Military Wiki
Charles P. Mattocks
Born (1840-10-11)October 11, 1840
Died May 16, 1910(1910-05-16) (aged 69)
Place of birth Danville, Vermont
Place of death Portland, Maine
Place of burial Evergreen Cemetery (Portland, Maine)
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862–1865, 1898
Rank Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Unit Maine 17th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War
Spanish–American War
Awards Medal of Honor
Spouse(s) Ella Robbins

Charles Porter Mattocks (October 11, 1840 – May 16, 1910) was a colonel in the Union Army and received the Medal of Honor. He was born in Danville, Vermont and served in the 17th Maine Infantry during the American Civil War. He was captured and interned as a prisoner of war for nine months. Later, he commanded the Maine State Militia and served as a Brigadier General during the Spanish–American War. He was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1880, was a county attorney for Cumberland County, Maine, and argued a case before the Supreme Court.

Early life and family[]

Mattocks was born in Danville, Vermont on October 11, 1840, as the only son of Henry Mattocks and Martha Osgood Porter Mattocks.[1]:44[2][3] His father Henry was born in Middlebury, Vermont on December 12, 1805, and worked as a merchant and banker for most of his life, including as a cashier at the Caledonia National Bank in Danville. He died in 1844, when Charles was three years old.[1]:44[lower-alpha 1]

Henry's brother, Samuel, also worked at the bank later on, as did Samuel's son. Charles's mother Martha was born in Danville, and married Henry in 1839. Samuel Mattocks, Charles's grandfather, was the former Vermont State Treasurer, and commanded a Connecticut company during the American Revolutionary War.[4]:150

When Charles Mattocks was 10, his mother remarried to Issac Dyer, a Maine lumberman, and moved with Charles to his home in Baldwin, Maine.[3][5] Charles studied at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and Lewiston Falls Academy in Auburn, Maine.[6][lower-alpha 2] In 1858, Mattocks entered Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, at the time a small college town, and graduated in 1862. During his school years, he was a member of both the Peucinian Society and Delta Kappa Epsilon,[6] and studied elocution and German under professor Joshua Chamberlain.[3] In 1861, Charles was elected by his peers as the Peucinian Orator, missing only 4 votes. In May of that year, Charles formed a military company under the name of the "Bowdoin Guards." They were supplied arms and ammunition, but not uniforms, by the government. In all, 75 of the 144 students volunteered for the unit, to be commanded by Mattocks.[3]

While at Bowdoin, Chamberlain "challenged him to bear down and live up to his potential."[8] Chaimberlain and Mattocks both enlisted in the Union Army in the summer of 1862, along with 25 other students, three of whom joined Charles in the 17th Maine Volunteers.[3][4]:150

Military service[]

American Civil War[]

Union POW's

In 1862, upon his graduation from Bowdoin College, Mattocks enlisted in the Union Army.[9] He was commissioned as a lieutenant of the 17th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and fought with the Army of the Potomac in all its major battles, including the Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Appomattox Court House.[5][6] Mattocks began a journal on April 18, 1863, that he kept almost every day until June 14, 1865, detailing his experiences throughout the war.[3] His regiment fought in the Battle of Chancellorsville, where his company lost 14 men and two officers.[3] A few days after the battle, he and his company were mentioned by name in the official report written by Brigadier General J. H. Hobart Ward, commending "their valuable assistance and gallant conduct on the night of the 2d of May."[3] On July 2, 1863, in the Wheatfield during the Battle of Gettysburg, his regiment lost over 100 soldiers. According to his letters to his mother, both men standing beside him had been killed.[8] On July 22, Mattocks was chosen as a "Conscript Delegate," ordered to organize conscripts from Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts that would eventually reinforce the 17th Maine.[3]

In January 1864, the colonel of the 17th Maine was promoted, and Mattocks was given command of the regiment.[5] He was brevetted a colonel for his actions in the Battle of Sailor's Creek, and shortly thereafter, on March 13, 1865, brevetted as a brigadier general for "faithful and meritorious services".[10]

In the winter of 1864, Mattocks was moved from the 17th Maine and placed in command of the 1st United States Sharpshooters (USS).[5] He commanded the 1st USS in the Battle of the Wilderness, after which he was captured by the Confederate Army.[4]:150 He was a prisoner for six months, until he escaped the Confederate prison camp outside Columbia, South Carolina on November 3, 1864, alongside Captain Julius Litchfield and Lieutenant Charles Hunt, officers from other Maine regiments who were captured in the same battle.[lower-alpha 3] On their way back to Union territory, they trekked for two days without food before encountering a slave, who fed them "chicken, corn bread & potatoes."[8] He also received material support from both Union and Confederate Freemasons while in prison camps and during his escape.[3] Mattocks was recaptured 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Union lines, on November 28, by Cherokee scouts, then in service of the Confederacy.[4]:150[11] He was forced to walk over 100 miles (160 km) to Morgantown, West Virginia, where they were then transported by train to a prison camp in Danville, Virginia.[4]:150[8][lower-alpha 4] Mattocks was released in late February, 1865. Rather than resuming his previous command of the 1st USS, Mattocks was granted permission from the Secretary of War to rejoin the 17th Maine, where he first served outside Petersburg, Virginia.[5]

