Color Bearer of the 76th Regiment

Cherry Valley Gazette, Nov. 12, 1862

In the valley just beyond the city of Frederick, Md., lying upon their arms is the great army of Maj. Gen. McClellan, eighty thousand men, veterans of many hard fought fields; scathed defenders of the stars and stripes. They sleep in line of battle. - Their brawny hands grasping their polished guns. Their sunburned faces half buried in the hot sand. For eight miles they lie stretched along the plain. Not a sound is in the air. A few horsemen sitting in groups. A few officers in earnest conversation and here and there a sentinel walking wearily his appointed beat, slumbering, silent, motionless, peaceful, as the great mountain before them, awaking terrible as the thunder of God, destructive as the breaking forth of subterraneous fires.

Among that sleeping host slumbers the color bearer of the 76th; a light-haired boy. Nothing distinguishes him from his comrades save, perhaps, a more girlish lip and brow and occasionally a strange mild light flashing from his blue eyes. He sleeps with the colors lying across his breast. Lovingly he holds them as ever his mother held him when in infancy she rocked him over on her hear. Hark! A wild sound is on the air; thrilling shivering across the plain - ringing along the valley, dying away among the distant gorges of the hills. That bugle blast called the sleeping thousands to their feet. - They move a long winding river of changing fire.

Their enemy is before them, rather their enemy is above them, not in the heavens above them, but on the top of South Mountain. They are no puny foe, but an army of desperate men in their own chosen position. Rifle pits dug, embankments thrown up, oaken breastworks reared, and fortifications of solid rock, all the handiwork of nature for holier use. They are to be dislodged, routed from their position, whipped from their lairs; a fanged brood of nesting vipers, they are to be driven from their mountain holes with fire.

Hooker’s corps is given (of course) the honored place of fire, Doubleday’s Brigade, the glory of the fiery furnace. Steadily they cross the plain, steadily they commence to ascend the mountain. The earth rocks beneath them with the roar of cannon! The air is full of bursting bombs, whistling bullets, screaming shells, howling cannon shot, and broken limbs, and fragments of broken rocks, whirl and plunge and screech about, and comrades fall at every step. They do not waver, do not falter. They are on the extreme left of Doubleday’s brigade, and on the left of the corps moves in the front rank, the colors of the 76th. They are not wound about the shaft, or held folded in the hand of the bearer from sight. They are all unfurled, every stripe in full view of the foe.

An hour passes, the conflict deepens. The old dismantled wood are full of death.- Death, the seeming victor, walks gloomily the din forest aisles. In all the widespread desolation there is at least one visible glory: the color bearer of the 76th, holding proudly above his head the shattered and bloodstained National Flag.

They have gained much. Not victory, simply a chance to bring Northern men and Southern men face to face. The struggle is hand to hand; the enemy, alas, having the fearful advantage - the shadow of a dark wood, and breastwork of rocks. General Hatch being in command of this division, came dashing down the line from the right and halting at our brigade, asked explosively, "whose brigade is this?" "Mine, Sir," said General Doubleday. "Whip them," said he, pointing to the enemy, from that wall, and disappeared like a meteor in the shadow of the wood. "Boys," said Gen. Doubleday, "three cheers for the stars and stripes, and then at them." The woods rang with the shout that followed those brave words and they did at them.

No line of very devils could have stood that charge of blazing steel. The enemy reeled, faltered, fell back in confusion to the woods. In a moment the colors of the 76th were planted on that wall. The bearer is yet unscathed. He holds them firmly, though a thousand bullets split the air about him at ever breath. Brave boy, immortal youth, full ready to die, God keep thee. - The sun was set, its last rays lingered on his flushed brow. On the wall, the glory crowned flag above him; fair mark for dastard foe. The great soul flashing from his eye, in that hour should have withered the arm lifted to strike him. His work was done, his niche finished high up in the temple of fame.

The arm of a concealed foe was lifted. - The fatal ball came hissing from the rifle, and the brave spirit of Charles E. Stamp went shining into the presence of God. Full on the brow, crushing into the brain, he fell amid fire and smoke, bringing for the first time since he took the colors to the earth. They were prostrate but a moment. Lieut. Goddard caught them as they fell. The Lieutenant looked down upon the face of the dead, and with an eye of more than fire and a voice that will not be forgotten by those that heard it, he called out: "Who is the next brave who dare take these colors?" "I am the boy," was heard above the din of battle, and Earl Evens, another light-haired, blue-eyed boy, grasped the flag and waved the colors defiantly in the face of the enemy.

For a moment, the battle raged with intenser fury. The fate of the day was being decided. No mortal could divine on which side victory would turn. The time that tries men’s souls had come. The material out of which Northern hearts is made was being tried by fire. It stood the heat.

Charles E. Stamp died on the 14th of September 1862. He was buried on the top of South Mountain, an oak slab marks the spot where he lies. A truer, braver soldier does not live. Earl Evens is now the color bearer of the 76th, through the terrible battle of Antietam he carried them with distinguished bravery and honor. May heaven shield him in the storms of death, through which he may soon be called to pass.

H.S. RICHARDSON. Chaplain, 76th N. Vols.

(Note: Evens, from Dryden, survived the war, eventually becoming a first lieutenant.)

- provided by Richard Palmer


The Regimental History of the 76th NY (A.P. Smith, 1867) has this entry (pg. 153):

Charles E. Stamp, of company A, who was promoted to color-bearer for gallantry in saving the colors at Gainsville, was carrying the colors on this occasion. As the Regiment was ordered to advance, not obeying quite as promptly as this hero desired, he rushed forward about a rod in advance of the Regiment, while the bullets were falling thickly around him, and, planting the flag staff firmly in the ground, shouted, "There, come up to that!" But he made too good a mark, and before the Regiment had time to obey the order, a fatal ball pierced his forehead, and "Charley Stamp", one of the truest and best men in the Regiment, was mustered out of the army militant and mustered into the army triumphant. 


The following information taken from Charles Stamp's father Abner's pension application #258622 filed by reason of Charles' support of him and his death during the Civil War.

Abner Stamp and Elizabeth Crandall were married by Lucius Tracy Justice of the Peace. Folowing their marriage they lived in Town of Reading, Schuyler County, New York. Abner purchased a small tract of timbered land, cleared it up, built a log house and by 1867 had a small farm of about 70 acres. The couple had twelve children all of whom lived to maturity. The family names and birth dates are as follows from a transcript of the family bible:

Name Born Married Died

Parents

 

Abner Stamp December 8, 1799 December 8, 1829   

Elizabeth Crandall

November 6, 1807

December 8, 1829

Aug. 5, 1853

Children

 

William K. Stamp September 18, 1830 January 1, 18--  

Benjamin F. Stamp

November 22, 1831

 

 

Sally L. Stamp

 August 29, 1833

Jan 17, 1863

 

Lucretia M. Stamp

February 18, 1836

October

May 18, 1865

Andrew H. Stamp

August 28, 1837

September 29, 1875

 

Abner N. Stamp

May 14, 1839

 

November 7, 1867

Charles E. Stamp

April 9, 1841

 

Sept. 14,1862

John N. Stamp

 July 29, 1842

 

Eliza J. Stamp

 July 16, 1844

 July 9, 1866

Albert H. Stamp

November 17, 1845

 

 

Francis M. Stamp

September 18, 1847

 

 

Luella D. Stamp

December 8, 1848

 

 

 Seven of Abner's sons served in the Union Army during the Civil War. They were William, Benjamin, Andrew, Abner, Charles, John and Albert. All survived the war except Charles.

Charles wrote to his father often during his service with the 76th but his father was unable to find any of his letters when he applied for a pension in 1879. By this time his family had all left the farm and he lived the last 10 years or so by himself being supported mainly by the charity of his remaining children who were also in poor conditions.

Charles had supported his father for about five years previous to his enlistment by working as a day worker on the farms nearby. He was known to divide his wages up with his father to assist him in maintaining the household. The neighbors who lived next door to Abner indicated that Charles was his father's favorite son and that Charles had a deep affection for his father.

Charles had no children and was never married before his death.

The following depositions were from several of Charles' comrades in the 76th NY who were witness to his death and service with the regiment.


Deposition of Colonel William P. Wainwright commander of the 76th New York during the battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862.

State of New York
County of Madison
December 8, 1879

In the matter of the application of Abner Stamp for a pension by reason of the death of his son Charles E. Stamp killed in battle. Personally came before me a Notary Public in and for said County & State, William P. Wainwright aged 61 years, a citizen of the Town of Cazenovia, County of Madison, State of New York, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit and being duly sworn declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows. 

That in the year 1862, he was Colonel of the 76th Regiment, New York Volunteers. That Charles E. Stamp a private in Co. A, Capt. Grover's Company was promoted to be Color Sergeant of said Regiment shortly before the 14th day of September 1862 and that said Stamp was killed on said day (14th Sept. 1862) at the battle of South Mountain in the State of Maryland, while in the line of his duty. I further declare that I have no interest in said case. I am not concerned in its prosecution and am not related to the applicant.

Wm P. Wainwright


Deposition of James C. Hatch, Sergeant in Co. C, acting as commanding officer of Co. C 76th NY Vol. Infantry during the battle of South Mountain.

State of New York
County of Tompkins
December 11, 1879

In the matter of the application of Abner Stamp a dependant father for a pension. Personally came before me a Notary Public in and for said County and state James C. Hatch, aged 45 years a citizen of the Town of Groton, County of Tompkins, State of New York well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit and who being duly sworn declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows. 

That I was a Sergeant of Company C, in the 76th Regt. U.S. Vol. at the battle of South Mountain Md. on the 14th day of September 1862. That at said battle there was no commissioned officer in command of said Company, and that I being a Sergeant had command of Co. C, at the battle of South Mountain, Md. I saw Charles E. Stamp; the Color Sergeant of said Regiment killed on said 14th of September 1862. That I stood close by him at the time, a minnie ball struck him in the forehead and killed him instantly, while in the line of his duty. That the Colonel who commanded said Regiment at said battle, was W.P. Wainwright, who was wounded at that battle. He further declares that he has no interest in said case and is not concerned in its prosecution and is not related to said applicant.

