Charles Champion Gilbert

Charles Champion Gilbert was born March 1, 1822, at Zanesville, Ohio. He was graduated from West Point in 1846, ranking twenty-first in the class in which George B. McClellan was second, and George E. Pickett was fifty-ninth and last. In the war with Mexico Gilbert took part in the siege of Vera Cruz and later was in garrison there as a lieutenant of the 1st Infantry. During the five years after 1850, Gilbert served on the faculty of the Military Academy and did frontier duty in the Southwest. He was promoted to captain in December, 1855. On August 10, 1861, he was badly wounded at the battle of Wilson's Creek while commanding his company of regulars. After acting as inspector general of the Department of the Cumberland, he served in the same capacity in the Army of the Ohio during the battle of Shiloh and the subsequent siege of Corinth. After the Union disaster at the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, General Horatio G. Wright, commanding the Department of the Ohio, appointed Gilbert "acting major general" to command the Army of Kentucky after the wounding of General William Nelson; on September 4, 1862, Gilbert was appointed brigadier general of volunteers by the President. Until this time his career had been auspicious, his conduct uniformly praised by his superiors, and he had won the brevet of major for gallantry at Shiloh. But now the Army of the Ohio under D. C. Buell absorbed Gilbert's forces and he was named commander of the III Provisional Corps of that army. He led the corps at the battle of Perryville in October; even though he was subsequently brevetted lieutenant colonel for gallant and meritorious services, it appears that his direction of the corps left much to be desired. The Buell Commission condemned him for failing to support Alex. McD. McCook's corps (on his left), which was driven back exposing Gilbert's own left flank; he was replaced and did not again hold field command. The Senate failed to act uppn his nomination as brigadier and on March 4, 1863, his commission expired; he was not reappointed. In July of that year he became major of the 19th Infantry and performed desk duties until the end of the war. Thereafter, with regular promotion to lieutenant colonel (1868) and colonel (1881), he commanded various posts, mainly in the West, until his statutory retirement in 1886. He died in Baltimore on January 17, 1903, and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, his wife's hometown.

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