The eldest son of Eliphalet and Lydia Bulkeley, Charles Bulkeley was among the first in Connecticut to volunteer for duty during the Civil War. He endured the hardships of the Peninsular Campaign and was subsequently assigned to the defense of Washington and stationed near Alexandria, Virginia. While serving as a captain in the First Regiment of Connecticut Heavy Artillery at Battery Garesche in Virginia, Bulkeley died on February 13, 1864, following an attack of typhoid fever accompanied by pneumonia. At the time of his death, he was remembered by his commanding officer as one of the regiment's "most talented officers." The loss of this son had a profound and lasting effect upon Eliphalet Bulkeley, who in later years "could not hear his boy's name mentioned . . . without breaking down."
Augustus Washington's daguerreotype of Charles Bulkeley may well have been made upon his admission to Trinity College. The penciled inscription, "God bless the Boy Student," which accompanies the portrait, suggests that it was taken to mark a milestone in the youth's scholastic career.
Sixth-plate daguerreotype, circa 1852
The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT