Charles Wentworth Roberts was born in 1828 in Old Town, Maine, the son of lumber merchant Amos Roberts. He graduated from Bowdoin College and lived much of his life in Bangor.
At the start of the war he became lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment, the first Maine unit to leave the state for the war. He fought at Bull Run, and was promoted to colonel and command of the regiment with the promotion of Colonel Charles Davis Jameson to Brigadier General in October of 1861.
Roberts commanded the regiment at Second Bull Run, having his horse shot from under him, and at Antietam, where the regiment was in reserve. He resigned due to ill health in 1863.
Roberts returned to Bangor and was awarded the rank of brevet brigadier general at the end of the war. His Second Empre style house on State Steet is on the National Register of Historic Places. He was the Democratic candidate for governor in 1875 but lost to Seldon Connor, another Civil War general from Maine.
Charles Roberts died in 1898, and he is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.