Biographical / Historical
Charles Champion Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio on 1 March 1822, one of ten children of Charles Champion Gilbert (1797-1844) and Deborah Cass Silliman Gilbert (1804-1839). The younger Gilbert graduated from West Point, Class of 1846, finishing 21st out of 59 students. During the Mexican–American War he served in the 3rd U.S. Infantry and 1st U.S. Infantry and fought at Veracruz and Mexico City. Then he served in Texas for two years. Returning to West Point in 1850 as the Assistant Professor of Geography, History and Ethics he was promoted to first lieutenant on June 10, 1850. In 1855, now a captain in the 1st Infantry, he returned to Texas for frontier duty and Indian fighting. In 1858 he married Mattie J. Prather, and in time they had six children.
When the Civil War began, Gilbert commanded the post of Fort Cobb, Indian Territory. Rejoining his regiment he was wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek (also known as Battle of Oak Hills and Battle of Springfield) on August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri. He was appointed Inspector General of the Army of the Ohio during the battles of Shiloh and Corinth. During the Kentucky Campaign he was brevetted Major General and given a corps command in the Army of the Ohio. He then commanded the Army of Kentucky, and eventually the Army of the Ohio. After he served as the Assistant Provost Marshal.
After the war, he returned to the West serving in the 28th U.S. Infantry and 7th U.S. Infantry Regiments. When he retired in 1886 he was the Commanding Officer of the 17th U.S. Infantry with the rank of colonel. He died in Baltimore, Maryland on January 17, 1903.