James Camp Tappan

Monument: Find-a-Grave

James Camp Tappan, the son of parents from Newburyport, Massachusetts, was born in Franklin, Tennessee, September 9, 1825. Educated at Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and at Yale, from which he was graduated in 1845, he studied law in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. Removing to Helena, Arkansas, he served two terms in the legislature of that state, the last as speaker. He was also elected a circuit court judge. His New England antecedents notwithstanding, Tappan promptly offered his services to the Confederate cause, and in May 1861 was commissioned colonel of the 13th Arkansas. He was commended by General Leonidas Polk for his dispositions at the battle of Belmont, and led his regiment at Shiloh where it participated in repeated charges on the celebrated "Hornets' Nest." Colonel Tappan then took part in Bragg's invasion of Kentucky and fought at Richmond and Perryville. Appointed brigadier general on November 5, 1862, he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department. In 1863 he commanded a brigade under General Sterling Price. He fought with great credit at Pleasant Hill in the Red River campaign of 1864 against Banks, and his division (Churchill's) was thereafter immediately sent against Steele. He participated in the battle of Jenkins' Ferry and took part in Price's last raid into Missouri. Returning to Helena after the war, General Tappan resumed his law practice and again served in the legislature, twice declining the Democratic nomination for governor. At the time of his death in Helena, March 19, 1906, he had been for many years dean of the Arkansas bar. He is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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