Bradford, Charles McPherson (1825–1867)

By: Allan C. Ashcraft and Bruce Allardice

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: July 6, 2011

Charles McPherson Bradford, Confederate soldier, was born on November 10, 1825, in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles A. and Mary Ann Moira (McPherson) Bradford. His father, an attorney and newspaper editor, relocated to Mississippi and later Mobile, Alabama. The younger Bradford received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, but never graduated. During the Mexican War he served as lieutenant of the First Mississippi Volunteers. After the war he graduated from the University of Louisiana law school and started a law practice in New Orleans. In 1853 he married Amelia Dixon of that city.

Bradford joined the Louisiana military service for a four-month period that began in January 1861, as captain of Company A, First Louisiana regulars. By early April he had become a major in James Strawbridge's First Louisiana Infantry. Shortly afterward, when the unit was transferred to Pensacola, Florida, Bradford resigned his commission. In September 1861 he became a lieutenant colonel in command of the Third Battalion, Louisiana Infantry. Soon his eight-company battalion was moved to Virginia, where it was active in the Norfolk-Portsmouth area throughout the fall of 1861. In mid-1862 Bradford became lieutenant colonel of the Fifteenth Louisiana Infantry when his battalion was enlarged by two additional companies and converted into a regiment. He was, however, court-martialed for conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline and for disrespect toward his superior. One officer charged Bradford with being “unfit, immoral, and a drunkard.” After being sentenced to loss of pay and suspension of rank for six months, he chose to resign his commission on June 2, 1862, which took effect on June 16, 1862.

He moved to Owensville, Texas, in January 1864, and sought permission of Gen. John Bankhead Magruder to raise a volunteer mounted regiment from state troops and from those subject to conscription. He was appointed major and served in quartermaster functions for several months before he finally gained command of what became known as Bradford's Battalion. The early summer of 1864 saw his companies chasing deserters and overawing disloyal elements in Bastrop, Austin, and Fredericksburg. Then, in July 1864, he was named colonel and placed in command of Bradford's Regiment (a consolidation of his battalion, Mann's Battalion, Hoxey's Battalion, and Poole's Company of Texas Cavalry). The new regiment was mustered into Confederate service in mid-1864 and took up defensive positions in the Galveston area for the duration of the war. At war’s end he returned to New Orleans. He died there (of “congestive chill”) on September 26, 1867.

Bruce S. Allardice, Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008). Service Records, National Archives, Washington. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: GPO, 1880–1901).

  • Education
  • Lawyers, Civil Rights Activists, and Legislators
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
  • Military Institutes and Flight Schools
Time Periods:
  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Allan C. Ashcraft and Bruce Allardice, “Bradford, Charles McPherson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 6, 2011

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