Andrew Simpson “Simpy” Hemperley was one of ten children born to Edward P. Hemperley and Malinda Foster in Georgia. In the 1850 Census the family resided in the Twenty-ninth District of Fayette County, Georgia. Edward P. is listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $1,450.
On May 16, 1852 Andrew married Miss Louise Catherine Dodd in Fayette County, Georgia. The marriage was performed by Louise’s father, John Sample Dodd, a prominent Baptist preacher.
Of this marriage there were four children born: Nancy M., Priscilla M., Sarah Levonia and Jefferson Beauregard Hemperley. From A History of Doddridge, Spring Bank, and the Other Communities of Sulphur Township Arkansas by Charles Wesley Bigby much is written about the Hemperley families that lived in the area. What is known is that: in 1856, prior to the Civil War Andrew and Louise moved to Bright Star, Arkansas. In 1859 they had acquired eighty acres of land as proven by the deed below.
The following year they acquired an additional eighty acres.
In a letter written by Andrew’s son Beauregard he tells of how their home was built with logs and penned and keyed with no nails. It had a fireplace which was used not only for heating but also where Louise prepared all of their meals.
On March 3, 1862 Andrew enlisted in the 20th Arkansas Infantry, Company K in Lafayette County. His records show that he was a 5th Sergeant. By October the unit was engaged in fighting around Vicksburg, Mississippi. Records show that on the 4th of October 1862 he had been wounded and taken prisoner at Corinth, Mississippi.
In another document he was to be paroled and taken to Columbus, Kentucky from Corinth. However in the paroled section it lists “not stated”.
From my research I have learned many of the healthier prisoners captured in that area were transported to prisons in other areas of the United States. Some of those infirmed were released to get home any way they could while others remained in hospitals. Since Andrew is buried in Vicksburg, I am lead to believe he was never sent to prison elsewhere.
In July 1862 Congress gave the President of the United States the right to purchase land for cemeteries “for soldiers who shall die in the service of their country.” It was also determined that Confederate soldiers and sailors were fighting in rebellion and would not be allowed to be buried in a Nation Cemetery. Therefore only Union soldiers and sailors are buried in the Vicksburg National Cemetery with the Confederates being buried in nearby Soldier’s Rest, a section of Cedar Hill Cemetery.
Below are some photos from the Vicksburg National Park.
Also in the letter Beauregard wrote he tells of hard times following his father’s death. His mother fed them one winter on sweet potatoes; on Sunday mornings or when they had company she would make biscuits to go with them. She spun, corded and wove the cloth for their clothing, they ate game from the nearby woods, but she never returned to Georgia.
In writing this post I am thinking of our family’s Confederate hero but also of heroes lost in all the wars since Andrew’s death. I am also reminded of the unsung heroes, the wives who have kept families together at all cost, no matter their sacrifices. Perhaps it’s those ladies who deserve recognition, gold stars or a special hug.