Charles Adam Heckman

Charles Adam Heckman was born on December 3, 1822, in Easton, Pennsylvania, and was educated there in the Minerva Seminary, graduating at the age of fifteen. At the outbreak of the Mexican War he was clerking in a hardware store, a position he resigned to enlist in the Regiment of Voltigeurs and Foot Riflemen, a Regular Army unit organized for that war, whose lieutenant colonel was Joseph E. Johnston. Discharged as a sergeant in 1848, Heckman soon took up residence in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and became a conductor on the Central Railroad of New Jersey, a vocation he pursued until the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. He was again mustered into the service of the United States on October 8, 1861, as lieutenant colonel of the 9th New Jersey, and took part in Ambrose E. Burnside's expedition against the Carolina coast, with promotion to colonel from February 10, 1862, and to brigadier general to rank from November 29, 1862. His subsequent service was with the Army of the James. He commanded the defenses of Norfolk and Portsmouth during the winter of 1863-64. Early on the morning of May 16, 1864, at the battle of Drewry's Bluff, Heckman's brigade of the XVIII Corps was overwhelmed and its commander captured during a heavy fog, a disaster for which Heckman appears to have been partially responsible. Prior to his exchange in September, he was one of the fifty-one Federal officers taken to Charleston and exposed to the fire of the Union batteries which were shelling the city at the time. In September, 1864, Heckman commanded the 2nd Division of the XVIII Corps in the attempt to take Fort Harrison, apparently in a manner unsatisfactory to General Edward O. C. Ord, his corps commander, who criticized Heckman's direction of his division and omitted his name from a list of those "conspicuous for their gallantry." In January and February, 1865, Heckman temporarily commanded the XXV Corps in the absence of Godfrey Weitzel but on March 23 was relieved from duty by U. S. Grant and ordered home. He resigned from the service on May 25 and despite his many months of division and corps command was not awarded the brevet of major general. After the war he was a public utility contractor and later a train dispatcher for the Jersey Central. He died on January 14, 1896, at his son's home in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and was buried in Easton.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.