Biography of Dr. Charles Alexander Ware, son of Josiah Ware of Clarke Co., Va by Judy C. Ware

Dr. Charles Alexander Ware of Clarke Co. Va

©: Judith C. Ware    October 2007

Charles Alexander Ware in uniform

Dr. Charles Alexander Ware

Charles Alexander Ware was the youngest child of Josiah William Ware and his first wife, Frances Toy Glassell.  He was born on April 26, 1841 (ref.#1) at his father’s plantation (Springfield Farm) near Berryville, Virginia.  Papers signed after the Civil War state that “he was 25 (would be in 8 days) years of age at the time, five feet 11 inches tall, had a fair complexion, light hair, and blue eyes.” (ref.#106)  A confirmed bachelor who was beloved by many, his letters are witness to his keen wit and sense of humor.

Charles’ mother, Frances, passed away when he was only one year old.  With two older brothers (James Alexander and John Glassell) and two older sisters (Elizabeth Alexander and Lucy Balmain), he didn’t lack for care and attention though.  On January 30, 1845, his father, Josiah William Ware, remarried, and Charles was then raised by the only mother he really remembered; Edmonia Jaquelin Smith Ware.  He was always close to all of his siblings (even the four step-brothers that Josiah & Edmonia gave him) but Charles and his sister Elizabeth were especially close.  In one of his letters, dated October 12, 1909, he wrote that she was “an extraordinarily fine and intelligent woman – no one can be more entertaining than she; when she chooses to.  I am very proud of her as my sister.” (ref. #214)  He also felt humorously free to share that he felt Elizabeth was sometimes bossy.  He wrote, “First, brother John used to catch it – all the way to and from school.  When he went away to college, then I fell heir to it.  Your father (James) escaped as he left home before she and Lucy had to be driven to school, but she just can’t help herself.  She would do anything in the world for me.” (ref. #214)

At the age of 19, Charles entered the University of Virginia as a medical student on October 24, 1860.  According to the Chairman of the Faculty in a letter dated January 10, 1862, Charles “attended the full course of Medical lectures until the date of his withdrawal, the 1st of May 1861.” (ref. #47)

Charles Alexander Ware

Charles Alexander Ware

The only reason he chose to leave school at that time was because the South had seceded from the Union and he wanted to serve.

Charles joined the Confederate army as a private and first served in the cavalry under the renowned J.E.B. Stuart.  He later, after the Second Battle of Manassas in 1862, transferred over to the medical corps when General Lee put out a specific request for medically trained people.  With the rank of Captain, he was appointed Surgeon in Charge of Dr. Boyd’s church in Winchester [which was serving] as a hospital. [ref.#205)  He also served as a surgeon in McClanahan’s Battery, and as Head Surgeon for Imboden’s Corps. (ref. #34}   Dr. Ware was captured with the wagon train of wounded after the Battle of Gettysburg and sent to Fort Delaware. (ref. # 171)  He was exchanged a few months later and returned to the war, serving as a surgeon in Lomax’s Cavalry Division.  It was from this assignment that he was paroled on April 18, 1865 at the cessation of the war. (ref. #106)

Civil War parole paper for Charles Alexander Ware

Civil War parole paper for Charles Alexander Ware

During this bloody time in our nation’s history, Charles Ware saw action at Manassas, Cedar Run (Slaughter Mountain), Harper’s Ferry, Bunker’s Hill, Bull Run, Catlett Station, 2nd Battle of Manassas, Gettysburg, Winchester, and Fisher’s Hill.  He served with such notable leaders as General J.E.B. Stuart, General Turner Ashby, General Stonewall Jackson, General Richard Ewell, General James Longstreet, Captain John Pelham, General Jubal Early, Colonel J.D. Imboden, Colonel John Mosby, and (of course) General Robert E. Lee.  Amazingly, there is no record of him having ever sustained an injury, wound, or major illness during the war.

The following excerpts, taken from different books, help identify some of the major battles that Ware was associated with.  In his own handwriting, he made notations in the margins about events that pertained to him.  The wording in italics represents quotes extracted from the reference itself; his responses are put in quotation marks.


