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Federal (USV)


Charles H. Russell

(1827 - 1895)

Home State: Maryland

Education: Yale College

Branch of Service: Sharpshooters

Unit: Companies H & I, 1st Maryland Cavalry (US)

Before Antietam

He was a student at Yale, Class of 1858, but left before graduation to train for the ministry. He was ordained on 29 June 1859 at age 21. At the start of the war he was a Presbyterian minister in Williamsport, MD. He raised a Company of troops there for the First Virginia (Union) Cavalry and was commissioned Captain on 5 August 1861. In January 1862 he and his Company transferred as "I" to the First Maryland Cavalry.

On the Campaign

He was at Harpers Ferry in September 1862, and helped defend Maryland Heights on the 12th-13th. On the evening of 13 September he was ordered to get through the surrounding Confederates and report the garrison's condition to General McClellan. He and 7 (or 9) of his men accomplished the mission on the 14th. On the 17th he was sent to burn the pivot bridge over the C&O Canal at Williamsport and the Conococheague Aqueduct to cut one of the Confederate lines of retreat. He succeeded with the bridge, but could not seriously damage the stone aqueduct. He then returned to Sharpsburg.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Major on 9 October 1862, and was in action at Gettysburg and Brandy Station in 1863. He resigned his commission in December 1863 due to his wife's illness (she died 2 February 1864), and went back to Connecticut.

After the War

He was a grocer and confectioner in Bridgeport, CT. By 1888 he also owned a row of houses on Atlantic Avenue in Bridgeport.

References & notes

Service from Wilmer1 and Hartwig.2 Personal information from Bacon's Fifth Biographical Record of the Class of Fifty-eight, Yale University (1908) and the Minutes of the General Conference of the Congregational Churches of Connecticut (1876). His gravesite is on Findagrave.

More on the Web

There's a collection of his wartime letters to Ward Lamon and other documents online from the Western Maryland Historical Library; source also of some details above. His row houses in Bridgeport are now part of the Barnum/Palliser Historic District [National Register nomination (pdf)].


1827 in CT


02/26/1895; Bridgeport, CT; burial in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, MD


1   Wilmer, L. Allison, and J.H. Jarrett, George H. Vernon, State Commissioners, History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5, Baltimore: Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., 1898, Vol. 1, pg. 704  [AotW citation 21430]

2   Hartwig, D. Scott, To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012, pp. 247-49, 269-70, 333  [AotW citation 21431]