According to the letter sent from the Adjutant-General, Charles was enrolled on May 1, 1861 at Elmira, Chemung, New York with Company B of the 23rd New York Volunteer Infantry and that he was set to serve for three years. The letter also says that he was mustered into service on May 16, 1861 at Elmira.
Charles served with the regiment for fifteen months during which time he would have been present for General Pope’s Campaign, including the Battle of Bull Run, then Antietam in September of 1862 and finally Fredericksburg in December of 1862. There are discrepancies in the records relating to the exact date of Charles’s death. Although his mother’s wrote that he died on the 18th of December at Fredericksburg, it is not possible given the details of the reports within the pension application as he was wounded and died the same day. The battle had been over by the 18th for several days and it is likely that the information within the town clerk’s ledger is the correct date; December 13, 1862. The Adjutant-General reports for the 23rd New York show that he died on December 12, 1862.
Charles and his regiment were commanded by Col. Henry Hoffman and were part of I Corps, First Division under the command of Major General Abner Doubleday. First Division was sent out between the Richmond Road and the River to protect the left flank of the other divisions. Doubleday turned the division to face the Richmond Road, meanwhile the morning fog had begun to lift. In response to the position of Doubleday, Major John Pelham initiated canon fire from the Virginia Horse Artillery which immediately began to strike upon First Division. As the fog continued to lift, the men of First Division began to receive direct artillery fire from Prospect Hill which contributed to a stall in Meade’s offensive.
All reports of Charles death indicate that he was killed by a shell, indicating that he was probably killed during this exchange of artillery volleys. The letter addressed by Ann McOmber indicates that Charles died of a gunshot wound, but based on the inaccuracies of the date of death, it’s likely that she was incorrect or mistaken about the true cause of his death.
Capt. William Cole of Cuba, the man in command of Company B, wrote that he was present for and witnessed the death of Charles McOmber, the day of December 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg. Capt. Cole said that he saw Charles when he was wounded, having been hit by a shell and expiring within two hours after having received the wound. The book by Sterling Pound entitled Camp Fires of the Twenty-Third describes, in detail, the engagements encountered by the regiment during the first three years of the war. This book also lists Charles’s death as the result of being hit by a shell. Unfortunately, Charles’s death is not noted specifically within the book, but the course of action for December 13, 1862 is spelled out exactly as is described above.
The rosters listing Charles’s death state that he was buried on the battlefield at Fredericksburg. Luckily, the National Parks Service compiled a list of known burials at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. This list states that Charles appears on the Roll of Honor as number 2296, recorded as Charles McCumber with alias Charles McOmbers, having been killed at Fredericksburg on December 12, 1862. The record also notes that his original burial occurred at Allsop’s Lot at Fredericksburg which indicates that his body may have been reinterred at a different location. It is likely that his exact location of burial is unknown, but it is noted that he is buried within the limits of the battlefield/national cemetery.