From the Shepherdstown Independent (ref. #205)

An old soldier, a few days ago, found an old war memorandum book and in it was recorded the list of battles and skirmishes that the Stonewall Brigade was in from the First Manassas to Appomattox Court house.  We publish it for the benefit of the old soldiers that are fond of fighting their old battles over again. (ref.#205)

Manassas Plains, July 21, 1861
WARE – “I was there in Clarke Cavalry.”

Cedar Run (Slaughter Mountain), August 9, 1862
WARE – “I was there in Clarke Cavalry.”

Harper’s Ferry Sept. 11, 1862
WARE – “I was there in the cavalry.  I left cavalry after this; went on as acting Surgeon in Charge of Dr. B.’s church in Winchester; [used] as a hospital.”

Winchester Nov. 2, June 14, 15, 1863
WARE – “was here”

Gettysburg, July 1, 2, 3, 1863
WARE – “was here”

Winchester, Nov. 5, Sept. 19, 1864
WARE – “was here”

Fisher’s Hill, Sept. 24, 1864
WARE  – “also here”

In the writing, REBEL RECOLLECTIONS – Reminiscences of a Confederate in the Field by George Cary Eggleston (ref. 206),  CW WARE made another notation:

J.E.B. Stuart As a Military Schoolmaster – it was not until Gen. Patterson began his feint against Winchester that our colonel had full opportunity to give us his field lectures.
WARE – “I was here with J.E.B.”

He, again, made a note in the following publication:

WARE – “I was in this raid on the side of the South.  I was Surgeon with McLanahan’s Battery.”

In addition to the notes he made himself, there is an excellent accounting of his activity in one of the letters his father wrote to James Alexander Ware, Charles’ older brother.  The letter is dated January 7, 1863 and states that “then came the flight and pursuit after the battle of Slaughter Mountain, in which they were awfully slaughtered, across to Washington City.  Charles was actively in this, and after being in the saddle night and day for some time, they stopped in the streets of Warrenton and he dismounted to rest and Vista (his mare) went to sleep.  He was in the raid at Catlett’s Station and while getting the good things there, they were fired on by the Yankee infantry and narrowly escaped.  They fed for some days on apples, peaches, & green corn – not allowed fire to cook it, what with the cavalry constantly being on close picket.  They were near catching Pope – he had just time to get in the car & steam off.” (ref. #41)

Josiah was a renowned horse breeder in the Shenandoah Valley and was very well respected for the blooded stock he raised.  In an excerpt from the book Boots and Saddles, Captain Stevenson of the Union army wrote: “Col. J.W. Ware, who resided on a fine old plantation near the Shenandoah, was a true type of the old Virginia gentleman. He had some of the best blooded stock in Virginia and had spent a great deal of money in importing horses and sheep.”(ref.#181)   Josiah’s horses won many races and he was well established in the racing community both here and abroad.  He even gave one of his fine stallions from the Skylark line as a gift to J.E.B. Stuart who rode him throughout the war. Having been raised around such fine horses, it was only natural that Charles would have first entered the cavalry.

After the war, in an article called PANOLA! (written by his father, Josiah William Ware,) Charles also made some notes in the margins concerning the horses he rode during the war.  In Panola!, it states that “Maygo was by Cosmo out of Virginia Johnson, by imported Skylark, his dam by imported Priam, out of Sophia by Red Gauntlett, out of Col. Singleton’s (of South Carolina,) celebrated 4 mile mare, Clara Fisher.” Charles confirms in his own handwriting that “Maygo was my mare.”

The article went on to state that “Vista combines singularly enough immediately, the blood of the Champion of the North, with the two famed brood and 4 mile mares in the South, Bet Bounce and Lady Lightfoot; whose families for generations brought capital 4 mile horses in great numbers, and were the two mares relied upon, by the racers North and South for their great produce matches.” Charles Ware expands on this with the following information, “I rode Vista in the Civil War – while in General J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry.” He later added, “I rode Maygo during the War Between North and South, through the whole war, she and her sister, Vista, for four years.  [I also rode] Decca Singleton (all daughters of Skylark) and was very much envied by General J.E.B. Stuart though he was also mounted on a son of Skylark.  My father used to say the worst blood in Vista was that of old English Eclipse and that was not bad.” (ref.# 210)

With humor and forthrightness, Dr. Ware was not hesitant to express his personal opinions in some of these writings as well.  In the preface to a book entitled MOSBY, he wrote simply “Col. Mosby was first a private in our J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry and never could be kept in line; always persisted in riding off from the column.” (ref. #158)

Mosby quote from Charles

Quote written about Col. Mosby by Charles Alexander Ware

Mosby gained quite a bit of attention with his famous Mosby’s Rangers who raided the Union troops that were harassing the families in the Shenandoah area.

