Sgt. George Heard
Died 1862 at age 23
Greetings from Portland. Sweater weather is here. Every day this month I’m telling a story that bridges the gap between this world, and the next. I’m resurrecting the memory of Portlanders who’ve crossed over to the other side by posting one video each day, relating the tale of one, interesting “permanent Portlander.”
Like his big brother, William, George Heard enlisted to fight for the Union during the Civil War.
He signed up with the 10th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in October of 1861. Then he marched south as a private in Company C — the Portland Light Guards — under the command of Capt. Menzies Fessenden.
He’d been promoted to sergeant by the following summer when the 10th Maine entered the fray at the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Culpepper County Virginia on August 9th.
Their part in the battle lasted less than an hour, but George Heard died, along with 22 other enlisted men.
The Battle of Cedar Mountain was a Confederate victory.
When Heard’s comrades were allowed back on the battlefield the next day to collect their dead, they found them stripped of their pants, shoes and valuables. The only things the rebels didn’t take was their blue, Union uniforms.
George Heard’s body eventually found its way back to Portland where it was laid here in the Western Cemetery. Two years later, his big brother William, an ensign in the Navy, joined him in the family plot after dying aboard a gunboat in Louisiana.
Today’s story is brought to you, in part, by the first-hand account “History of the First-Tenth-Twenty-ninth Maine Regiment” by Maj. John M. Gould, published in 1871, and also the semi-abandoned, but detail-rich, website www.greaterportlandgraves.com.
Disclaimer: I’m not a historian. I owe everything I know to the dedicated research of those who have come before me. These character sketches are assembled from multiple (often antique) sources and sprinkled with my own conjecture. I’m happy to be set straight or to learn more.