Charles C. G. Thornton, Scarborough, 1863
Contributed by Maine State Archives
Captain Charles C. G. Thornton of the 12th Maine Infantry, Company C, was born in 1830 to James Brown and Elizabeth Gookin Thornton in Saco. Charles attended Thornton Academy from 1839 to 1843. Thornton was married to Annie C. and had a daughter named Mary. In 1861, he was 31 years old, his wife was 28, and Mary was seven.
In 1861, Thornton organized Scarborough area men into Company C of the 12th Maine Infantry regiment to fight in the Civil War. He was listed as having a dark complexion, black eyes and black hair. The regiment was mustered in at Cape Elizabeth on November 15, 1861 with Thornton as its captain.
The regiment served in Louisiana. It was there at the Battle of Ponchatoula in September 1862 that Charles was wounded. After recovering, served on General George F. Shepley’s staff.
Shepley, a previous commander of the 12th Maine, was then serving as the military governor for Louisiana. On October 31, 1864, Thornton was mustered out of the regiment. He immediately re-enlisted with the rank of lt. colonel in the U.S. 4th Regiment Colored Infantry and served in this capacity until his final mustering out on June 18, 1866.
As a member of a prominent Saco business family, it was only normal for Thornton to enter into that profession after returning from the battlefront. He began his career in Massachusetts working in the flour trade. By 1880 he was working in the milling business in Wisconsin. He was successful enough that in November 1892 he donated a fine church bell to the Scarborough Congregational Church at Black Point.