In 1990, there were five books left outside the Clarke County museum in Berryville, Virginia that had other notations in the margins from Charles.  The titles of these books were Surry of Eagle’s Nest, Hammer & Rapier, Hilt to Hilt, Out of the Foam, and Robert E. Lee and were written by John Esten Cooke. (ref. #34)  Once again, CA Ware’s written comments offer great insight into the man himself and the times in which he lived.  In one book he mentioned that he had an “appointment as Captain of the Provisional Army of Virginia, with orders to report to Col. Jackson, commanding at Harper’s Ferry.” He also added later that it was at Harper’s Ferry where he “for the first time saw dead men lying in the streets–afterwards I saw Brown’s men hung.” (ref. #34)

One experience at Catlett’s Station, when he was still a private in Stuart’s Cavalry, caused CA Ware to remember vividly that “the enemy rallied in the edge of the woods and fired on us.  Singular to say, though we were in front of a fire and they not over 100 feet from us, they failed to hit any of us—or any of our horses that we were holding.  We heard the bullets whir by, though—several of them!” (ref.#34)

Charles Alexander Ware in uniform

Charles Alexander Ware in uniform

It was after the 2nd Battle of Manassas that Charles left the cavalry and joined the Medical Corps.  He wrote that “I left Stuart after the 2nd Battle of Manassas and went into the Medical Department as Surgeon-in-charge, in Dr. Boyd’s church at Winchester.” (ref. #34)  Sadly, Dr. Ware wrote little about his experiences as a surgeon.  With his participation in so many important engagements, it would be of great interest to read his personal views during that phase of his service.

It would seem that, with the end of the war, Charles wanted to remove himself from the area that held so many memories for him.  He decided to move to St. Louis, Missouri and set up a very lucrative medical practice there.  Dr. Ware practiced medicine in St. Louis for 46 years.  He was not, however, overly fond of the heat so he would spend the summers in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  In a letter to his nephew, Somerville Ware, dated May 27, 1913, he wrote “. . .  plan to go to Virginia in June, returning here in October.  Of course, will be at the Chalmonte [Hotel], Atlantic City all of August.” (ref. #42)  Another letter was written on stationary from the Moser Hotel, and it was humorously written to his nephew that “whenever I stop at these high priced hostels, I always (as you can see) help myself plentifully to the stationary.  Your Aunt Key (Elizabeth Alexander Ware McGuire) says it looks bad, but you must pardon it – as done during a brainstorm.” (ref. #214)  A third letter written to his niece stated “your letter received but it has been so hot it has been beyond me to write.  Will make the amends honorable by sending you postals from dear old Atlantic City.” (ref. #87)

It can also be gleaned from his letters, that CA Ware was quite a “clotheshorse.”  He bought very expensive suits that he had especially tailored, and he would very generously pass them on to his nephew Somerville.  In one of the many letters written to Somerville, he stated that “the ‘Boardwalk’ suit went today by express – prepaid.  What fine times we had together (meaning he and the suit) at the seashore; 5 years of it.  I fear your aged Uncle looked like a sport but your aunt (Elizabeth) thought not.” (ref. #87)

Whether writing opinions about the war, suits, or the weather, Charles wrote with great wit in all of his correspondence.  He stayed in close contact with all his extended family, especially his nephew Somerville, by his brother James.  In later years, he once laughing wrote of his sister “she is so visionary and impractical – just like Pa [Josiah] and your father [James] were . . . both of whom I believe should have had guardians.” (ref. #43)

Charles also showed his humorous side in his letters referring to love and marriage.  He remained a bachelor all of his life but a few years before his death at the age of 74, Charles wrote to his nephew Somerville that “were I not afraid my wife would poison me, [I] believe I would marry some 30 year old today, but wives do seem now to poison or shoot their husbands until I am afraid of them.  This retiring business is growing irksome.” (ref. # 42)  He also teasingly wrote in another letter, “I see Glassell is like all the Wares; marrying for that myth ‘love.’  I am the only one who has had a level head, and I have been considered the sport of my family.” (ref.#87)

