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Abell, Charles Emmet


Age: 25, credited to Orwell, VT
Unit(s): 5th VT INF, 14th VT INF
Service: enl 9/4/61, m/i 9/16/61, SGT, Co. H, 5th VT INF, dis/dsb 1/20/62; comn CPT, Co. D, 14th VT INF, 8/29/62 (10/7/62), m/o 7/30/63 [College: MC 61]

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 05/02/1836, Orwell, VT
Death: 05/20/1913

Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 46679507


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Jones Collection, VHS Collections, USAHEC off-site
College?: MC 61
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


Cousin of Carolyn Adams, Rygate, VT

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Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Vermont Officers Reunion Society Collection
Courtesy Vermont Historical Society


(Jones Collection)


Abell, Charles E., Orwell. Farmer. Born Orwell, May 2, 1836; son of Mason S. and Mary H. (Dickinson) Abell. Educated in the public schools of Orwell, Troy Conference Academy, and Middlebury College, Class of 1861. In 1867 married Mary Jane Root of Orwell. Enlisted as private in Co. H, 5th Vermont Volunteers, Sept. 4, 1861; discharged from service for disability Jan. 20, 1862; reenlisted as captain of Co. D, 14th Vermont Volunteers, Aug. 29, 1862, serving in that capacity until the regiment was mustered out of service July 30, 1863; principal engagement, Gettysburg. In the fall of 1865, occupied the farm at "Abell's Corners," which was cleared by his ancestors, who came to Orwell in 1784, and where he has since been engaged in farming. A Republican; has held most of the elective offices in the gift of the town; represented Orwell in the Legislature 1876; senator from Addison County 1892. A Congregationalist; member Independent Lodge No. 10, F. & A.M., of Orwell; Farmers' Chapter No. 9, R. A. M., of Brandon; Mt. Calvary Commandery No. 1, K. T., of Middlebury.

Notes: F. & A.M. - Free and Accepted Masons; R. A. M. - Royal Arch Masons; K. T. - Knights Templar

Source: Prentiss C. Dodge, editor, "Encyclopedia Vermont Biography," Burlington, Vt.: Ullery Publishing Co., 1912, p. 93.


Charles Emmet Abell was a lucky man. He was born into a wealthy family, given the opportunity to become college educated, survived the war unscathed despite his enlisting into two different Union regiments during the War of the Rebellion and inherited an established, profitable agricultural operation that he and his brother owned free of any mortgage most of their lives.

Charles was born May 2, 1836 in Orwell, Vermont the oldest son of Mason (Masan) S. Abell (1809-1865) and Mary H. (Dickenson) Abell (1808-1878). [1] He had two sisters and one brother. Marian (Maria) was born in 1833; Henrietta's birth was in 1838; and his baby brother, Curran Dickenson came along in 1839. All of them were also born in Orwell. [2] In fact, the Abell family went way back to the 1780's in Orwell when the first Abell's came to the area and settled on a plot of land in town. The financially successive farm they developed became known as "Abell's Corners". Charles' grandfather, Wyllys, his father, Mason, and his mother, Mary, were all born and raised in Orwell.

From the time of his birth in 1836, Charles made Orwell his home, too. In 1850, at twenty-four, he was still living with his mother and father and three siblings on the family homestead - a $7,000 spread at "Abell's Corners". [3] By 1857, Charles was enrolled in Middlebury College. [4]

When the 1860 Federal Census was taken, Charles, a student at Middlebury College, was sharing his residence with his grandfather, Wyllys, his mother and father, and his younger brother, Curran. The farm's value had tripled in ten years to $22,000. [5] Charles' two sisters had left the nest, presumably to begin a family of their own. From 1861 to 1863, Charles was in the military, trying to serve his country during the Civil War.

Charles' military career was somewhat checkered. He enlisted two separate times, into two different regiments at two distinctly different ranks. He first enlisted at twenty-five into Captain Seagar's Company of the Fifth Regiment Vermont Infantry on September 3, 1861 at Brandon, Vermont. He was a good-looking student, five feet nine inches tall with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion from "Orwall", Vermont. He joined as a Sergeant for three years and was mustered-in at St. Albans, Vermont on September 16, 1861. [6] Four months fourteen days later, Sergeant Abell was discharged from the Fifth and made a civilian once again. His discharge papers were dated January 20, 1862 at Camp Griffin, Virginia. [7] The "Certificate of Disability For Discharge" stated: Surgeon WP Russel found Serg't Abell unable to perform the duties of a soldier because - Hernia - caused by an injury received in the performance of his duty as a Soldier in the Service of the United States.... And in my opinion should be discharged. Degree of disability one half...." The discharge was signed by the Colonel of the Fifth Regiment the nineteenth of January, 1862 at Camp Griffin, Virginia. [8]

From January 20, 1862 until August, 1862 Charles seemed to have returned to Orwell to recuperate from his hernia injury. His recovery appeared complete by August 29, 1862 when he passed the physical exam of the doctors to re-enlist at twenty-six. This time, he joined the Fourteenth Vermont, Company D, for nine months as a Captain. He still claimed to be a student at Middlebury College. On October 21, 1862, Captain Abell was mustered-in to begin his second tour of duty. [9] For two months he remained fit and able to perform his duties. Then, on January 29, 1863, Captain Abell wrote a letter to the Adjutant of the Fourteenth Vermont asking for a leave of absence. [10] In his letter, he made reference to the surgeon's certificate in which the reasons for his request "are set forth": "...I have carefully examined this officer and find that he is suffering from the disability & weakness occasioned by an attack of congestive fever (malaria) from which he is now convalescent having been off duty nearly three weeks....that he will not be able to resume his duties in a less period than three weeks...." This certificate was signed January 28, 1863 by L.D. Ross, Assistant Surgeon, Fourteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers. [11]

By April 11, 1863 Captain Abell was back on active duty with the Fourteenth. [12] He was present for the action at Gettysburg in which the Fourteenth played such a key role. Altogether, Charles served in the military for about sixteen months time, most of that with the Fourteenth Vermont.

