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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.


Peter M. Stalker, son of James and Isabella Stalker, was born on the 11th of March, 1842, at Perthshire, Parish of St. Maides, Scothmd.

When ten years of age he accompanied his parents to America. Ten weeks after their arrival, his father and older brother died of cholera. This occurred the 22d of August, 1854. Both were lain in the same grave in Ida Hill Cemetery, Troy, N. Y.

Peter and his mother were now left alone in a strange land: but nothing could induce them to return to their friends at home. This soil had become sacred, for it held their dead.

At eleven years of age Peter went to work, that he might not be dependent upon his mother; but he still continued his efforts to acquire an education, and was never happier than when engaged in the evening with his books, at his mother's side.

When he was about sixteen years old, they came to Albany, and shortly after he commenced fitting himself for a trade. He won the confidence of all by his industry, faithfulness and piety.

At this time he became a member of the Tenth Regiment, Capt. Dodds. When the war boke out, this regiment volunteered, and he was among the first to fight for his adopted country. Leaving home, he enjoyed perfect health, and escaped all injury until the 24th of March, 1863, when he was wounded at Ponchatoula, La.

He was taken at first to the Marine Hospital with his Captain, who was also wounded by the same ball. After a short time the Captain, having somewhat recovered, returned to his regiment, and the Sergeant also returned to camp, preferring to be with the "boys." And here we must pay a tribute to the lamented Lieut. Williamson. On the arrival of the Sergeant, the Lieutenant gave up his tent and bed to the wounded soldier, and did all that he could to contribute to his comfort. This is but one of his many acts of Christian kindness. None knew or appreciated him better than our young friend.

His wound was not considered dangerous, and he would probably have recovered from it, but was seized with diarrhoea, which, in conjunction with the wound, resulted fatally. He died in the hospital at Bonnet Carre on the 18th of July, 1863.

Although death came unexpectedly, he was not the less prepared to meet it. In his many letters he always expressed a willingness and readiness to die if necessary, placing his dependence upon Him who notices even the fall of a sparrow.

After some months, Capt. Filkins kindly volunteered to go on and bring home the remains of the dead heroes.

Sergt. Stalker was among the number who were brought to our city, and buried, with military honors, in the Albany Rural Cemetery. His funeral took place on the 10th January, 1864. He is now resting in the north part of the cemetery, where a beautiful stone has been erected by his mother.

His memory will be cherished by his numerous friends, whose grief at his early death has this consolation, that he was prepared to die, and died cheerfully for his adopted country.

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