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Federal (USV)


Charles M. Grainger

(1840 - 1915)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 88th New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Son of Major William Grainger, British Army, he served with his father's regiment in the Crimean War as a teenager. He came to America in 1861 and enlisted as Sergeant, Company B, 88th New York Infantry on 23 December.

On the Campaign

He was prominent in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862:

... the only difficulty the officers have is to restrain the men from going individually ahead to fight the battle on their own responsibilities ... Several of the 'FAUGH-A-BALLAGHS" rush ahead to take the rebels at close quarters. And it requires all the determination and firmness of Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Kelly to keep them in line. I know Sergeant Granger [sic] and others were almost at the brow of the hill, carried away with their enthusiasm, before the voice of the colonel, calling them by their names caused them to halt and rejoin their companies.
He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in October to date from the battle.

The rest of the War

He was wounded at Fredericksburg, VA on 13 December and was promoted to First Lieutenant in February 1863 to rank from 26 November 1862. He was wounded again, at Chancellorsville in May and at Gettysburg in July 1863. He was commissioned Captain of Company D in June 1864 to date from the battle of the Wilderness (5 May). He was captured at Weldon Railroad, VA on 22 June but escaped from Libby Prison in Richmond, VA that winter. He was transferred back to Company B as First Lieutenant when his Captain's post expired while he was a prisoner, and he mustered out of service on 30 June 1865 in Alexandria, VA.

After the War

He was naturalized an American citizen on 2 November 1866 and was a police officer in New York City for 25 years, retiring as a Lieutenant. He then owned and operated the Atlantic Hotel on Coney Island. He volunteered for Spanish-American War service in 1898 and offered to raise a regiment of volunteers, but was deemed "too old."

References & notes

His service information from the State of New York.1 The quote above from Lieutenant James B Turner writing in the New York Irish American of 18 October 1862. Personal details from his obituary in the Brooklyn Eagle of 8 June 1915 [via], pension and naturalization records [via fold3], and family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His last name is sometimes seen as Granger.

He married twice. First to Clara Emily Ambler in February 1864 in Philadelphia, PA, possibly while recovering from his Gettysburg wounds. They had at least 3 children. Second, to Rebecca (?). Both wives are buried with him. He began receiving an invalid veteran's pension in June 1873 and another commencing in January 1903 for a "gunshot wound left side and left shoulder." His widow received one starting in October 1916.


08/09/1840; Mallow, County Cork, IRELAND


06/07/1915; Flatbush, NY; burial in Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1901, Ser. No. 31, pg. 60  [AotW citation 26367]