Sunday, March 17, 2024

Richard Stamper, 7th Kentucky Infantry: An Ancestor who Perished in the War

One of my interests in the war has been finding out about family members who served in the war. As this separate page shows, I have found several few relatives who served on the Union side (no Confederates have turned up in my searches yet) but until recently, I had not found any relative that had died during the war, at least until a cousin forwarded me this name.

Richard Stamper was born in about 1840 in Breathitt County, Kentucky, and enrolled in company D of the 7th Kentucky Infantry on September 3, 1861, in Booneville, Kentucky, in neighboring Owsley County. He officially mustered in on September 22 at Camp Dick Robinson.

His grandfather Richard Stamper Sr. was my 6 times great-grandfather, making this Richard Stamper my 1st cousin, 6 times removed. 

That is obviously a distant relation, but he was a relative. He was on my maternal side, part of my family that had so many members come from the hills of eastern Kentucky, especially Breathitt County. (One of these other relatives was Nimrod McIntosh, a 3-time great-grandfather of mine, who was in the same company as Richard.)

Richard was mortally wounded during the early part of the Vicksburg Campaign, falling victim at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou in Mississippi in the last days of 1862, before passing away on January 8 of the new year. 

This battle was an early attempt by William Sherman to capture the Confederate stronghold on the hills along the Mississippi River. This attack failed badly and ended in Confederate victory, with the Union suffering many more casualties than the Rebels. This meant that further attempts to capture the important city would be necessary and many other men on both sides would become casualties of war in the area.

The 7th Kentucky in this battle was a part of Colonel Daniel W. Lindsey's 2nd Brigade of Brigadier General George Washington Morgan's Third Division of Sherman's 13th Corps. 

Last year, I read and enjoyed Donald Miller's fine book Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign that Broke the Confederacy, but now I want to go back and read the section about this battle again. It will have a bit more meaning to me.

About two months after this, ironically, Nimrod McIntosh fell ill at Young's Point, Louisiana, and ended up hurting his back and transferring to the Veterans Reserve Corps, so both of my ancestors in this campaign ended up being casualties, though in different ways. (Nimrod survived the war and drew a pension for his disability.)

I see no evidence (yet) that Richard and Nimrod were related, but their presence in the same company almost assuredly means they knew each other, but how closely? Were they friends or just acquaintances? Perhaps they had met before the war, too, but those are genealogy questions for another day and platform.

Thank you for your sacrifice, cousin. Rest in peace. 

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