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Heyer, Charles Alfred


Age: 18, credited to Sutton, VT
Unit(s): 8th VT INF
Service: enl 2/15/62, m/i 2/15/65, Pvt, Co. C, 8th VT INF, m/o 6/28/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 03/11/1849, Mattapoisett, MA
Death: 07/12/1942

Burial: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, St. Johnsbury, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: Carolyn Adams
Findagrave Memorial #: 75165136


Alias?: None Noted
Pension?: Yes, 3/14/1911, VT
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Unknown


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Mount Pleasant Cemetery, St. Johnsbury, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Last surviving Civil War veterans of Grand Army of the Republic Chamberlain Post #1, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Liljenquist Collection, Library of Congress


Civil War Veterans visit Springfield

The community of Springfield during the 73rd encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic and allied orders this week welcomed two veterans of the Civil war, Commander Charles A. Heyer of the Department of Vermont, of St. Johnsbury, and Senior Vice Commander Charles Emerson of Lancaster, N. H. Both served in the old Eighth Vermont Regiment of Volunteers. Mr. Emerson enlisted in the Union army two months before his 14th birthday and Mr. Heyer at the age of 15. Both served through the rest of the war.

While there are only eight or nine veterans now living in Vermont and only a few throughout the nation, most of them now very feeble, these two sturdy old gentlemen are vigorous both in body and mind. Mr. Heyer lives alone in his St. Johnsbury home, doing all his work about the house, while Mr. Emerson travels widely. Both remember clearly the days of the Civil war, but they are alert to things in the present too and still have the zest for life that comes from active useful lives, and a sense of humor.

Heyer is a Massachusetts native. Mr. Heyer who is 91, was born in Mattapoisett, Mass., but came to Vermont as a boy. Although he was only 15 when he enlisted in February, 1864, he said he did not have to lie about his age though the limit was supposed to be 18. Along toward the close of the war when many of the older men had been killed or wounded, the situation became so desperate that boys had to be accepted.

He served until the end of the war in April, 1865. During his service he was stationed in Virginia, guarding the railroad lines and as he put it "taking care of Mosby's Guerillas." By coincidence he joined the picket line on which Mr. Emerson had served, just after the latter had been taken prisoner, but the two men did not become acquainted until after the war.

After he was mustered out Mr. Heyer learned the machinist trade and engaged in it until he retired about 30 years ago. He worked in many places, including Lamson, Goodnow & Yale of Windsor, predecessor of the present Jones & Lamson Machine company of Springfield, in 1867 and 1868. For many years he was employed by the Fairbanks Scale company of St. Johnsbury.

Modest and reticent about his achievements, it was difficult to make him talk about himself. His wife died three years ago, and since that time he has kept house himself. St. Johnsbury friends related that he even cleaned house this spring, and when a neighbor remonstrated with him at finding him atop a ladder, he jauntily declared that he guessed he would finish the job. He drove a car until a short time ago. A slender man, he appears to be in excellent health and much younger than 91.

Mr. Heyer joined the G.A.R., in the 1870's and has been active ever since, being re-elected Commander this week for the third term.

Mr. Emerson, who is 92, is over six feet in height and has a straight carriage that many a younger man might well imitate. His stature at 14 made him appear older, and he lied about his age when en enlisted.

Emerson was born in Newbury. His war service was eventful, for he participated in the Battle of Winchester and saw Sheridan come in after his famous ride. In 1865 while on picket duty on Summit ridge, he was wounded and captured by a member of Col. Mosby's Guerillas and sent to the Libby prison at Richmond. After he was paroled from prison he rejoined his regiment and was on duty near Washington at the time of Lincoln's assassination. He was one of those detailed to guard the city to see that no one either entered or left the city. He remembers clearly the escape of Booth and the capture of some of the other plotters.

