Charles Henderson was born in 1837 in Norway.
Charles immigrated to America sometime before the war broke out, and eventually settled in western Michigan.
He stood 5’9” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and he was a 24-year-old laborer possibly living in Nelson, Kent County or in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
On February 7, 1862, Charles was court-martialed at Johnson’s House, Virginia. Specifically, that “having on the 23rd of January, 1862, been duly detailed and mounted as guard at Camp Michigan, Va., was at the hour of 5 o’clock P.M. when it was time to post the second relief, so drunk as to be unable to discharge his duty as sentinel.” Second, he was charged with disobedience of orders. That Charles, “when ordered by his superior office, Sergeant Sidney B. Smith . . . to go to the guard house refused to obey said officer . . . and did reply in words, to wit, ‘I will not go to the guard house and if you attempt to put me there I will kill you,” or words to that effect.” Third and last, with violating Article 9, that Charles “did draw a stick of wood” and threaten to kill Sergeant Smith.
He was found guilty of the first two charges and not guilty of threatening to kill Sergeant Smith, and sentenced to 8 days’ solitary confinement, on bread and water, 30 days hard labor and a $10 fine.
Charles eventually returned to duty and was probably wounded on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and absent sick in the hospital in September of 1862. He was on detached service in October, in the hospital from November of 1862 through March of 1863, and in June he was a guard at Third Corps headquarters. On December 24, 1863, Charles reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Nelson, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was reported absent sick in February, but was apparently returned to duty by the time he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.
George Lemon, formerly of Company H, wrote home on July 6, 1864, that Henderson was one of the few remaining members of the old “Muskegon Rangers” left in the Regiment. Charles was a Sergeant when a mine ball shot him in the left leg on March 25, 1865, at the battle of Hatcher’s Run near Petersburg, Virginia (his hospital admission card states “6 miles to the left”). He was subsequently admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, on April 1, from Petersburg, suffering from a gunshot wound, the “ball entering anterior portion of left thigh 8 inches below anterior superior spinous process of left ilium, exit one inch from tuberosity of ischium (left).” Charles was transferred to the general hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania where he was discharged on July 13, 1865, for a fractured femur.
After the war Charles returned to Michigan.
He was living in Michigan in 1865 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 100951). He was living in Nelson, Kent County in 1903.