WHEELER, Joseph, a Representative from Alabama; born in Augusta, Ga., September 10, 1836; attended local schools and the Episcopal Academy, Cheshire, Conn.; was graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1859; attended the Cavalry School at Carlisle, Pa., 1859-1860; transferred to the Mounted Rifles June 26, 1860; second lieutenant September 1, 1860, and served in New Mexico; resigned from the United States Army February 27, 1861; appointed lieutenant of Artillery in the Confederate Army on April 3, 1861; successively promoted to the grade of colonel, brigadier general, and major general, and was commissioned lieutenant general in February 1865; in 1862 was assigned to the command of the Army Corps of Cavalry of the Western Army, continuing in that position until the war closed; senior Cavalry general of the Confederate Armies May 11, 1864; studied law; was admitted to the bar and engaged in practice at Wheeler, Ala., and also became a planter; presented credentials as a Democratic Member-elect to the Forty-seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1881, to June 3, 1882, when he was succeeded by William M. Lowe, who contested his election; subsequently elected to the same Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William M. Lowe and served from January 15 to March 3, 1883; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth and to the seven succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1885, to April 20, 1900, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Fiftieth Congress), Committee on Territories (Fifty-third Congress); served in the Spanish-American War; commissioned major general of Volunteers May 4, 1898, and assigned to command of a Cavalry division, United States Army; senior member of the commission which negotiated the surrender of Santiago and the Spanish Army in Cuba; during the Philippine Insurrection commanded the First Brigade, Second Division, Eighth Army Corps, in the Tarlac campaign and in several other operations in central Luzon from July 8, 1899, to January 24, 1900; commissioned brigadier general in the United States Regular Army June 16, 1900; retired September 10, 1900; died in Brooklyn, N.Y., January 25, 1906; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Wheeler, Joseph,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000338.
Wheeler, who was known as "Fighting Joe," was one of the most active field commanders of the Civil War. A veteran of 200 major engagements, he was wounded three times, lost sixteen horses, and witnessed thirty-six staff officers fall by his side. In a military establishment renowned for superb cavalry leadership, his record is second only to Nathan B. Forrest in terms of successful small-scale actions. Wheeler crystalized his views on mounted warfare in the manual Cavalry Tactics (1863). Although he lacked the strategic acumen of Stuart and his performance during large-scale independent operations was unspectacular, in terms of raiding, screening, and covering the rear of a retreating force, Wheeler was unsurpassed by any other trooper, Union or Confederate.
John C. Fredriksen , "Wheeler, Joseph," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/05/05-00828.html.