Charles W. Burgess: Left for Dead at Shiloh

I don’t know very much about Charles Burgess, except what I have in his service record and from some census records.

However, I can imagine a lot. In my head, I see Charley Burgess lying on the field for dead. Isn’t that one of the first images that you see, too?

When I started learning more about Charles Burgess, years ago, I asked my father, who was living with dementia in a retirement community, if he knew anything about Charles Burgess. And what I will share with you about what he said might not be verbatim, but it will convey the spirit of the message.

Charles Burgess died sometime after 1900. My father was born in 1913. He knew of Charles Burgess. He said that Charles lost a leg at Shiloh. He further said that when Charles was returning home from the war, the family was nervous about how to act around him, because they knew that he had lost a leg.

They saw him coming. He rode up on a fast horse, reined in the horse, and swung down off the horse, as easy as could be. The family’s fears were put at rest, and I wonder how Charley felt as he rode into sight and saw his nervous family.

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“Dead or gone with some lot”

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“Wounded and left on field at Shiloh, supposed dead.”

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He lived through the ordeal.

At some point, he moved to Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, where he was a blacksmith. Imagine that. A blacksmith. Apparently he was good with horses.

In 1893, he married a much younger woman named Margaret,  who had a child. The 1900 census lists the child as Charley’s son, even though they had different last names.

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Charley, we hardly knew you.

 

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