Evans, Charles Swaine
Before he enlisted in the Civil War, Charles worked as a shoemaker.
|Place of Birth:||Rensselaerville, NY|
|Date of Birth:||10 Nov 1840|
|Names of Parents:||Henry B.(Evans) and Eunice Mariah Brown|
|Term of Enlistment:||3 years|
|Enlistment Date:||12 Aug 1862|
|State Served:||New York|
|Regiment:||7th Regiment NY Heavy Artillery|
|Promotion Date:||18 Aug 1862|
|Promotion Date:||22 Jul 1863|
|Promotion Date:||1 Feb 1864|
|Promotion Rank:||First Sergeant|
|Promotion Date:||28 Apr 1864|
|Promotion Rank:||Second Lieutenant, Company I|
|Wounded on:||3 Jun 1864|
|Wounded at:||Cold Harbor, VA|
|Died of Wounds on:||5 Jun 1864|
|Place of Death:||Division Hospital,, Cold Harbor, VA|
|Place of Burial:||Cold Harbor, VA|
|Additional Remarks: Enlisted at age 22. Robert Keating says he re-enlisted as a second lieutenant in Co I on April 28, 1864. He was wounded in the right shoulder. "Promoted 2nd Lieutenant Co I soon after being mustered in and was in Battles in and around Cold Harbor. While taking refreshments at Cold Harbor was shot by a rebel sharp shooter died soon after in Hospital & buried at Cold Harbor"|
|Sources Used: Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the year 1898; Keating, Robert, Carnival of Blood: The Civil War Ordeal of the Seventh New York Heavy Artillery, Published by Butternut and Blue, Baltimore, Md 1998; Town and City Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War|
Charles survived the battle at Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864, but several hours later, while resting in some dense brush, he was shot in the shoulder by a sharpshooter. He survived two days in great agony before succumbing at the Division hospital. He was buried in a nearby plowed field.
Additional Research Notes
His photo is from the book Carnival of Blood.
"LIEUT. CHARLES SWAINE EVANS OF RENSSELAERVILLE.
Charles Swaine Evans, the son of Henry I. and Eunice M. Evans, was born in Rensselaerville November 10, 1840.
He early displayed a strong affection for bis parents, and many amiable and noble qualities that endeared him to a large circle of friends. He became hopefully converted, and made a profession of religion in the winter of 1862, in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in Rensselaerville. His life clearly indicated the sincerity of his profession, the depth of his love for his Saviour.
Animated by a pure and lofty patriotism, he enlisted August 2d, 1862, in Company K, Seventh Heavy Artillery Regiment, and when promoted, he was transferred to Company I.
He was in the battles of Fredericksburg Road, Milford Station, North Anna River, Tollapotomy Creek and Cold Harbor. As a soldier, Lieut. Evans was brave, cheerful and always at his post. He shrank from no duty, and was never intimidated by danger. His companions speak of him in terms of the highest praise. While suffering from long marches, unsuitable food and exposure to storms and the cold, he never was heard to utter a word of complaint. His letters, written to his dear parents and sisters at home, breathe a spirit of the warmest affection and deepest interest in their welfare, as well as devotion to his Saviour and to his country's cause.
The following letters, addressed to the members of the church with which he was connected, show his religious feelings while he was in the army:
Fort Pennsylvania, Head Quarters 113th Regiment N. Y. S. V.,
October 24, 1862. \
Brothers and Sisters of the M. E. Church at Rensselaerville:
My heart is with you, but I would that this Sabbath morning I might worship God with you in the old basement, and once more mingle my prayers and songs of praise with yours; and with you feel the influence of the Holy Spirit, strengthening us for the performance of our duty, and filling our whole soul with enjoyment, But God, who moves in a mysterious way, has ordered it otherwise, and in obedience to what I considered my sacred duty, I am to-day far from home and its comforts — far from privileges which I once so much enjoyed; yet I trust and firmly believe that I am not far from the Lord, and I will praise Him this morning. Nothing but my own acts can deprive me of the comforts of His religion, and the enjoyment of His presence.
The excitement of leaving home, the novelty of the soldier's life, and the influence of the associations into which I was thrown, notwithstanding I endeavored to be fortified by grace, all tended to lessen my enjoyment, and to separate me from the God I love. But I am grateful that I have never lost sight of Him, and that I have tried to be faithful in praying to Him, and in attending to all the means of grace within my reach. For the past few weeks, I have been endeavoring, by reflection and prayer, to increase my faith, my enjoyment and my hold upon eternal life; and I have reason to think that God has blessed me. I have more strength, more confidence, more peace; and in writing these few lines, I feel great joy to think that, though absent, I can give in my testimony to the power of religion. May the Lord bless us, may His spirit guide us, and may we all at last dwell in the bright world above.
Conscious that I am trying to do my duty, and feeling that I am on the strongest side, because the Lord God is with me, I am perfectly contented. You can realize the clanger of the body to which I am exposed; but no one, unless by experience, can tell the danger to the soul.
Christians, pray for me, that I may be prepared for all that awaits me; that though I fall bv the bullet or by disease, I may come oft' conqueror. Pray that if it is the Lord's will, I may be preserved; but His will, not mine, be done. Meanwhile the Lord watch between us. Trusting in God,
I am, yours truly,
CHARLES SWALNE EVANS.