The tale of his capture is a thrilling story. He engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with a Confederate soldier, who was mounted. Finally he was shot in the head and surrendered. After being mustered out in July 1865, Mr. Emerson bought a plantation in Virginia, and there he became friendly with the village postmaster. One day the postmaster related the tale of his capture of a young Union soldier whom he called "the kid" because he was so young. Then Mr. Emerson asked him if he thought he would remember "the kid" if he saw him. The postmaster replied that he might not since the boy would probably have changed a good deal in 11 years. As the reader will readily guess, "the kid" had met his captor. After some years in Virginia, Mr. Emerson returned to New England and engaged in farming and lumbering operations mostly in New Hampshire, retiring some years ago. He has travelled in every state in the Union and spends his winters in Florida. Four years ago he went in a car to California with his son and daughter. And has he given up traveling? Not he! His thoughts are now concentrated on plans for the National G.A.R. Encampment in Springfield, Ill., this September, and he is trying his best to persuade Commander Heyer to go along with him.

During the World war, Mr. Emerson was active in the Victory Bond drive. So alert, friendly and humorous were these two old soldiers that this interviewer found it a rare pleasure and honor to talk with them. We hope that both well attend many more G.A. R. conventions and they will be welcomed with open hearts where ever they go.


The Vermont Journal, June 20, 1941
Contributed by Cathy Hoyt.


Was Department Commander of Grand Army Of Vermont Funeral Tuesday

Charles A. Heyer, 93, Department Commander of the Grand Army of Vermont, answered the last roll call Sunday morning at Brightlook Hospital following a major operation. He had enjoyed through his long and active life excellent health until taken suddenly ill in Burlington about a month ago where he was attending the annual Grand Army encampment.

Mr. Heyer was born in Mattapoisett, Mass., March 11, 1849, the son of Walter Isaac and Deborah Bacon Heyer. He began working early in life for when he was only nine years old he was helping his father on a logging contract at Lincoln, N. H., and driving a yoke of oxen. For a short time after that the family lived on a fame on Mann hill in Littleton where the boy again helped on the daily chores. The family came to St. Johnsbury in 1860 and the boy was employed at the Paddock iron works owned by John H. Paddock and located on the Passumpsic river in what was known for many years as Paddock village.

The year 1865 brought the Civil War to a close and on the fifteenth day of February of that year the young man only 15 years old told the recruiting officer that he would like to join the army. At the medical examination which followed later some of the officers objected to taking such a young man, but the examiner told them he would be worth more to the army than any adult he had examined that day. So he was mustered in and joined the Eighth Vermont Regiment after it had seen four years of fighting. Every soldier in his regiment wore in his cap a sprig of cedar, the emblem of the Green Mountain state. Private Heyer was with others in this veteran regiment guarding the railroad in the Shenandoah valley until he was honorably discharged on June 23, 1865.Returning to St. Johnsbury he soon found employment at the scale factory where for 40 years he worked in the machine shop for E. And T. Fairbanks and Company. After retirement he served for a term as one of the village trustees where he was a most useful member.

Mr. Heyer joined Chamberlin Post, No. 1, Grand Army of the Republic, on June 20, 1885, a notable year in the history of the post as it had for its orator that year Gen. John A. Logan and 1300 tickets were sold to aid in the fair sponsored by the post and the Women's Relief Corps. He saw the membership of the post grow in 1889 until it was the largest in the state with 208 members and in the last years of his life carefully guarded the charter. Now there is only one member left in the post, Moody H. Evans, of St. Johnsbury Center, and of the 35,000 that enlisted from Vermont in the Civil War the only other veteran now living in Vermont is Gilbert Lucier of Jay. Mr. Heyer held most of the chairs in Chamberlin Post including that of Commander and served as Department Commander of the Grand Army of Vermont in 1933-34. Following the death of Department Commander Harvey S. Powers of Lyndonville, Mr. Heyer was elected to this high office at the state encampment in 1939 and held the office at the time of his death.

On every Memorial day and on many other patriotic occasions such as Grand Army Day, Commander Heyer was especially honored. He led the victory parade here only a few months ago and was the only Civil War veteran at our last Memorial Day observation. He spoke briefly at the Rotary Club on their observance of Grand Army Day and was given hearty applause by the Rotarians as they stood in his honor. Few men in St. Johnsbury, if any, bore their advanced age with such optimism and buoyancy than this honored ad beloved citizen. He was a member of the North Congregational parish.

Mr. Heyer married Louise Matilda Wheeler, at Littleton June 18, 1876, who died December 8, 1936, aged 83 years. He leaves one son, Albert S. Heyer, who has just completed an even longer record at the scale factory than his father, and a daughter-in-law.

Source: St. Johnsbury Republican, July 17, 1942.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.