August 9th, 2012: Charles Winder

Posted on: 08/09/2012

150 years ago today an often overlooked battle took place near Culpeper, Virginia.  The Battle of Cedar Mountain was a prelude to the Second Manassas Campaign and marked the shifting of the focus of the war in the east to Northern Virginia.  Cedar Mountain was also the site of the death of an often overlooked Confederate commander, Charles Winder.

Charles Winder was born in Easton, Maryland in 1829.  He was well educated gorwing up and attended West Point to graduate in the class of 1850 22nd out of 44 cadets.  Winder was initially commissioned into the artillery he spent most of his pre-war career as a captain of infantry, serving along the West Coast.

Even before the firing on Fort Sumter Winder resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and was soon in command of a regiment of South Carolinians.  He was a strict disciplinarian and noticed by higher ups, resulting in him becoming a brigadier general less than a year into his Confederate Army career.  His first and last assignment as a general was to command the former brigade of Richard Garnett, who had been removed by Stonewall Jackson due to his conduct at Kernstown.

150 years ago today Winder was very ill and was under doctor’s orders to rest.  Winder ignored this, however, as his command was attacked late in the day during the Battle of Cedar Mountain.  Not wanting to miss an important battle, Winder was up front amongst Union shells bombarding his troops’ positions.  One of the Union shells found its mark, and mangled the left side of Winder’s body, inflicting a very serious wound.  Winder died a few hours later.

Winder was eventually buried in his family’s plot in Easton, Maryland.

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