Hunter, David

Life Span
Full name
David Hunter
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
Slave State
No. of Spouses
Richard Stockton (maternal grandfather), Andrew Hunter (father), Mary Stockton (mother), Maria Indiana Kinzie (wife)
West Point (US Military Academy)
Relation to Slavery
White non-slaveholder
US military (Pre-Civil War)
Union Army

David Hunter (American National Biography)

In 1860 Hunter furthered his career through deft manipulation of the newly elected president Abraham Lincoln. From Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Hunter began a correspondence with Lincoln. His ploy resulted in an invitation from the president to travel aboard the inaugural train from Illinois to the nation's capital. Soon after the Civil War began, Hunter wrangled command of a division even though he was only a colonel in the regular army, having been promoted in May 1861. He participated in the 1861 First Bull Run (First Manassas) campaign, but he was wounded early in the battle…Lincoln elevated Hunter to major general of volunteers. Later that year Lincoln persuaded him to serve under General John C. Frémont in a perilous situation in the Mississippi River basin…Lincoln relieved Frémont of command in part because of Frémont's attempt to liberate the slaves within his command's span of control. When Hunter was dispatched in March 1862 to the Department of the South, a position of relative obscurity on Union-held islands along the South Carolina coast, he repeated Frémont's political gaffe. On 9 May 1862 he decreed that all slaves inside his lines were "free for ever." Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton reacted immediately, revoking Hunter's order. Forced to make his policy absolutely clear, Lincoln stated, "No commanding general shall do such a thing, upon my responsibility, without consulting me." Despite Hunter's faulty assumption of authority, Lincoln still regarded the general as a friend.
Rod Paschall, "Hunter, David," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Date Event
- The first pitched battle of the war between armies results in a Union disaster at Bull Run
General Frémont consolidates his forces and moves against the Confederate invasion of Missouri with five divisions
President Lincoln forms two new Army Departments in the South
Major General David Hunter takes command of the Union Army's new Department of the South
- In coastal Georgia, Fort Pulaski endures a thirty hour Union bombardment before surrendering
Without authority, Union General David Hunter declares all slaves in three states "forever free"
President Lincoln declares void Union General David Hunter's South Carolina declaration of emancipation
General Hunter takes his leave after an eventful year as head of the Department of the South
Abraham Lincoln returns to Springfield, Illinois where his remains lay in state in the State House
In Washington, the officers of the military court for John Wilkes Booth's accused fellow plotters are named
In Washington, membership of the military court for John Wilkes Booth's accused fellow plotters is adjusted
In Washington, the accused Lincoln Assassination plotters all plead not guilty before their military court
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial begins
- In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial continues
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial concludes
- In Washington's Old Penitentiary, final arguments are being made in the Lincoln conspiracy trial
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the Commission in the Lincoln conspiracy trial begin their deliberations
In Washington, President Andrew Johnson approves the sentences passed down to the Lincoln conspirators
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the Lincoln conspirators are told their fate in their cells
More than a hundred general officers of volunteers are mustered out of the Union Army
How to Cite This Page: "Hunter, David," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,