Urias W. Heasley was born about 1839 in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Prior to the war, he had been working as a painter and residing in Pulaski township. On April 23, 1861, after the firing on Fort Sumter, Heasley answered Lincoln’s call for volunteers by enrolling himself in a volunteer company known as the Middlesex Rangers, who were filling their ranks in the neighboring county of Mercer. On June 19, 1861 the company was assigned Company B of the 10th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves.1
Heasley participated in many battles with the Tenth Reserves beginning with the battle of Dranesville in December 1861, and ending with the Battle of Bethesda Church in May 1864. During the Mine Run Campaign in November of 1863, that Heasley had suffered from exposure and contracted illness which resulted in paralysis years after the war. Like many other of his comrades, he re-enlisted in the 191st Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers on June 1, 1864.2
After the war ended, he returned to Pennsylvania and married Margaret Hill and together relocated to Pittsburgh. Here he took up work as a Policeman, but in 1885 he became blind and paralyzed from illness he had contracted during the war. The following year, he applied for his pension from the United States Government, and with the help of the organization known as the Union Veteran Legion3, his case was presented to the committee, ensuring that his pension would be approved.
A Helpless Old Soldier Well Cared for the Veteran Legion’s Work.4
The members of Encampment No. 1, Union Veteran Legion, were shaking hands with themselves yesterday as a result of their efforts to secure a pension for Uriah W. Heasley, of No. 236 Arch street, Allegheny. Mr. Heasley was a member of Company G, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves. His service covered a period of over four years.5 At the battle of Mine Run, in November, 1863, he was subjected to exposure, which has ever since affected him. For a time he served on the police force of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City. About seven years ago paralysis of the spine developed, total blindness resulting four years later. Last December he applied for a pension. The Union Veteran Legion recently took up his case and through a committee, consisting of General A.L Pearson, Captain W. McClelland and C.F. McKenna, Esq. induced General Black to have Heasley’s case made special. The Encampment and Duquesne Post No. 259, G.A.R. contributed to his present wants, as the A.O.U.W. had also done for several years.
Yesterday morning Mr. Heasley received notice that his claim had been allowed and that he would receive $72 a month from December 20, 1886. Accordingly there was joy in the Heasley family last night. A number of his old comrades called to congratulate him. Said one, “Well, after all, Mr. Cleveland’s Administration is not doing so badly for the old soldiers. Instead of cutting off their pensions the latter are being expedited and increased beyond any previous administration.”
On August 1, 1891, Urias passed away in his residence at the age of fifty-two, and was buried with full military honors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Brendon is a history buff who loves American History, especially the American Civil War. He is also a direct descendant of William H. Wagner of the 10th Pennsylvania Reserves. Member of the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves Co. A (Reenacting Unit). Creator of The Blue & Gray Historian on Instagram and Facebook. He is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- The National Archives in Washington D.C. Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census; Record Group Number: 29, Series Number: M653; Residence Date: 1860. Civil War Veteran Index Cards, State Archives of Pennsylvania.
- Bates, Samuel P, “History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers,” Vol. I, Harrisburg 1869 page 823; Civil War Veteran Index Cards, State Archives of Pennsylvania.
- The Union Veterans Legion was a group consisting of soldiers, sailors, and marines of the Union Army, Navy, and Marine Corps that volunteered for a term of three years and were honorably discharged due to service for two years or discharged due to receiving wounds in the line of duty during the American Civil War. The Union Veterans Legion Encampment No. 1 used Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall as their meeting hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which remains a wedding venue and tourist site to this very day.
- Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1887, page 3
- The Post’s placement of Heasley in Co G is in error. Both Volume I of “The History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5” by Samuel P. Bates and “History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps” by Josiah Sypher have Heasley as a member of Company B.