A Recent Article on Col. Mudge

A worthy piece of research bearing on Col. Mudge and the events at Gettysburg – written in the modern era – is the article, A CALL OF LEADERSHIP; Lt. COL. CHARLES REDINGTON MUDGE, U.S.V. AND THE SECOND MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY AT GETTYSBURG, by Anthony J. Milano. It appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, January 1, 1992, Issue No. 6.

As usual, I would like nothing better than to reproduce it here, as it makes for fascinating reading. As usual, copyright restrictions prevent that.

I will offer though, from the article, a few excerpted lines from Mudge’s letters home.

They are just snatches, pieces, of an extended conversation between a son and his father. But I enjoy hearing the words in my mind, as he might have whispered them under his breath, writing in camp at night after a long day’s marching.

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After Antietam:

…Our regiment went in, that is, was actually engaged three times in the battle of Wednesday. Twice we were very fortunate, making the rebels run and not suffering ourselves, but the other time we got the worst of it, losing fifteen killed and fifty-five wounded out of less than two hundred….I got a blow on the ribs from a ball which penetrated through my blouse, vest, and two shirts, and skinned my ribs, but only disabled me for a few moments. I thought I was killed when it struck me, but recovered almost immediately…there are no words left to express what Wednesday’s fight was,—the whole ground was fought over twice, each side feeling how great an issue was at stake.

 

–C.R. Mudge to E.R Mudge, Maryland Heights, September 25, 1862

Comey Family Civil War Papers, Box 1, Folder 13, Manuscript Collection of the American Antiquarian Society.

After Chancellorsville:

…Our men behaved better than ever. Cogswell was wounded early, and then I took command,—gaining and holding ground for fifteen minutes without a cartridge,—until ordered to retire, which I did very slowly, halting and facing frequently. We took in four hundred and thirty men and twenty­ two officers, and lost, as near as I can get it at present, twenty‑two men killed, ninety‑eight wounded, sixteen missing,—one officer killed, four wounded, several grazed. I think the killed is larger, as some of the wounded could not have lived long….The colors are getting to look a little hard….3

 

–C.R. Mudge to ER. Mudge, Extreme left of the Army of the Potomac covering the United States Ford, May 5, 1863

Comey Family Civil War Papers, Box 1, Folder 13, Manuscript Collection of the American Antiquarian Society.

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Charles Redington Mudge, As Photographed By John Adams Whipple

At some point in the course of the war, Charles Redington Mudge sat for the well-known photographer, John Adams Whipple.

During that time, Whipple made several plates. At least three that I know of. One of Mudge standing, and two sitting.

In the preceding post, I showed the standing pose. But by far the most common, and emotionally resonant, are the two that show  Mudge seated– one with his hand under his chin, the other with his hands folded on the table.

There are many versions of the “hand under chin” frame. Most of them are cropped and low resolution. Good at best, not great.

In the early 2000s, I took a period print of this frame, currently in a family residence, to be archivally re-matted, and I used the opportunity to make a high resolution scan of it. This particular print is quite large and may actually have been part of the studio’s retouch process. A grayish wash or ink has been directly applied to the paper, smoothing out both Mudge’s uniform, and the drapery over the table.

Here below, is a version of that scan, sized for the Web.

 

mudge-complete-portrait-low-res

 

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Charles Redington Mudge in Harvard Memorial Biographies

The following was originally published in Harvard Memorial Biographies, and later reproduced in the book Mudge Memorials, by Alfred MudgeAlfred Mudge, Boston 1868, pp. 370-382. I have included it here in its entirety, preserving the original spellings.

 

cdv-of-lt-colonel-charles-e-mudge-2nd-mass-kia

CRM, photo [CDV or carte de visite] taken by John Adams Whipple (Boston, MA).

 

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Charles Redington Mudge

First Lieutenant 2d Mass. Vols. [Infantry], May 25, 1861; Captain, July 8, 1861; Major, November 9, 1862; Lieutenant-Colonel, June 6, 1863; killed at Gettysburg, Pa., July 3, 1863.

