Charles A. Price was born in 1837 in Belknap Crossing, Wyoming County, New York.
Charles left New York and eventually settled settled in Michigan. It is possible that he was living in Lansing just before the war broke out. In fact, he probably became a member of the Lansing militia company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.
He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 24-year-old sawyer probably living in Lansing when he enlisted as Third Corporal in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Charles was possibly related to Captain John R. Price of Company G, who was also from Lansing.) Frank Siverd of Company G wrote on July 19 that Charles had not been in the ranks that day as he was disabled by heat and exhaustion, probably from the previous day’s action at Blackburn’s Ford, near Bull Run. He soon returned to duty, however, and Siverd reported that he was among those who were in the ranks and ready for duty on Sunday, July 21 at Bull Run. On September 5 Siverd noted that “A detachment of our Company under command of Corporal Price had been on the outposts for several days, and a number of them boast of having had a shot at a ‘secessher’.”
During the course of the war, Price wrote a series of letters home to his sister Media (or Medea).
On February 16, 1862, he wrote
It is a bright pleasant Sunday morning & perhaps you are going to church when I am far from it. I came off guard this morning, the rebels have been firing their big guns all night from their battery down the river. They set fire to small boats going up & down the river but they don't amount to much. The 5th Regt. goes out on picket this morning. They have just passed our camp. They have lately got a brass band which plays finely. We have plenty of music, three good bands within a half a mile of each other. Ours is considered the best in the Brigade because they have had more practice. . . . I washed the dishes this morning & I thought that I would let you know what they are. There is five of us now in the tent or hut. We have five tin cups, three tin plates, five spoons & two knives, that is all except . . . a kettle which we use over our stove. Two men do the cooking for the whole company; that is boil the meat, tea & coffee. The bread is cooked in Alexandria but we are living first rate just now and could get us more crockery if we wanted it. One of my chums has lately received a Motherly Chest from home & a valuable one too, filled with eatables that relish: cakes, dried fruit & preserves, 20 lbs of butter, sausages, dried beef & I bought a sack of buckwheat flour and we are now living like fighting cooks getting fat & sassy. We are bound to whip out the secesh or never go back to Michigan. We hear nothing about getting discharged or a furlough. The latter would be next to impossible as there are so many applications at this time. We have lately heard of excellent news, the capture of several important rebel forts, but you will hear all about it before this will reach you. We long for the order to march that we may have a hand in closing them out & then happy we will be to come back. As dinner (buckwheat cakes and bean soup) is about ready I will close.
On March 8, 1863, he wrote his sister from a camp near Fredericksburg, “I am well & think of coming home on a furlough. I cannot have but fifteen days. Was sorry to hear Sarah was so feebly, but cheer her up. We will have a good time. It may be some time before I can get my furlough, but think I will be there some where from the 20th to the 25th. . . . It is Sunday, we have just come in from inspection. It is raining. Some . . . dreary day. No news to write.”
Indeed, he was absent on furlough in March of 1863, but eventually rejoined the Regiment and was a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863.
He wrote his brother from a camp near Warrenton, Virginia, on July 30, 1863, that after the past month the Army of the Potomac was about exhausted
and the men are pretty well fagged out. In your letter you spoke of the Draft. Have they commenced drafting yet? If so who is drafted? Since the last battle our Regiment looks small, I assure you, if they are to be filled up the sooner the better I think. 9 from each Regt of the three year troop of this corps have been sent back to the different states -- to bring on conscripts, 1 capt., 1 1st Lt, 1 2nd Lt, 3 Sergt, 3 privates went from our Regt. They left us yesterday [and] were to report to Detroit. LT J. B. Ten Eyck went from our Co. (G). You have probably heard all the details of the fights at Gettysburg long before this. It was a hard fought battle with heavy loss on both sides. The rebels fought desperately but . . . that they were badly whipped. Orin Wade fell Thursday July 2nd. Early in the forenoon our Regt was then near the front supporting the skirmishers; he was Corp and one of the color guard. Our company was next to the colors [and] he was struck by a piece of shell near the right shoulder blade; it cut his back back and lodged in his lungs. He said that he could not live; he spoke of his folks [and] said that it would kill his mother. He seemed to worry more about his folks than he did [about] himself. He said that he was willing to die if that was to be his fate. He wanted me to write to his folks and send his memoranda home. I helped put him on to a stretcher but did not take his book. He was carried to the rear and died the next morning. I did not see him after he was put on the stretcher. 5 of our co. were wounded, one killed. We all had warm places; one ball went through my . . . book & some letters that I had in my side pack. I will not complain if they do not come any nearer. Sergt. Bissell, Mrs. V._____ brother, was wounded in the thigh (not seriously). He was taken to Baltimore Hospital. We crossed the river on our return back to Va., at Harper's Ferry. We had a skirmish with the rebels at Manassas Gap last Thursday. We drove them back out of the mountains. Loss in our corps was 100 killed and wounded. I don't know how long we are to stay here. We got some clothing yesterday morning some of the men have not had a change of clothes since we left . . . the 11th of June marching through dust, heat sweat rain & mud. We are a [sad] looking lot & need some rest if not but a few days. I cannot write more this time; don't know as you can read this; please write to me soon. Tell mother I often think of her.