After his long career practicing medicine, Dr. Ware finally retired in St. Louis, Missouri.  He still continued to do small cases on the side for as long as he could.  In a letter dated in 1913 he wrote that patients “find me way out here, one or two every day – thereby enabling me to make enough for expenses.” (ref. #42)

In October of 1915, however, this changed.  He wrote his sister that the doctors in St. Louis had informed him that he “had arterial sclerosis of the heart and coronary artery.” (ref. #346)  His letter showed exceptionally weak handwriting, and it was obvious that his health was failing.  He somehow managed to travel back to Virginia to be with his sister though, and died on December 23, 1915 at her home.

A newspaper article reported that “upon his death, Dr. Charles A. Ware left bequests of $30,500.00 in cash.  Since he was a bachelor, the money was given to sisters, half-brothers, nieces and nephews; with the residue of his estate (valued at more than $50,000.00) being given to his sister, Elizabeth Alexander Ware McGuire.” (ref. #59)  His funeral services were held at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville and he is buried in the family cemetery there.

Dr. Charles A. Ware

Dr. Charles A. Ware


1. The Ware Family Bible – This is kept in my home and has dates and names recorded in it that date all the way back to the 1700’s.

34. Civil War Footnotes:  by Richard C. Plater of The Play Garden in Millwood, Virginia.  based on excepts from the Civil War books of John Esten Cooke (1830-1886), a member of J.E.B. Stuart’s staff & resident of Clarke County.  The John Esten Cooke volumes were left outside the Clarke County museum.  There were “penciled in” notes inside written by Charles Alexander Ware – based on his eyewitness experiences.  Richard Plater and Bill Bryarly transcribed & salvaged these quotes.

41. Long Letter from Josiah Ware to his son, James – written on January 7, 1863 – contains lots of information concerning the war.

42. Letter from Charles Alexander Ware to his nephew, Somerville Ware – written May 27, 1913.

43.   Letter from Charles Alexander Ware to his nephew, Somerville Ware – written Oct. 16, 1907.

47. Letter from the University of Virginia  –  written Jan. 10, 1862 – Certification of the Medical education of Charles Alexander Ware.

59. News clipping of the death of Charles Alexander Ware and the generous bequests he left behind.

87.Letter written from Charles Alexander Ware to his niece, Fannie Glassell Ware (daughter of James & Jane Morton Ware).  No date

106. Parole certificate issued to Charles A. Ware on April 18, 1865.  It was mandatory for all Confederate soldiers to have one of these after the war

158. Preface page to a worn book on Mosby that I own.  Notations were made by Charles Alexander Ware on his opinion of Mosby.

163. Article out of the tall book we own called HARPERS PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR copyrighted 1866 by Harper’s Brothers, copyrighted 1894 by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden, copyrighted 1894 by McDonnell Brothers.  Under ANNALS OF THE WAR, Charles Alexander Ware made notations of some of the battles he was in.

171. Pay receipt for Charles Alexander Ware (1865) with some notations from him.

181. Except from BOOTS AND SADDLES written by Capt. Stevenson 1st New York (Lincoln) Cavalry regiment –  1897.

205. Battles of Stonewall Brigade – List of battles in which Charles Alexander Ware notated that he was active.

206.  Rebel Recollections – by George Cary Eggleston – Notations were made by Charles Alexander Ware.

210.  PANOLA! Article on horses written by Josiah William Ware – – also has notations of the battles that Charles Alexander Ware was in during the Civil War.

214.  Letter from Charles Alexander Ware to his nephew, Somerville Ware, written on October 12, 1909.

346.  Letter from Charles Alexander Ware to his sister, Elizabeth A. Ware McGuire written October 1915 – shortly before his death.


Biography of Dr. Charles Alexander Ware, son of Josiah Ware of Clarke Co., Va by Judy C. Ware — 2 Comments

  1. Is there a connect with Charles Ingersall or Ingersoll Ware who received his MD from University of Maryland in 1948?

  2. This is a timely report. I have this man in my family tree, but didn’t find much information on him until now. With your permission, I will post his photos you have here on my tree. Thank you,

    C. Wayne Ware
    Cedar Falls, IA

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