Since Charles was only with the Fifth for a little over four months, he missed most of the valiant actions of that Regiment. However, he did serve with the Fourteenth for its full term of service. The Fourteenth Vermont only existed for a short time (they were "Ninety Day" men), but they saw hard service during their term of enlistment. At first, the Regiment was attached to those units making up the defenses around Washington, D.C. After December 11, 1862, the Fourteenth was placed on guard duty in and around Fairfax Court House where it was engaged in the repulse of Jeb Stuart's cavalry raid. From March to June, 1863, the Vermonters were stationed at Wolf Run Shoals along with other Vermont troops to guard the vital river ford on the Occoquan River. On the 25th of June, the Fourteenth was attached to the Third Division of the First Corps and began its march northward towards Gettysburg.

It was a grueling march sometimes covering twenty miles a day for consecutive days at a time. Over two hundred of the Regiment were forced to drop out before every reaching Gettysburg because they could not keep up the pace. The Fourteenth arrived at Gettysburg too late to take part in the first day's action. It bivouacked in a wheat field to the left of Cemetery Ridge. Late on the second day, the Regiment was called into action to help the Thirteenth Vermont repel an attack by General A.P. Hill on the left center of the Union line. After the tremendous opening cannonade of July 3, during which several men of the Fourteenth were killed by an explosion of a battery caisson, the left flank of Pickett's long grey line could be seen advancing towards the concealed Vermonters. At less than one hundred yards distance from the enemy, the men of the Fourteenth rose at command and delivered a devastating volley into the Confederate columns. The Thirteenth and Sixteenth changed fronts and added their fire to that of the Fourteenth. The result was that Pickett's right wing was caught and crushed. After the main charge was halted and Pickett's divisions were streaming back towards Seminary Ridge, four companies of the Fourteenth, A, F, D, and I, captured most of Confederate General Wilcox's Brigade as prisoners. This independent action taken by the Vermont troops, was credited by the Union high command as being crucial to the turning of Pickett's Charge. The Fourteenth was also part of the Union's pursuit of Lee's forces following the three day battle. It was during this pursuit that, on July 18, 1863, the Fourteenth was released and sent home. The Fourteenth was mustered-out on July 30, 1863.[13]

Mr. Charles E. Abell now returned to Orwell and the family farm at Abell's Corner to continue doing whatever it was he did before the war. Luckily, he had a bright future to return to unlike many of the veterans. There was the prosperous family business to rededicate himself to that his father and his brother had preserved while he was gone to war. He returned somewhat of a war hero, having been at Gettysburg and playing a key part in that Union victory. Only a few year after returning home, the family was struck with a tragedy. Mason, Charles' father, died on July 9, 1865 of consumption at the age of fifty-six. [14] That left the family farming business to Charles and his brother, Curran. Two years after his father's death, Charles married. On March 12, 1867 in Rutland, he took for his bride a fellow Orwellian, Mary Jane Root. Charles was now thirty. [15]

The 1870's were good years for Charles and his new wife, Charles' brother and the Orwell farm. The two brothers had taken over the family spread and operated it together. Curran had also married a Mary and they lived next door to Charles and Mary Jane. The farm was listed as worth $20,000 ($10,000 for each brother). Even Mary Jane had a separate value of her own - $1,000. [16] Charles served in the State Legislature from 1876-77 in the House of Representatives. [17]

In 1880, Charles and Mary were still living at Abell's Corners in Orwell. They were doing well enough to afford a house servant and two hired men to help with the farm work. Charles became a Vermont Senator in the State Legislature during its 1892-93 session.[18] Charles was sixty-four years old in 1900 and showed signs of slowing down some. He and his wife, Mary, of thirty-three years were still at Abell's Corners. They had one hired man at the time. [19] Long before the 1910 Census was taken, Charles's general farm was paid for so that he had no mortgage. He and his brother owned it outright.

During the Spring of 1913, Charles contracted pneumonia. He died of it on May 20 in Orwell. [20] Mary continued to live on the farm. In 1910, her address remained Abell's Corner Road, Orwell. She was seventy-six. [21] The widowed Mary did not see another census year. At eighty-four, she died in Orwell of carcinoma of the left breast. [22] Apparently, Charles and Mary never had any children so that half of the Abell farm passed on to Curran, Charles' younger brother.

1., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Charles Abell; headstone, Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, Vermont;, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Charles P. Abell;, Memorial #46679507.
2. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Mason Abell.
3. Ibid.
4., Alumni, p. 203.
5., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Charles E. Abell.
6., Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, pp. 2-3, images 311611475 and 311611477. Hereinafter referred to as Compiled Service Records.....
7., Compiled Service Records..., p. 8, image 311611492.
8. Ibid., Compiled Service Records..., p. 10, image 311611498.
9. Ibid., Compiled Service Records..., pp. 3-4, images 312286739 and 312286745.
10. Ibid., Compiled Service Records..., p. 14, image 312286831.
11. Ibid., Compiled Service Records..., p. 13, image 312286824.
12. Ibid., Compiled Service Records..., p. 10, image 312286799.
13., U.S. American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont.
14. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Mason S. Abell.
15. Ibid., for Charles P. Abell.
16. Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Chas Abel.
17., Alumni, p. 203.
18. Ibid. and, 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Charles Abel.
19., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Charles Abell.
20. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Charles Abell.
21. Ibid., 1920 U.S. Federal Census for Mary Jane Abell.
22. Ibid., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Mary Jane Abell..
Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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