Union Colonel Charles Shiels Wainwright received his commission to major in the 1st New York Artillery October 17th 1861.
Charles Shiels Wainwright was born December 31st 1826 in New York City, the son of William P Wainwright. He grew up on his father’s estate in the Hudson Valley known as “The Meadows”, where they grew produce that he delivered to the markets in the city.
Wainwright was 34 in 1861 when the Civil War started. He began keeping a diary on October 1st that year. Wainwright received a commission in the 1st New York Artillery on October 17th 1861 to Major. He was with his guns at the Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Wainwright served as the chief of artillery of the First Corps, where he received praise from Union Brigadier General Henry J Hunt. During the Battle of Gettysburg Wainwright commanded the artillery on the eastern part of Cemetery Hill on July 2nd 1863, and was involved in the twilight attack on the hill. When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized in 1864 Wainwright became the chief of artillery for the Fifth Corps. It was in this position that his guns broke the Confederate attack at the Battle of North Anna. He was given a brevet promotion to Brigadier General August 1st 1864.
After the war ended Wainwright returned to Dutchess County, New York and farming, before doing a tour of Europe, and then settling in Washington, DC. He died at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC September 13th 1907, and is buried in the Green Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York. Wainwright’s brother inherited the diary he had kept during the Civil War, and he used it to write “A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S Wainwright, 1861 – 1865”.