Henry A. Wise was a lawyer, a member of the United States House of Representatives (1832–1844), U.S. minister to Brazil (1844–1847), governor of Virginia (1856–1860) during‘s raid on , and a brigadier general in the Confederate army during the (1861–1865). Born in Accomack County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Wise rose to national prominence during the political turmoil of the late antebellum period. A fiery politician and gifted orator with a mercurial temperament, he advocated a number of progressive positions, including capital improvements in western Virginia, broadening Virginia’s electoral base through constitutional reform, and public funding for universal elementary education. Wise also was a stout defender of slavery and eventually became an ardent secessionist. Perhaps best known for being governor when Brown attempted to spark a slave rebellion at Harpers Ferry, Wise had the authority to commute Brown’s death sentence. Instead, he allowed the execution to take place, making possible the radical abolitionist’s ascension to martyrdom. After in 1861, Wise served in the Confederate army. In 1872, he supported U.S. president , the former Union general-in-chief, in his campaign for reelection.