From a camp near Sulphur springs in Fauquier County, Virginia he wrote on August 7, 1863,
It is very warm here today & has been for the last three or four weeks. We have a pleasant camp near the springs & are putting up shade bushes around the tent & are making our selves comfortable as we can, though we are in the fields & near the enemy & liable to march at any hour. I think though the summer campaign is over we may stay here some time until cooler weather and they send on some conscripts to fill up our small regts.; we have seen some rough times Media since I bid you good bye in your happy home in quiet Maple Rapids. I have often thought of you and the rest of the folks at home and often ask myself the question Shall I see them again; yes, I think I will. God only knows he has bless me with health & spared my life through many battles. Never a battle but some one is killed & many wounded. Our capt [Jos. Mason] was killed at Chancellorsville; Thurston (a private) was killed at Gettysburg, 5 others wounded, 2 sergt. & 3 privates, Sergt. Bissell (Mrs. Vanscoy's brother), was wounded in the groin and leg, not seriously though. I heard from him the other day, he was at Baltimore Hospital with many others from the Regt. getting along comfortably, but it will be some time before he will be able for duty. I have seen Lyon's once since the battle; he came out all right. I do not flatter myself that we have seen our last battle. I think there will be much more hard fighting before our time is out. The surrender of Vicksburg and the defeat of Lee's invasion in MD. & Penn. will be severely felt by the rebels, but they do not think of giving up, and have men enough to fight a long time yet. If Charleston & Richmond should fall then their case would begin to look hopeless. But, I believe, they would fight a long time then. Are they drafting in Michigan now? We do not hear much about it here. I think if our regt are going to be filled up the sooner the better. There has been a detail from each Regiment of three years' troop send back to bring on conscripts. Lt. Ten Eyck went from our company [with] 8 others from the Regt. They were to report to Detroit [and] they may be sent from there to different parts of the State. If Ten Eyck goes any where near Maple Rapids he will call on you. He is a fine fellow & a good friend of mine. I did not send him there after Myron nor any of the rest of them, but if they are Lucky enough to be drafted I would like to have them come in this Regt. I do not apprehend Myron, George or any [of] the rest around there will be drafted. If they should, tell them not to play up $300 men but to come ahead, balls will not hurt a man until they hit him, although the come very near sometimes.
Charles was left in New York City in August of 1863, when the Regiment passed through on its way to Troy, New York, but rejoined it by the time he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia crediting Lansing, Fourth Ward. He was on veteran’s furlough in April and May of 1864 (and not in January like all the other reenlistees from December of 1863). According to the official records, Colonel Byron Pierce commanding the Third Michigan informed Michigan Adjutant General John Robertson on April 22, 1864, that First Sergeant C. Price had been promoted to First Lieutenant of Company G, as of May 1, replacing Lieutenant Homer Thayer.
Price was taken prisoner on June 8 or 9, near Cold Harbor, Virginia, and transferred as a First Lieutenant and as a prisoner-of-war to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. According to the War Department, he was taken prisoner on June 22 near Petersburg, Virginia, taken to Richmond on June 24, sent on to Macon, Georgia and confined at Camp Asylum near Columbia, South Carolina.
He was reported missing in action from June 9, 1864, through May of 1865, returned to the Regiment on May 5, 1865 and in fact was paroled on March 1, 1865 at N. Ferry North Carolina. Charles was eventually furloughed and went home to Michigan in early april, after which he returned to the east and by the end of the month was at Camp Parole, Maryland. He mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
It is unclear whether Charles returned to Michigan immediately after his discharge.
He married Ann E. Jenne (1840-1920), on December 11, 1866, in Litchfield, Medina County, Ohio, and they had at least one child, Charles A. (1867-1927).
Charles and Ann eventually settled in Fulton, Gratiot County.
Charles died of “rheumatism which affected his heart” on January 7, 1868, and was buried in Ithaca cemetery, Gratiot County .
Ann applied for and received a widow’s pension (application no. 544288).
His widow remarried one John W. Price (d. 1898) in St. Johns in 1873 and they were divorced in 1884. By 1916 she was residing in Ithaca, Gratiot County, and received a widow’s pension (no. 847884), drawing $25.00 per month in 1920.