Regarding his command style, one of his enlisted soldiers, John Haley, wrote after the war that, "I can't think of any officer I'd sooner part with, for he was very pompous and had yards and yards of superfluous red tape about him."[3]

Medal of Honor[]

On April 6, 1865, Major Mattocks led his regiment in a charge during the Battle of Sailor's Creek. His regiment of 220 men captured two stands of colors, two pieces of artillery, about 300 prisoners, and a loaded wagon train.[4] He was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 29, 1899.[12]

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major Charles Porter Mattocks, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 6 April 1865, while serving with 17th Maine Infantry, in action at Deatonsville (Sailor's Creek), Virginia. Major Mattocks displayed extraordinary gallantry in leading a charge of his regiment which resulted in the capture of a large number of prisoners and a stand of colors.[13]

Sailor's Creek was the last battle of the American Civil War in which Mattocks participated.[1]:45


Judge Charles Mattocks, c. 1903

Other engagements[]

After the Civil War, Mattocks entered the Maine State Militia as a captain in 1868. In 1879, he was promoted to colonel, commanding all infantry in the state.[4]:150

During the Spanish–American War, Mattocks served as a Brigadier General of Volunteers in the United States Army, commanding the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division under Major General James F. Wade. The regiments under him were the 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry, 52nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and the 1st Mississippi Volunteer Infantry.[14] Mattocks was ordered to take command of the regiments at Chickamauga, Georgia, but the war ended before he was able to take part in the action.[15]

On October 7, 1898, Mattocks along with 28 other generals were honorably discharged from the volunteer army of the United States by the War Department. This was not due to the performance of the generals, but rather because the size of the army had been reduced by 50%, and there was no longer a need for such a large number of officers.[16]

Post-Civil War[]

Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument, also known as Our Lady of Victories, c. 1895

Mattocks attended Harvard Law School, studied under Edward Fox, and graduated in 1867.[6] On June 27, 1871, he married Ella R. Robinson, daughter of Augustus Robinson, in Portland, Maine.[17] He then opened a law office in Portland, and in 1869, became county attorney for Cumberland County, Maine. He held the position from 1870 to 1873.[15][18] During October 1882, Morril v. Jones appeared in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mattocks represented the defendant, Treasurer Lot M. Morrill, who lost the case.[19]

Mattocks maintained a large farm in Baldwin, Maine.[4]:150 Mattocks was an active member of the executive committee of the Union Soldiers and Sailors, a post-war veterans group campaigning against the Democratic Party.[20] Mattocks was a Freemason, as well as an Adjutant General and Department Commander in the Grand Army of the Republic in Maine.[21][22] He was also one of the first members of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.[5]

Mattocks, along with 20 other Maine veterans, was appointed to the Portland Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Association, in order to supervise the creation of the Our Lady of Victories monument, memorializing Portland soldiers and sailors who died during the Civil War.[23][lower-alpha 6] He also acted as the orator to introduce a statue of Major General Joseph Hooker, erected in Massachusetts.[25]:75–114 In 1880, Mattocks was elected to the Maine House of Representatives, as a Republican, and served there for four years.[lower-alpha 7] He was appointed Inspector-General on Governor Frederick Robie's staff on January 12, 1883.[28] Mattocks was appointed judge of probate for Cumberland County in December 1900.[15][29]

World's Columbian Exposition[]

In 1893, Mattocks served as executive commissioner from Maine to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.[5] He was in charge of the creation and execution of Maine's building for the exposition. It was described by Campbell's Illustrated Weekly as "one of peculiar shape, being somewhat irregular and running to a point" and designed to be different from any other State's building. It was built with granite and slate, much of which was donated by Maine quarrymen.[5]

Death and legacy[]

Mattocks died at 17 Lewis Street in Portland, Maine, on May 16, 1910 from nephritis. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery with full military honors.[1]:45[30] After his death, his wife, Ella Mattocks, was paid $50 monthly as part of Charles's military pension.[31] In 1955, the Charles P. Mattocks Scholarship was established at Bowdoin College.[32] The Brown Memorial Library in Baldwin, Maine, also home to the Baldwin Historical Society, was established in 1907 based on a tract of land originally donated by Mattocks.[33]


