Robert Hempstead was born in 1837 in Scotland.
Robert left Scotland, and immigrated to the United States, settling in western Michigan by the late 1850s.
He was married to Michigan native Mary (b. 1839), and they had at least one child. By 1860 he was working as a laborer and farmer living with his wife in Lyons, Ionia County.
He stood 5’11” with blue eyes, dark hair and a sandy complexion and was 24 years old and residing in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. Robert was discharged for general debility subsequent to measles on July 28, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia.
He returned to Ionia County where he reentered the service in Company A, Fourteenth Michigan infantry on December 5, 1861, at Lyons for 3 years, and was mustered January 7, 1862, probably at Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, where the regiment was organized between January 7 and February 18. The regiment left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on April 17, but Robert was not with them. He was discharged on April 15 for disability at Ypsilanti, and again returned home to Lyons.
Robert reentered the service a second time, in Company E, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 8, 1862, at Lyons for 3 years, crediting Lyons, and was mustered on October 11 at Grand Rapids. The regiment was organized at Grand Rapids between May 28 and October 13, 1862, when it was mustered into service. It left the state for Washington, on December 10 and participated in the defenses of the capital through June of 1863. It joined the Arym of the Potomac in the field on June 25, reconnoitered up the Catoctin valley June 27-28, occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on June 28, wa sin action at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30 and participated in the battle of Gettysburg July 1-3, after which it was involved in the pursuit of Lee’s forces back into Virginia. Robert however, was sick from July 23, 1863 through October, again in January of 1864, and was discharged per General order No. 116, War Department, on March 23, 1864, and was transferred on March 31, 1864 to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps. (He subsequently served in the Sixteenth Company, Second Battalion, VRC.)
In 1878 (?) he applied for and received a pension (no. 896652).
In 1889 (?) his widow applied for a pension (application no. 250804), as did a minor child (432188).