(1734–1832) Revolutionary War army officer, U.S. Representative and U.S. senator. A Virginian, Sumter fought the Cherokee early in his career; he later became a planter and merchant in South Carolina. He also participated in colonial politics and served in a colonial Ranger unit that, when the Revolution broke out, fought against the British and became part of the Continental army. Sumter resigned his commission because of illness but returned to active duty in 1780 when his estate was plundered by the British. From then on, using volunteer troops, he fought with a vengeance against British efforts to take South Carolina, winning promotion to brigadier general and command of the South Carolina militia. To spur enlistment, he promised each volunteer a slave, a horse, and the right to keep looted items; this policy was vacated by the state governor. In 1782 Sumter again retired from the army. After the war he served in the state Senate (1781–82) and the state House of Representatives (1784–86, 1788); he voted against the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1789–93, 1797–1801), he advocated a limited federal government. In 1801 he was appointed to the Senate to fill an unexpired term, and he won election in his own right in 1805.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.