Charles Henry Campbell


From Wayland in the Civil War, Memorial, 76-96


“None who heard the brief statement of his fixed determination, at a public meeting of his fellow-citizens on the 30th of July, 1862, and his simple invitation to others to come forward and enroll their names as volunteers, can ever forget the scene, as he led the way, followed by other young men, to the desk of the recruiting-officer.  The hall, so still the moment before, now shook with bursts of (long) applause.  Thus did his soldier-life begin.”


Campbell had four children at home (the youngest but three years old) and a farm to run. His wife’s uncle, William Heard offered to help. According to his niece Mary Heard (handwritten note in Historical Society):


“William Heard (II), my uncle, was born here and lived in the village.  He was a man of strong character and quick temper.  But behind his rough manner and sharp tongue was a warm heart and ready hand to respond to every call for help and sympathy in trouble and sickness.  When the Civil War broke out, he said to Mr. Charles Campbell, ‘I am too old to go, but if you will enlist, I will run your farm while you are gone.’  And he did as he had promised.”


He served in several battles and saw he could handle the pressure as well as any of the younger men. As part of the medical department of the 35th he became a well-qualified nurse skilled in hospital work. Because of his sympathetic nature, he mended bodies as well as minds, staying with the regiment until the end of the war.


He also had a spirit of adventure and went on scouting trips to find supplies. One such effort brought fresh pork from a lady’s piggery, and inspired this short poem from Campbell:


“And rebel fowls are just as sweet

As the most loyal turkey-hen;

And Dixie’s pigs make as good meat

As grunters fed in the Northern pen.


Then put this porker down to roast;

Be gay, whate’er the morning come:

‘Long live the Union!’ be our toast,

‘A speedy peace, a welcome home!’”


Charles Campbell was held in high regard by the other Wayland men of the 35th, who went to him for counsel and friendship and he sympathized and comforted “them in their hours of sickness and trial.”


He brought back a Negro named David Baker, who is buried near the Campbells in the North Cemetery. No information has been found out about him, but the Memorial reveals Campbell’s feelings of sympathy for blacks he encountered in the war.