b. 10/12/1833 Bangor, Maine. d. 17/02/1916 Newton, Massachusetts.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 30/12/1863 Matagorda Bay, Texas.
Francis Hesseltine was born in Bangor, Maine in 1833 and educated at Colby College in Waterville. While a student at Colby he was the first citizen of Waterville to volunteer to serve in the Union Army. The sophomore student was elected captain of a company in the Third Maine Volunteer Infantry, a unit made up almost entirely of college students. Had the war not intervened, Hesseltine would have graduated from Colby in June 1863.
By February 1862 Hesseltine was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Thirteenth Maine Regiment. The regiment was sent to Ship Island, Mississippi where he was given command of Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip, which were located 70 miles south of New Orleans, and protected the approached to the city.
In October 1863 concerns about Mexico possibly entering the war allied with the Confederacy caused the Thirteenth Maine to be shipped to Brownsville, Texas at the mouth of the Rio Grande River. After the war, Hesseltine studied law in Portland, then moved to Savannah, Georgia and lived there until 1870 when he opened a law practice in Boston with his son. He then moved to Melrose, Massachusetts residing at 45 West Emerson Street. He became involved in the public life of the growing town.
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Francis Snow Hesseltine, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 30 December 1863, while serving with 13th Maine Infantry, in action at Matagorda Bay, Texas. In command of a detachment of 100 men, Lieutenant Colonel Hesseltine conducted a reconnaissance for two days, baffling and beating back an attacking force of more than a thousand Confederate cavalry, and regained his transport without loss.
BURIAL LOCATION: WYOMING CEMETERY, MELROSE, MASSACHUSETTS.
Spruce and Wilken Avenues, Lot 617