Colonel Charles Purcell Bigger
Civil War 1861 - 1865
Civil War Confederate
Unit Forty-sixth Infantry (First Regiment, Infantry, Wise Legion; Second Regiment, Wise Brigade)
Colonel Charles P. Bigger, commandant of Lee Camp, Soldiers’ Home, a gallant soldier during the war, and a popular citizen, committed suicide yesterday afternoon. He went out to the barn, closed the door behind him, and fired two bullets into his brain. He died in three minutes. Farmer Henry was just outside of the barn, but when he rushed in after hearing the shots fired in rapid succession, he found Colonel Bigger in a dying condition, and he expired soon after Adjutant General Caldwell reached him. Mental unbalance, resulting from prolonged ill health, was the cause of the rash act. Colonel Bigger was a physical wreck, and his mental condition for some time had been a source of anxiety to his friends. He could not sleep, had lost his memory, and had been on furlough for three months. He attempted to shoot himself Thursday while in the home office, but the pistol was not loaded and was soon gotten away from him.
Colonel Bigger was sixty-two years old and a brother of the late Colonel John Bell Bigger, so long clerk of the House of Delegates. He was born in the old homestead of Chief Justice Marshall, and having been born on the anniversary of the Richmond. Blues, was christened in the famous punch bowl of the Blues, which was destroyed in the Spotswood Hotel fire. He served through the war with the Blues, and was severely wounded in front of Petersburg. He was superintendent of the city almshouse for ten years, and had been commandant of the Soldiers’ Home for some years. He was also engaged in the hotel business for several years. Seven children survive him.
March 08, 1902
March 09, 1902
The funeral of Captain Charles P. Bigger took place yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock in the chapel of the Soldiers’ Home. The services were conducted by Rev. Landon R. Mason, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, and Protestant chaplain of the Home The pretty little chapel was thronged with the friend of the dead veteran and the services were of the most impressive order.
The casket was borne from the hearse by pall-bearers selected from the Executive Committee of the Home. On each side of the walk leading to the chapel, a detail from the Richmond Blues was drawn up in single rank to render the last tribute of respect to their honored member. Immediately following the pall-bearers came a detachment of commissioned officers of the Seventieth Virginia Regiment, under the command of Colonel George Wayne Anderson. A committee of Masons from Richmond Lodge, No. 10, bearing the insignia of the order, formed an additional escort for the remains.
The scene in the chapel was very effecting. Gathered around the casket at the chancel were many of the inmates of the home-gray-haired veterans of those trying times in the glory of which they shared with their dead commandant. When the hymn, “Nearer, My God, To Thee,” was sung by the choir, many of the old soldiers broke down and wept. To the right of the assembled veterans, in their dusty gray uniform, stood the detachment of the Blues. Their youthful faces and neat, blue dress made a striking contrast. The past and the present bowed heads in unison, as the beautiful Episcopal service was read by Dr. Mason.
The casket was borne from the chapel through the line of veteran soldiers and citizens, who stood with uncovered heads in the pouring rain.
The interment was at River View Cemetery where the usual Masonic rites were performed.