Charles Champion Gilbert (1822-1903)

Charles Champion Gilbert (March 1, 1822 January 17, 1903) was a U.S. Army officer during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.

Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio on March 1, 1822.. He graduated from West Point in the famed Class of 1846, finishing 29th out of 59 students. His classmates included twenty future Civil War generals, including George B. McClellan, "Stonewall" Jackson, George Stoneman, Darius N. Couch, and George Pickett.

He was assigned to the 3d infantry and served in Veracruz and Mexico City during the Mexican-American War before serving in Texas in frontier duty until1850.

He returned to West Point an assistant professor in 1850 as an instructor. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on June 10, 1850, and fulfilled his duties until September 28, 1855, after which he was on duty at various forts in Texas until the beginning of the Civil War. He distinguished himself in conflicts with Indians, and was advanced to captain on December 8, 1855.

Shortly after the Civil War started, Gilbert was appointed captain in the 1st U.S. Infantry and fought in the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, where he was wounded. On September 21, 1861, he was made inspector general of the Department of the Cumberland and the Army of the Ohio during the Battle of Shiloh and the advance on Corinth, serving until August 25, 1862. During this time he was engaged in the march to Pittsburg Landing in March-mid April, 1862, and in the battle of Shiloh on April 7, 1862, when he was brevetted major. He was promoted to a brigadier-generalship of volunteers on September 9, 1862.

During the Confederate Heartland Offensive William Nelson's Army of Kentucky was added to the Army of the Ohio, becoming its III Corps. When Nelson was killed in late September, all other ranking officers in the army refused the appointment to corps command. Therefore, Gilbert was advanced from captain all the way to acting Major General in command of the corps. A week later, on October 8, 1862, he was engaged in the Battle of Perryville and for his gallantry was brevetted colonel in the regular army. Although his troops were successful in checking the last of the Confederate attacks and driving a Confederate brigade back through Perryville, Gilbert was criticized for his slow action in battle and his appointment to major general was never approved by the Senate.

Taking command of the 10th division of the Army of the Ohio, he guarded the Louisville and Nashville railroad through the winter, when he became assistant to the provost marshal at Louisville until June 2, 1863. He was then appointed major in the 19th U.S. Infantry and held administrative posts for the remainder of the war.

Gilbert served at various forts until September 21, 1866, when he was transferred to the 28th infantry. He became lieutenant colonel of the 7th infantry, July 8, 1868, colonel of the 17th infantry on May 19, 1881, and was retired from active service on March 1, 1886. He died in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 17, 1903.