Charles Hamilton Van Dusen was born on May 20, 1840, in Scotland, Brant County, Ontario, Canada, the son of Abram (or Abraham or Abner, b. 1811) and Louisa (Malcolm, 1816-1853).
New York native Abram married Canadian-born Louisa in 1837 in Scotland, Ontario, Canada, where they resided for many years. Sometime after 1849 Abram brought his family to Michigan and by 1850 he was working as a physician and Charles was attending school with his older brother James Henry (who would also join the Third Michigan) and younger sister Cecelia in Detroit, Wayne County. Abram eventually settled his family on the western side of the state and by 1853 when Louisa died they were living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County. In about 1855 Abram remarried New York native Laura Robinson (b. 1813), and by 1860 he was practicing medicine in Grand Haven, Ottawa County. (He married his third wife Lucinda Newell in about 1861 in Michigan.) By 1860 Charles was working as a farm laborer and/or living with the Ira Robinson family in Robinson, Ottawa County.
Charles was 21 years old and probably living in Ottawa County or Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861 (he was joined by his older brother James in November of 1861). Charles was promoted to Corporal on September 20, 1861.
According to William Drake, also of Company A, Charles was in the hospital with an unknown ailment sometime in late March of 1862. He eventually recovered, however, and was promoted to Sergeant on July 20, 1862, and to Orderly Sergeant by February 10, 1863, when he left Camp Pitcher, Virginia, where the Regiment was encamped for winter, for Grand Rapids on a 15-day furlough. Indeed, He was home in Michigan during the winter of 1863, and rejoined the regiment in early March of that year. Charles was awarded the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. He was a witness for the prosecution in the court martial of Henry Parker who was absent without leave from the regiment during the battle of Chancellorsville.
Charles was Acting Sergeant Major in October of 1863 through November, and in December was on detached service in Michigan (probably recruiting) where he remained through March of 1864. He returned to the Regiment and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on April 10, replacing Lieutenant George Hubbard, but was never mustered as such. He was absent sick in May and mustered out of the service on June 20, 1864.
Charles eventually returned to Michigan and by 1874 had settled in Midland County.
He married Michigan native Ida Cornelia Greig (b. 1857) on October 16, 1877, in Oakland County, and they had at least two children: Charles D. and Allie (b. 1879).
In 1879 he was living in Milford, Oakland County, and by 1880 was working as a grocer in Milford. He was living in Detroit at 37-39 Woodward Avenue in 1890, and at 61 Hendric Avenue around 1900 and he was still living in Detroit about 1905.
Charles was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and an active member of GAR Fairbanks Post No. 17, serving on the Relief and Employment committee in 1889, and as Post Sergeant Major in 1890. In 1879 he applied for and received a pension (no. 226982).
Charles probably died in 1906, possibly in Detroit.
In August of 1906 his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 628778). In 1920 there was a widow named Ida Van Dusen, b. 1859 in Michigan, living alone in Fairfield, Lenawee County.