Charles Redington Mudge was the son of Enoch Redington and Caroline A. (Patten) Mudge. He was born in New York City, on the 22d day of October, 1839. He studied for several years at the private school of Mr. Thomas G. Bradford, at that time a favorite teacher in Boston; and went thence to Harvard College in the summer of 1856, joining the Class of 1860. The most salient point in his college career was, beyond question, his exceeding popularity,—a popularity of an unusual and very flattering nature, which made him an especial favorite in his own chosen circle, and also left him perhaps nearly the only man in the Class who could be sure of a kind word and friendly deed from every member. In his case, this popularity was founded upon a remarkable unwavering kindliness of nature. An instinct assured each classmate that there could be no chance of a word of harshness or of sarcasm from him. It was his nature to appreciate the good traits of every one. Each comrade felt that Mudge saw the bright side of his character, and recognized all his best qualities. He had many accomplishments, too, of a nature highly esteemed by young and old. He had a good voice and ear, and sung with spirit from an inexhaustible repertory. He was lithe, muscular, and athletic in build, and very. fond of manly sports and exercises. He was a good oarsman, an excellent boxer, and distinguished in the Gymnasium. During nearly the whole of his college course he belonged to a club‑table, very many of the members of which have since won for themselves honorable names in the war, of whom Colonels Rob’t G. Shaw, Caspar Crowninshield and Henry S. Russell may be mentioned as perhaps the most conspicuous. He was an active and prominent member of the Glee Club, and a leading “brother” of the Hasty Pudding Club. Of the last he was also, during one term, Vice‑President.

After graduating he made preparations for entering the manufacturing business, in which his father’s prominent position gave him promise of an excellent opening. But the breaking out of the war at once changed his occupation, his objects, and his destiny. Every dweller in Boston and vicinity must have a fresh personal recollection of the prompt emulation with which young men from Boston and its neighborhood hastened to solicit commissions in the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers; and among these Mudge was enrolled from the outset, his commission as First Lieutenant bearing date May 26,1861. He wrote, Nov. 16,1862, looking back to these opening scenes:—

If you will just look back to that Sunday morning when you and I jumped out of our beds at the news of the capture of Fort Sumter,—I fully made up my mind to fight; and when I say fight, I mean win or die. I do not wish to stop the thing half‑way. I wish to establish the government upon a foundation of rock.

The results of this earnest trust and stern intent were marked and admirable in him, as in so many others. Boyish things were put off, and their place was filled by a thoughtfulness, a depth of moral conviction, and a steadiness of moral purpose, not often to be found in a young man scarce twenty‑two years of age.

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Charles Redington Mudge

Lt. Col. Charles Redington Mudge, or Charley Mudge as he was known to friends and family, was Mr. Grand’s [James Lawrence 1878-1969] uncle, the brother of his mother, Caroline Estelle Mudge Lawrence. Mudge fought in the Civil War, in numerous key battles, and by the time of his death at twenty-three, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was killed at Gettysburg, on the third day of fighting when – leading a charge that could be called the very definition of bravery – a ball struck him just below the throat.

In the year of his death, the following obituary appeared in a Harvard alumni publication.

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Association of the Alumni of Harvard College

 Necrology of the Past Year

col-mudge

1863. Lieutenant‑Colonel Charles Redington Mudge was killed in the battle of Gettysburg 3d July, 1863, aged twenty-three years. He was the son of Enoch Redington and Caroline A. [Patten] Mudge, and was born in New York City 22d October, 1839. He was fitted for college at the private school of Thomas Gamaliel Bradford H.U. 1822] in Boston. With the exception of a few months passed in preparing to enter business with his father, he was in the service of his country—having joined the 2d Mass. Infantry—the first three years’ regiment raised for the war. He went into the service with his whole soul. He was commissioned as First Lieutenant, was promoted to be Captain July 8, 1861, and was subsequently made Lieutenant‑Colonel. While encamped at Brook Farm he slept on the bare ground to prepare himself for the life which he was to lead. His regiment was spoken of as a model for its admirable drill. When they covered the rear of General Banks’ retreat, Colonel Mudge was with them in their dangerous path; and in the battle of Winchester, May 25, 1862, received his first wound. The officers of his regiment never failed to express their opinion of his military qualities and abilities in the highest terms. But there are other traits in his character which will be remembered with the warmest affection by his young contemporaries. In his college course his popularity was universal, and he was a favorite in every clique, and in the most different sets. Every one was his friend in need, and no one would have hesitated a moment to have asked his services with the certainty of a kind reception.