Colonel Charles M. Bartruff: A Civil War Hero's Journey from Private to Valor

Colonel Charles M. Bartruff’s life unfolded amidst the thunderous backdrop of the American Civil War. His tale is not just about personal ascent through military ranks, but it also chronicles the embodiment of valor, dedication, and leadership during one of America's most defining periods.

The Early Days

Beginning his military journey on April 11, 1861, Bartruff was mustered in as a Private in the Company A, 4th Battalion, District of Columbia Volunteer Infantry. Though his initial service lasted only until July 10, 1861, this brief stint was just a precursor to the significant role he was to play.

The Return and Rapid Rise

By July 31, 1862, he was back on the battlefield, joining the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry as a Private in Company A. Demonstrating his capabilities, Bartruff was quickly elevated to the rank of Sergeant Major by August 30, 1862. His leadership qualities became further evident when he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of Company A on October 31, 1862.

His steadfastness in the line of duty and his natural flair for leadership saw him hold this rank for nearly two years. A testament to his evolving role and increasing responsibility came on September 1, 1864, when he was promoted to Captain. This advancement was to fill the void left by Captain Henry J. Conine, who tragically fell at the Battle of Monocacy, Maryland. As Captain, Bartruff exhibited unwavering resolve, leading his company in several crucial campaigns until the war's culmination in 1865.

Recognition and Legacy

Colonel Bartruff’s gallantry at the siege of Petersburg earned him a distinguished honor. On April 2, 1865, he was brevetted to Lieutenant Colonel, US Volunteers, a recognition of his “gallant and meritorious services before Petersburg, Va.”

After the war, like many of his peers, Bartruff transitioned into civilian life, but the toils of war remained. In recognition of these sacrifices, on April 13, 1897, he filed for a US Army Invalid Veteran Pension.

However, time, as it does for all, caught up with this illustrious soldier. Bartruff passed away on September 3, 1910, in Massillon, Stark County, Ohio, leaving behind a legacy of honor and dedication. Today, he rests at the Massillon City Cemetery, where his gravestone stands as a solemn testament to his contributions.


For those who pass by his resting place or hear his story, Colonel Charles M. Bartruff stands as a symbol of the many heroes of the Civil War — those who risked everything for duty, honor, and country. In the annals of American history, his name shines bright, reminding us of the sacrifices made and the valor exhibited during America's most challenging periods.


Colonel Bartruff’s Colt Revolver along with military documents will be included in the Relics, Antiques, Artifacts: Timeless Treasures auction at Blue Box Auction Gallery on August 19, 2023.