BG Charles Sidney Winder

Commanded - 1862

Born October 7, 1829 - Died August 9, 1862 (KIA)


     Charles Sidney Winder was born into a prominent Maryland family in Talbot County, Maryland. His older brother had been killed in the Mexican War, and his uncle, John H. Winder, had taught at West Point before becoming a Confederate general. Other relatives included Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan and Francis Scott Key.  His uncle (and later his father-in-law), Colonel Edward Lloyd, owned thousands of choice acres in Maryland, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Twenty-second in the West Point class of 1850, Charles S. Winder was assigned to the artillery, the branch of service he most preferred. Four years later, his courageous actions during a hurricane in Panama had led to his promotion as the youngest captain in the entire Army. Reassigned to the 6th US Infantry, he added to his reputation in campaigns against the Yakima and Spokane Indians in Washington Territory before resigning his commission two weeks before the firing at Fort Sumter

     Winder traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, and received appointment as a major of artillery. On July 8, 1861, following participation in the Fort Sumter bombardment, he became colonel of the 6th South Carolina. Winder saw no battle action before his March 1, 1862, promotion to Brigadier (though some sources state that Winder served as an aide to General P.G.T. Beauregard during the Fort Sumter bombardment). When Thomas J. Jackson abruptly removed Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett from command of the Stonewall Brigade on April 1, 1862, Winder was assigned to command of this unit.  Tall and lean with a long, sharp nose and a bushy beard, Winder bore a passing resemblance to Stonewall Jackson. He also shared Jackson's inflexible approach to soldiering.

     Winder impressed Jackson with his valorous behavior during combat showing a taste for aggressive fighting. At Port Republic, he was at the forefront of the fighting - his horse was hit three times by enemy bullets - and Jackson made it a point to personally shake Winder's hand before the Battle of Cedar Mountain, when the obviously ill Winder refused to stay in the rear, away from the fighting. On August 9, 1862, while personally and needlessly directing the gunners in the Rockbridge Artillery at Cedar Mountain, Winder was struck by a shell that tore through his side and nearly severed his left arm. Carried to the rear on a stretcher, he worried aloud about his family: "My poor darling wife and little pets," he gasped. "What will become of them?"  He died an hour later and was later buried near Easton, Maryland.


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Courtesy of the 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation, Inc.
Last Updated March 20, 2005
Copyright 2005