On-loan Cardiff marksman Adam Le Fondre netted for a second successive game after 78 minutes when it seemed Charlton were comfortably protecting Frederic Bulot’s ninth-minute opener.
Wanderers had goalkeeper Adam Bogdan to thank for keeping it at 1-0 before Le Fondre drew level with Craig Davies at the head of the Trotters’ goal charts to salvage a 1-1 draw for Neil Lennon’s men.
After a promising start when Neil Danns flashed a shot narrowly wide, Charlton took the lead in their first attack.
Chris Solley’s right-wing cross was not cleared by ex-Addicks defender Dorian Dervite, under pressure from Tony Watt, and Bulot swept in the loose ball from 12 yards for his fifth goal of the season.
Wanderers had won only one of their previous eight meetings against the Addicks, including a 2-1 reverse fixture defeat in Lennon’s second match in charge last October.
The goal certainly silenced a sparse crowd only roused to applaud former Trotters and Charlton substitutes, Chris Eagles and Tal Ben Haim, during an early warm-up.
Danns looked most likely to open Bolton’s account and his goal-bound low drive was well blocked by Roger Johnson. Le Fondre then curled a left-foot effort wide of the target but the hosts could not trouble keeper Stephen Henderson.
Bogdan’s poor clearance, however, almost saw Charlton double their advantage after 26 minutes. Igor Vetokele spread play out to Gabonese star Bulot whose cross was headed fractionally over by Watt at the far post.
Liam Feeney’s strong run down the visitors’ right flank and tantalising cross fashioned a shooting opportunity but Josh Vela skied his attempt as the home team improved.
Then it was Barry Bannan’s turn to engineer an opening but fellow loanee Le Fondre was too slow to react as the cross came in.
So there was little surprise when the Trotters were jeered off by a small section of supporters at the break.
Bolton’s lethargy continued after the break with Charlton hardly needing to break sweat to protect their advantage. And they could have saved their later disappointment by wrapping up the contest after 62 minutes.
Watt’s angled pass picked out Bulot but this time his left-foot attempt was saved by Bogdan. The Hungary international, out of contract this summer but mulling over a new deal, also kept Wanderers in the game by saving from Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
The Macron faithful needed a lift and the 67th-minute arrivals of former England striker Emile Heskey and Mark Davies, back in harness for the first time since last November, did the trick.
However, Charlton still looked the most likely team to score again with Watt forcing Bogdan into back-to-back saves.
Eagles was part of Charlton’s double substitution 19 minutes from time for his first appearance at the Macron since February 2014.
Seven minutes later he saw Le Fondre equalise against the run of play, profiting from Bannan’s pass and determination to break through two challenges. Le Fondre did the rest with a low drive from just inside the box.
And Wanderers should have won the game with skipper Matt Mills and in particular, Feeney, missing decent chances.