Fort Reno, D. C,
March 22, 1863. Brethren and Sisters — I deem it a great privilege, and may God bless me in the use of it, that though separated far from you, I am able to express my love for God's service, and my desire to be one of His most faithful servants, and to merit the promised reward. In looking over the past eight months, 1 cannot but see and feel very grateful for the many evidences I have of God's care. His mercy and His love have been manifested in the preservation of my life and health, in the midst of dangers, exposures and hardships; and the continued blessing of His Holy Spirit alone has kept me safe while in the midst of the temptation and the evil with which I am surrounded. I derive great enjoyment from the consciousness of God's approval, in the gift of my services to my country; and possessing, as I trust, His religion, I am better enabled to discharge my duties, undergo hardships and submit cheerfully to the deprivation of privileges and blessings. It seems to me now, that without this blessed religion of Christ's, the only thing which can satisfy and fill the human heart, my life would be blank indeed, and my situation almost unbearable.
Though we have weekly meetings, and the preaching of the gospel, which I am faithful in attending, I miss very much your Thursday evening prayer meetings, and Saturday night class meetings, which were such helps to me at home. But the memory of those early days in God's service, and of the vows I paid Him in your presence, and of our prayers, tears and songs of praise, give me strength to overcome much of the evil there is in camp life.
I am glad to hear that the spirit of the Lord has been at work in Rensselaerville, convicting, converting and saving souls that were dead in trespasses and in sins. I pray that God may keep you, and especially those who enlisted when I did, from the evil in this world, and bless you in all your efforts to do good, and may He at last crown you in Heaven.
In return, give me your earnest prayers, that I too may be kept from sin, and may exert an influence for Christ, and never bring any reproach upon His name. Pray, if the Lord wills that I should live until this wicked rebellion is crushed, that I may be a useful member of society and a true Christian, constant in the discharge of duty. But if it is the Lord's will that I should lose my life, may I die a Christian soldier, gaining an entrance to Heaven, where no war nor battle sound is heard, and where we can all praise God through eternity.
Your brother in Christ,
C. SWAINE EVANS,
Co. K, 7th N. Y. Vol. Artillery.
The sentiments and principles expressed in these letters, Lieut. Evans labored to carry out in his daily life. Among the soldiers, he was the consistent, faithful and earnest Christian, and the warm, sympathizing friend. His reliance upon God was constant and firm, and he never forgot that he was the professed disciple of Jesus Christ. His religion sustained him in the camp, on the battle field, and in the last trying hour.
On the 3d day of June, 1864, at three o'clock in the morning, a terrible charge was made on the enemy's works at Cold Harbor. Through that severe fight Lieut. Evans passed unharmed. But two days afterwards he was wounded by a sharpshooter, and after lingering a few hours in great agony, he expired. He was conscious to the last, and expressed his perfect trust in the blessed Saviour.
He was buried the same day at Cold Harbor, where his remains still rest. Everything possible has been done to recover them, but the place where he was buried is was plowed over, and the headboard was found two miles from the spot.
Among several letters received by the friends at home, is the following from Mr. Blanchard:
April 8, 1866.
My acquaintance with Lieut. C. S. Evans was somewhat limited. His mind was well cultivated, and his Christian character without blemish. He was always reliable, and everywhere truthful, affectionate and kind. He was a model young man and Christian. He gave good evidence of his patriotism by leaving his friends and the work of preparation for a life of usefulness, as an ambassador for Christ, to endure the trials and exposures of the battle field. But he now rests from his labors, and has gone to his reward.
The following letter, written before Mr. Evans was promoted to the Lieutenancy, shows the estimation in which he was held by a superior officer:
Head Quarters, Draft Rendezvous,
February 17, 1864.
To all whom it may concern:
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Sergt. C. S. Evans, Battery K, Seventh N. Y. Artillery, as capable of holding a commission. He has been under my command some four or five months, and during that time I never found him away from his post. He was always ready and willing to do his duty. He is a good soldier and a perfect gentleman, and nothing could give me greater pleasure than to see him receive his commission, for I think he has honestly earned it. He could do our country, in this her hour of need, better service in such a position than the one he now holds. If it were necessary to say more for him, I would do so.
CHARLES C. BAKER,
Major 39 th Regiment JV. Y. V.
Of the fond brother a dear sister thus writes:
"None knew him but to love; none named him but to praise. We miss him in the home circle, for he was so kind, so good, so noble. But he is to-day in a brighter and better world than this, and we are trying, by the grace of God, to exclaim: 'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.' "
Several hours after the battle, Lieutenant Charles Swaine Evans was resting in a strip of woods adjacent to the wagon track along with a group of men sharing a pot of coffee in some dense brush, where it was mistakenly believed that they would be safe from enemy sharpshooters. Evans had just accepted an offer to join them, and was in the act of drinking a cup of coffee, when he was shot in the right shoulder. After two days of complete consciousness and in great agony, he died at the Division hospital and was buried nearby in a plowed field. For the next two years his family would seek his remains, which they wished to move north to a family plot. They would finally find his headboard, but it would be 2 miles from the hospital area, and no remains would be found underneath the marker.
Evans had written home a year before he died: "...if it is the Lord's will that I should lose my life, may I die a Christian soldier, gaining an entrance to Heaven, where no war nor battle sound is heard..." After his death, his sister wrote: "None knew him but to love; none named him but to praise. We miss him in the home circle, for he was so kind, so good, so noble. But he is today in a brighter and better world than this." His portrait has survived, giving evidence of a strong, handsome young man, quite probably blessed with those very qualities claimed by his loving sister.
Lieutenant Charles S. Evans, born in Rensselaerville, November 10, 1840. Enlisted, August 2, 1862, Company K 7th Volunteer Artillery; promoted Lieutenant Company I. June 5, 1864, he was killed at Cold Harbor, buried there, and his body never found afterwards.
Promoted 2nd Lieutenant Co I soon after being mustered in and was in Battles in and around Cold Harbor. While taking refreshments at Cold Harbor was shot by a rebel sharp shooter died soon after in Hospital & buried at Cold Harbor