Cordesville, SC and is buried in the Venning Family Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.