James C. Hatch


Deposition of James L. Goddard, First Lieutenant of Company G, 76th New York Vol. Infantry about Charles E. Stamps death and recovery of the regimental flag.

State of New York
County of Cortland
January 1880

In the matter of Abner Stamp for a pension by reason of the death of his son Charles E. Stamp killed at S. Mountain, Md. Personally came before me, a clerk of the Supreme & County Courts in and for aforesaid County and State James L. Goddard, aged 48 years and citizen of the Town of Truxton, County of Cortland, State of New York, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case, as follows:

That he was a first Lieutenant of Company G 76th N.Y. Vols. in the month of Sept. 1862. That he was well acquainted with Charles E. Stamp of Company A of the same Regt. Deponent further says that the said C. E. Stamp was Color Bearer for said Regt. and at the battle of South Mountain on the 14th day of Sept. 1862 the said Charles E. Stamp was killed by a shot from the enemy that deponent saw the said Stamp when he fell and took the colors out of his hands and placed them in other hands that the said Stamp was shot through the head and died imediately (sic).

He further declares that he (has) no interest in said case, and is not concerned in its prosecution, and is not related to the applicant.

James L. Goddard


Depositions of Lyman Culver, Co. "A", 76th New York Vol. Infantry regarding Charles E. Stamps enlistment , death and burial on South Mountain, Md.

State of New York
County of Schuyler
1881

In the matter of the application of Abner Stamp for a pension by reason of the death of his son Charles E. Stamp. Personally came before me a Justice of the peace in said County and State, Lyman Culver aged 39 years a Citizen of the Town of Rushville in the County of Yates and State of New York well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit and who being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows. 

That he knew the said Charles E. Stamp long before he enlisted in the 76th Regt. commanded by Col. W.W. (sic) Wainwright and in Capt. Grover's Company "A" N.Y. Vol. That they worked together as farm hands in the town of Reading Schuyler County New York. That he frequently heard the said Charles E. Stamp, say he, divided his earning with his father. That while they were in the army, they were together much of the time, and the said Charles E. Stamp frequently spoke of his father, and was much concerned for his welfare. That at one time, when their company was paid of at the Lacy plantation near Fredericksburg, Va. They received each $52 in money and he knows the said Charles E. Stamp sent $26 of the money he received to his father. That he has been acquainted with the said Abner Stamp for many years to inst. For about 25 years, and knew all his children 12 in number, and he knows the said Abner Stamp has been for 20 years in poor and needy circumstances. That said Abner Stamp depended upon his son Charles E. Stamp for assistance. That all of said Abner Stamp's children except the said Charles were married, and unable to assist there said father.

That he would further say that the said Charles E. Stamp when killed at South Mountain Sept 14, 1863 sic (2) was a member of Co. "B" instead of Co. "C" as this affiant heretofore stated in his deposition of Oct 15, 1879 before N. W. Green a justice of the peace in and for the County of Yates, State of New York, and that the Col. who commanded the 76th Regt. US Vol. at the Battle of South Mountain was W. P. Wainwright instead of W.W. Wainwright and this affidavit is made in addition to the one aforesaid and he further declares that he has no interest in said case and is not concerned in its prosecution and is not related to said applicant.

Lyman Culver


State of New York
County of Yates
February 16, 1881

In the matter of the application of Abner Stamp, father of Charles E. Stamp, for pension. Personally came before me, a Justice of the Peace in and for aforesaid County and State, Lyman Culver, aged 39 years a citizen of the Town of Rushville, County of Yates, State of New York, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declare in relation to aforesaid case, as follows:

The said Charles E. Stamp whom he knew to be son of said Abner Stamp, volunteered as a private in Company "A" Capt. Grover, in the 76th Regt. commanded by Col. Green. That said Charles E. Stamp volunteered at the town of Stankey in the County of Yates sometime in the month of October 1861. That the said Charles E. Stamp was a member of the same Company to which I belonged and commanded by the same officer as above named and in the same Regt. That the said Charles E. Stamp was instantly killed at the battle of South Mountain, Md. on the 14rh day of Sept. 1862. That a few days previous to his death, he had been promoted to the office of Color sergeant of said regiment and when killed was a member of Co "C" of said Regiment, he having been transferred to said Co. "C" a few days before. That at the battle of South Mountain, the said Regiment was in command of Col. W. W. (sic) Wainwright. The I was one of said C. E. Stamp's comrades on the morning of the 15th day of Sept 1862 carried his body across my shoulder, three fourths of a mile, and buried him on the East slope of South mountain, between two oak trees. That he, said Charles E. Stamp, was killed while carrying the Colors of said 76th Regt, at said battle.

He further declares that he has no interest in said case, and is not concerned in its prosecution, and is not related to said applicant.

Lyman Culver


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