GREENWOOD — A yearlong, coordinated effort that reached from Maryland to Cape Elizabeth to Greenwood culminated last month when a father and son — both Civil War veterans — finally received headstones recognizing their lives and service.
Joseph Herrick of Greenwood was 19 when he enlisted in the 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment in March of 1864. His father, Henry, 43, had also enlisted early that year, but was discharged due to disability in June.
The younger Herrick received $300 for signing up – a huge sum at the time, and one that allowed his large, poor family to put a down payment on a farm on Patch Mountain.
But Joseph’s service didn’t last much longer than his father’s. He was captured by Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Peebles’ Farm in Petersburg, Virginia, in the fall. He was sent to Salisbury Prison in North Carolina, where he died of disease. Joseph was buried there in a mass grave with 3,500 other Union soldiers.
Tracey McIntire, the great-great-granddaughter of Joseph’s sister, Harriet, and others have tried unsuccessfully in recent years to get the Veterans Administration to place a marker listing the names of those soldiers at the site of their burial. Her efforts were described in stories in the Bangor Daily News and on centralmaine.com in 2016 and 2014, respectively.
Among those reading the Herricks’ story were Anthony Bouchard of Cape Elizabeth and his son, Connor, a Cub Scout. As part of the scouting community service program, Connor wanted to do something to recognize Joseph’s service.
So they tracked down McIntire and applied to the Veterans Administration, with the hope of getting stones to place for the father and son in the Patch Mountain Cemetery. Henry is buried there, but his grave was unmarked.
Also joining in the effort was Greenwood Town Manager Kim Sparks and Jackson-Silver American Legion Post 68 in Locke Mills. The stones were delivered to the Legion, where they were stored until a dedication was planned.
Walter Inman of West Paris, an Iraq war veteran, offered to set the stones on the mountaintop, Bouchard said.
The dedication took place Saturday, Aug. 25. Among those there were McIntire, the Bouchards, Sparks, American Legion members and other relatives of the Herricks.
“This beautiful ceremony is an honor long, long past due. May they forever rest in peace in this hallowed ground,” Legion Public Relations Chairman Eldon Bartlett said.
The Jackson-Silver Post honor guard performed taps and the rifle squad did a 21-gun salute at the end of the ceremony.
Tracey McIntire, right, and Al Lake and Dwayne Jones of the Jackson-Silver American Legion Post attend a dedication ceremony at the Patch Mountain Cemetery in Greenwood on Aug. 25. A memorial stone and a gravestone were set for Civil War veterans Joseph and Henry Herrick, respectively, of Greenwood.
Cub Scout Connor Bouchard of Cape Elizabeth kneels next to Civil War veteran Joseph Herrick’s newly placed memorial stone in Greenwood. Herrick enlisted when he was 19, and died a prisoner at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina.