Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

SUTPHEN, CHARLES T (1837-1899)

Records of Members of the Grand Army of the Republic, William Ward

Headstone of Charles Sutphen
Charles Sutphen
Oakwood Memorial Park

CHARLES STUPHEN Was born in Earlville, LaSalle County, IL. April 10 1837; has been a farmer, merchant, and lawyer. Enlisted in August, 1862 in Henshaw's battery of Illinois Light Artillery, and served as sergeant, and later as 1st lieutenant and adjutant of the 3d North Carolina Mounted Infantry, and as acting assistant adjutant general in the 1st Brigade, 4th Division, Department of the Cumberland, was in the engagements at Campbell's Station, siege of Knoxville, London, Boone, Buffington Island, and Strawberry Plains; was mustered out of service August 16, 1865; was commend for gallantry at the battle at Campbell's Station, where he and a few others took his crippled cannon from the field by hand, their horses being killed; they were the last to leave the contest; was promoted for gallantry at the battle of Knoxville; since the war has resided at Augusta Ills. and Corning IA; coming to California in 1874 he settled at Santa Cruz; is a justice of the Peace at that place; was one of the organizers of the WHL Wallace Post, of which he is at present the senior vice commander. Comrade Sutphen is a graduate of Bell's Commercial College of Chicago, IL.; studied Law at Ottawa Ill, and was admitted to the bar in 1861; practiced in his native town until his enlistment.

Statement of Charles Sutphen Regarding Lost Equipment (November 4, 1864)

Statement of Sergeant Charles T. Sutphen of Henshaw's Illinois Battery, relative to Arms and accouterments consisting of (1) one Colt Army Revolver, (1) One Saber Belt Complete, and (1) Holster which he is charged with having lost. The money value of which has been directed by Lt. A.O. Putnam, Commanding of the above named battery to be charged and stopped against his pay. On or about the 17th day of January 1864, while Henshaw's Illinois Battery was encamped near Newmarket Tennessee, occupying for quarters a church, I was on duty with the battery of which I am an enlisted man. I became unfit for duty in consequence of physical disability. I reported the fact to Lt. A. Putnam then commanding said battery who directed me to leave my arms and accouterments of the battery and go to a certain farm house about one half mile distant, and there to remain until I got better. I went to the house as directed, and remained two days and nights. Very early on the second morning I was informed by a soldier belonging, I think , to the 14th Illinois Cavalry, that our whole army was in full retreat, and that our battery had moved. I at once started in pursuit of the battery and on reaching it I found to my otter surprise that my arms and accouterments had been left at the church. It as then to late to return and get them as the enemy was rapidly advancing.

Believing that I am in no way responsible for the loss of the above mentioned property, I respectfully submit the above statement and request that such measures will be adopted as will secure me justice in the matter. Charles T. Sutphen.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 21, 1884)

Capt. C.T. Sutphen is the regular nominee for Justice of the Peace of Santa Cruz Township. He is well known in this section, both as to his qualifications and recommendations, as to need no encomium at our hands. Still it may be right and proper to state a few facts concerning his civil and military career, as we find in official reports.

In the spring of 1856 Capt. Sutphen graduated with high honors at the Commercial and Law School of Bryant, Bell & Stratton, at Chicago, Ill. He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1859, practicing his profession until the spring of 1862, when the news was received that the enemy was on the point of invading his State. Locking the door of his office he immediately enlisted as a private in Henshaw's Battery, Light Artillery, Ill. Vol. then being organized. He recruited for said company until September, at which time himself and Battery left for the tented field in Kentucky. Here he endured many hardships.

Crossing into Tennessee he engaged in the battle of Campbell's Station. At this time he was Sergeant, commanding a piece of artillery. By the "gallantry, coolness, steadiness and discipline, which he maintained in his gun detachment," losing all of his artillery horses but two, including his own saddle horse, he saved his piece with the assistance of his men, who put their shoulders to the wheel and rolled it through the mud to a new position. For said bravery he was promoted to be First Lieutenant and Adjutant of the Third North Carolina Mounted Infantry, by order of Major General Geo. H. Thomas, commanding the Department of the Cumberland. During Gen Stoneman's raid through North Carolina he was promoted to a Captaincy, and placed on the staff of Col. Kirk, acting as Brigadier General. Captain Sutphen also acted as Assistant Adjutant General on the same staff. He served during the siege of Knoxville under Major General Burnside, and lived on a quarter of bare rations. He served in the principal raids of General Stoneham in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, and was with General Sherman on his "march to the sea" as far as Atlanta, Georgia, and present when the lamented McPherson fell. General Logan commanded the Fifteenth Corps.

Capt Sutphen returned to Boone, North Carolina, and took part in the battle of Boone, and received a flesh wound in his leg; a portion of spent ball he carries in his flesh to this day. He then returned to Knoxville, Tennessee, and was mustered out with his regiment Aug. 16, 1865. On his return home he settled in the southern part of Illinois, and engaged in the law and mercantile business. He removed to Iowa in the fall of 1869, and was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of that State and built up a good practice. From Iowa he removed to California in 1875, owing to ill health, and settled in Sonoma county, where he remained one year. From there he came to Santa Cruz in 1876, and was admitted to practice before the Superior Court of this county in 1880.

In August, 1882, he was admitted to the practice before the Supreme Court of California in company with Bart Burke. One the first of next January he will have held the office of constable and collector for five consecutive years. During this long period he has proved himself to be one of the most successful collectors and constables we have ever had in this city, having during this period collected upwards of $75,000, and we do not hesitate in saying that he has done more civil business than all the other constables in the county.

Captain Sutphen was born in Earlville, LaSalle Co., Illinois in 1837, and is the oldest white male born in that township, the village being named by his mother as the township by his father. Capt. Sutphen is thoroughly posted in all the dockets of Santa Cruz township. Also all bills filed and suits pending in said township. He is well posted in the law as his licenses from the different states attest, and is a good scholar and fine penman. He is a poor man, and has a wife and six children to support, and if elected will make one of the best Justices this city has ever had.

Editor's Note: W.H.L. Wallace Post was mustered in August 19,1881 in Santa Cruz, taking its name from an old friend at Earlville, Illinois., of Constable C.T. Sutphen. Charles Sutphen remained active in the post becoming its Commander in Chief. His name does not appear; however, on the first Roster of the Wallace-Reynolds reunited Post.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 7, 1899)

Passed Away

Chas T. Sutphen, a resident of Santa Cruz for the past twenty two years, passed away at his residence on Garfield St. Thursday afternoon. Deceased had been in ill health for some months past. Thursday he had several hemorrhages of the lungs. The last, which being very severe, resulted in his death. He served in the late war of the Rebellion, reaching the rank of Captain. During his residence in Santa Cruz he was engaged in the practicing law and for several terms filled the office of Justice of the Peace. Deceased leaves a widow and six children to mourn his loss.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 9, 1899)

The funeral of C.T. Sutphen took place Saturday morning. Rev. J.B. Orr officiated.

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