Tuesday, April 26, 2016

6th New Hampshire officer Henry Pearson 'returns' to his grave

On a muggy spring morning, I returned to Henry Pearson's grave with a war-time tintype of him.
 Henry Pearson is buried under Grave No. 4103 at Fredericksburg (Va.) National Cemetery.
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Sometime during the Civil War, maybe shortly after he enlisted in the Union army, Henry Pearson posed in a studio for a tintype photograph. Grasping a long sword, the boyish-looking soldier with neatly combed hair stood proudly in his officer's uniform.

Perhaps the image was meant as a keepsake for his parents, a girlfriend or other loved ones. Somehow the photograph left the family, passing from Civil War collector to who-knows-where to auction house to another collector ... until it ended up with me. I bought it for a small price on eBay several weeks ago not with the intention of storing it in a shoe box in a musty closet but to find out more about Pearson.

 Sadly, Henry did not survive the war. A lieutenant colonel in the 6th New Hampshire, the 24-year-old officer was mortally wounded at North Anna River in Virginia on May 26, 1864. Pearson's body was placed by comrades in a large, wooden box found at a nearby abandoned residence and hastily buried, the soldier's gravesite marked with his name on a piece of a bread box. Then "... we left him alone," another officer noted, "in his glory."

After the war, Pearson's remains were recovered and reburied in the national cemetery in Fredericksburg, Va. -- one of more than 15,000 Union soldiers buried in the beautiful grounds on Marye's Heights. This morning, the image of Henry returned for a visit to Pearson's final resting place, a small way to honor a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Pearson, 24, was mortally wounded at North Anna River on May 26, 1864.


  1. A fitting tribute...well done.

  2. Really nice thing to do..It is told if a departed loved one's name is spoken out loud, then the departed lives on.

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  4. The video is amazing. I especially was interested in the Unknown grave markers--which is not what I thought I would be interested in when I watched this. What do we know about the Unknown graves surrounding L.C. Henry Pearson from the 6th New Hampshire? Does the fact that they are buried near him necessarily mean anything? If this question is not answerable, then why is Henry buried here, amongst Unknown Soldiers and not amongst his own men? Also , are there any government records that might be able to identify some of the Unknowns around him?

    i know this is besides the point of your video, but the image that has stayed with me now 40 minutes after i watched the video is his tombstone standing like an island in a sea unknown markers.