See also[]


  1. According to the biography of the Maine State Museum, Martha later remarried Issac Dyer and the family moved to Maine. Although the exact timing of this is unclear, they state simply that the family was in Baldwin, Maine at the time of the 1860 United States Census.[1]:44
  2. Later renamed Edward Little High School.[7]
  3. Litchfield was from the 4th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and Hunt from the 5th Maine Battery.[1]:44
  4. One source has him at some point incarcerated at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. While this was reportedly following his recapture, it is unclear whether this may have occurred before or after his term in Danville.[6]
  5. One source states simply that he was "mustered into the 17th Maine, Company A, as 1st lieutenant on August 21, 1862."[1]:44
  6. The monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.[24]
  7. The Maine Legislature's database records his years of service as 1883 to 1886.[26] However, his obituaries from Bowdoin College and the American Bar Association record his dates of service as 1880–1884.[6][27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Bennett, Bob; Fuller, Dave; Radcliffe, Jane; LaBar, Laurie. "Maine Voices from the Civil War and To the Highest Standard: Maine’s Civil War Flags". Maine State Museum. Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  2. "Vermont Vital Records, 1760–1954". 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Mattocks, Charles P. (1994). Racine, Philip N.. ed. Unspoiled Heart - The Journal of Charles Mattocks of the 17th Maine. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-834-7. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Clayton, W. W. (W Woodford) (1880). History of Cumberland Co., Maine. The Library of Congress. Everts & Peck. ISBN 978-1175203502. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "Campbell's Illustrated Weekly". 8 April 1892. p. 108. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Bowdoin College (1911). Obituary Record of the Graduates of Bowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine. pp. 29–30. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  7. "History of Edward Little". Edward Little High School. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Crofts, Dan (November 3, 2014). "Yankee Runaways". 
  9. "Major Mattocks, Charles P., U.S. Army". 
  10. United States Senate (1887). "Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America". Order of the Senate of the United States. p. 262. 
  11. "The Civil War 150th Anniversary". Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  12. State of Maine (2005). "Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients". 
  13. "Charles Mattocks – Recipient – Military Times Hall Of Valor". 2018. 
  14. United States Adjutant-General's Office (1902). "Correspondence Relating to the War with Spain and Conditions Growing Out of the Same: Including the Insurrection in the Philippine Islands and the China Relief Expedition, Between the Adjutant-General of the Army and Military Commanders in the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico, China, and the Philippine Islands, from April 15, 1898, to July 30, 1902". U.S. Government Printing Office. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Chamber of Commerce Journal of Maine". 1903. p. 435. 
  16. "Many Generals Dismissed.; No More Employment in the Volunteers for Three Major Generals and Twenty-six Brigadiers". The New York Times. 8 October 1898. 
  17. "Maine Vital Records, 1670–1921". 
  18. Goulka, Jeremiah E. (12 October 2005). "The Grand Old Man of Maine: Selected Letters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, 1865–1914". University of North Carolina Press. p. 34. 
  19. Supreme Court of the United States (1883). "United States Reports, Supreme Court: Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States". Little, Brown and Company. p. 467. 
  20. "The Republican Campaign; the War Veterans. Important Action of the Defenders of the Union—a National Convention to Be Held in Indianapolis—Address to the Soldiers and Sailors of the Republic.". The New York Times. 19 July 1876. 
  21. "The National Memorial Day: A Record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29 and 30, 1869". University of North Carolina Press. 9 April 1870. p. 34. 
  22. Parker, Bowdoin S. (9 April 2018). "What one Grand Army post has accomplished: history of Edward W. Kinsley Post, no. 113, Department of Massachusetts, Grand Army of the Republic, Boston, Mass". The Norwood Press. p. 210. 
  23. Maine Legislature (1883). "Acts and Resolves as Passed by the Legislature". Kennebec Journal. p. 263. 
  24. "Maine – Cumberland County". Retrieved 11 April 2018. 
  25. Gragg, Isaac Paul (1903). The Equestrian Statue of Major General Joseph Hooker: Erected and Dedicated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Wright & Potter Printing Company. p. 75. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  26. "Legislators' Biographical Database". Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  27. American Bar Association (1910). Annual Report: Including Proceedings of the Annual Meeting. p. 675. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  28. "Gov. Robie's Staff.". The New York Times. 13 January 1883. 
  29. "Charles P Mattocks – Congressional Medal of Honor". 
  30. New York State Legislature (1912). "Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York". E. Croswell. p. 321. 
  31. "Congressional Record – Senate". June 6, 1910. 
  32. "Bowdoin College Catalogue (1972–1973)". Bowdoin College. Retrieved 10 April 2018. 
  33. "History". Retrieved 10 April 2018. 

External links[]

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