MAJ Isaac Harris Hooper

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MAJ Isaac Harris Hooper

  • Birth 29 Jul 1839 Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 12 Apr 1873 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 96703592

Son of Henry Northy and Priscilla Langdon (Harris) Hooper.

From "The Story of the Fifteenth Regiment Massachusetts volunteer Infantry in the Civil War 1861 - 1864," by A. E. Ford, 1898:
"His father, who was a brass manufacturer in Boston, on news of the attack on Sumter, telegraphed to his son who was then in Brooklyn: 'Harris, you know your duty.'
His answer came at once: 'I leave to-night.'
He served as a private in the Thirteenth Regiment, New York State Militia, May 14, to August 3, 1861. Soon after this term of service had expired he returned to his home. While there he was offered a commission by Governor Andrew. He accepted this, and entered the Fifteenth Massachusetts as a second-lieutenant, October 8, 1861."

On 8 Oct 1861 Isaac mustered into service with the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant, being credited to the quota of Boston, Massachusetts. He was 22 years, 2 months and 9 days old.

On 20 Nov 1861 Harris Hooper was listed among the prisoners taken at Ball's Bluff, and on 22 Feb 1862 he was among the prisoners returned under a flag of truce.

On 9 Jun 1862 he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and on 17 Apr 1863 to Major. At Gettysburg on 4 Jul 1863 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, although he was never mustered in this rank.

On 26 Jul 1863 Isaac and George Clesson Joslin were taken prisoner at White Plains, Virginia. As recounted in Ford's history:
Major Hooper had been detailed as inspector on the staff of the division commander, and was therefore away from the regiment. He was directed to stop at a house along the line of march (in White Plains, Virginia on 26 July 1863) to protect some ladies while the troopers were passing. He was so gallant that he delayed even after the corps had gone by, and then some of Mosby's men came from a piece of woods near by and captured him. He had just been detailed to go to the North to bring back drafted men, and was joyfully anticipating his return to his home. He was obliged to go to Richmond instead, while Lieutenant Colonel Joslin was detailed to go after the drafted men.

Colonel Joslin was captured at Brandy Station in early December 1863. Upon arrival in Richmond, he found Major Hooper of his own regiment. Major Hooper who had been some four months a prison, had been fortunate in receiving from his relatives at home some food supplies and necessary articles of clothing, and he at once took Colonel Joslin into his mess and shared with him these luxuries so that in a couple of hours' time he had been introduced to many and made to feel as much at home as was possible in a rebel prison.

During the winter many schemes for escape were conceived and partially carried out, but none successfully, except the digging of the famous tunnel from the cellar of the building, some fifty-nine feet under the street to an opening in a vacant lot the other side, through which one hundred and ten of the prisoners passed out in one night. (He escaped from Libby Prison with 118 other officers through a tunnel on 9 Feb 1864, returning to his regiment 28 Mar 1864. ) As this was discovered on the following day, it could not be again made use of. But a limited number, and those by luck and chance, could avail themselves of this opportunity to escape, Major Hooper being one of this number, but Colonel Joslin being forced to remain. About half of the men who escaped were captured and brought back during the next few days
. (Note: Major Hooper was not recaptured. Major Hooper's first-person account of his escape from Libby Prison in The Overland Monthly, Vol. 5, Sept. 1870, No. 3, entitled Twelve Days "Absence Without Leave".)

On 29 Jul 1864 Isaac ended military service with the 15th Massachusetts as a Major due to expiration of service term.

On 3 Oct 1871 Isaac H. Hooper, 32, married Susan S. Thayer, 25, daughter of Charles L. and Harriett G. (Rice) Thayer, at West Roxbury, Massachusetts, in a first marriage for both. The couple had no children.

Isaac Harris Hooper died on 12 Apr 1873 at Boston, Massachusetts, of phthisis. He was 33 years, 8 months and 14 days old.

From the Boston Daily Advertiser, 15 April 1873, Boston, Massachusetts, an obituary:
"The funeral of the late Mr. Isaac Harris Hooper, son of the late Henry N. Hooper, esq., was held yesterday afternoon at the residence of his father-in-law, Charles Lowell Thayer, esq., Union-Park street. Mr. Hooper, who entered the army as a private soldier on the first day of the call for troops in our late war, left the service with the rank of Lieutenant-colonel, with a stainless record of nobleness of life and honorable performance of duty. The deceased was a member of the Fifteenth Massachusetts, and during his imprisonment at Libby prison contracted the seed of the disease -- consumption -- of which he died on last Easter morning."

Family Members






  • Created by: DaurRegt
  • Added: 8 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 96703592
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MAJ Isaac Harris Hooper (29 Jul 1839–12 Apr 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 96703592, citing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by DaurRegt (contributor 47891223) .