A Methodist Episcopal minister’s son, 18 year old Charles Frederick Weller mustered into the newly forming 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Carlisle on 22 August 1862, and was issued his horse and a carbine in the field on 16 September 1862 – the day before the battle of Antietam.

He wrote quite a bit about his experiences through the war, in a journal (1862-64) and in frequent letters to his sweetheart Katherine Ann McElwain back in Beaver, PA. Here’s his description of meeting a couple of Confederate soldiers while carrying messages for General McClellan on the Boonsboro Pike near Sharpsburg, MD on 18 September 1862:

On the way I had the honor of [confronting?] two rebels. I came upon them unawares while turning a bend in the road. I thought I would either take them or they me. So I presented my revolver and ordered them to throw down their arms. One of them immediately threw down a pistol and the other a musket – which was not loaded. These I found were all they had. I dismounted, took the musket and pistol, fastened them on my saddle, searched the men, and then marched them before me with a certain feeling quite proud of my conquest.

He married Katherine right after the war and had a long and successful career in the wholesale drug business in Illinois and Nebraska. Here he is in about 1904, then age 60.


His wartime photograph at the top is from a collection at the Onondaga County Public Library, which includes that war journal and 50 letters to his future wife Katherine. The whole collection is online from New York Heritage.

The later photograph is from “Nebraskans” 1854-1904, a book published by the Omaha Bee in 1904. It’s online from the Internet Archive. The photo is labeled 1887, but that’s the year Weller joined the new Omaha branch of the Richardson Drug Company as Vice President and Manager. The photograph was probably taken closer to the date of the publication, judging by his apparent age in it.

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