Hamelton was a native of Cass County, Georgia, where his father, Dr. Thomas A. Hamilton, was a wealthy and influential citizen. When the Territory of Kansas was organized Milton McGee went to Georgia to recruit men to aid in making Kansas a slave state. At Cassville, he made a fiery speech, and Charles Hamelton and his brother were among the first to rally to McGee’s side. His father, Dr. Hamilton contributed $1,000 to the cause.
Hamilton is best known as the perpetrator of the Marais des Cygnes Massacre on May 19, 1858. Afterward, the governor offered a reward of $500 for Hamelton’s apprehension but he wasn’t captured. When Hamelton came to Kansas he was the owner of a plantation in Georgia but was heavily in debt.
In 1861 he raised a regiment, of which he was commissioned colonel, and served with General Robert E. Lee in the Confederate Army in Virginia. After the war, he went back to Georgia, where he died some years later.