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23rd Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
23rd Illinois Infantry Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Volume 2, Revised by Brigadier General J.N. Reece, Adjutant General, 1900       View Entire Book

Regimental History
Twenty-third Illinois Infantry. Col., James A. Mulligan; Lieut.-Cols., James Quirk, Samuel Simison; Maj., Charles E. Moore. The organization of this regiment was commenced under the popular name of the "Irish Brigade," at Chicago, immediately upon the opening of hostilities at Sumter, and it served until the war had fully closed. The formal muster of the 23d was made June 15, 1861, at Chicago, when the regiment occupied barracks known as Kane's brewery on West Polk street near the river. It moved on July 14 to Quincy, Ill., and thence after a few days' encampment to the arsenal at St. Louis. On Sept. 1, it commenced a march of 120 miles to Lexington, Mo., where the first notable siege of the war occurred. Lexington, reinforced by the regiment, which arrived on the evening of Sept. 9, became a post of 2,780 men, which for nine days sustained an unequal conflict against a force of 28,000 men with 13 pieces of artillery. On the 20th the most determined and systematic of the enemy's assaults were made and repeatedly repulsed, but in the afternoon it was determined to surrender. The killed and wounded of the regiment numbered 107, while Gen. Price, the Confederate commander, officially reported his loss at 800. The officers and men were paroled, with the exception of Col. Mulligan, who was detained as a prisoner and accompanied Price in his march into Arkansas. On Oct. 8 the regiment was mustered out by order of Gen. Fremont, but upon the personal application of Col. Mulligan, who had been exchanged for Gen. Frost, Gen. McClellan, then commanding the army, directed that its organization be retained and that it should be considered as continuously in the service from the date of its original muster. Reassembling at Camp Douglas in Chicago, it guarded the Confederate prisoners there until June 14, 1862, when it was ordered to Harper's Ferry, Va. It was at Clarksburg in September and later at Parkersburg, in both cases saving the towns from the menace of Gen. Imboden. On Nov. 10 Cos. B, D, and K attacked Imboden on the south fork of the Potomac, capturing 40 prisoners and a large amount of supplies. It was on the flank of Lee in his retreat from Gettysburg, having an engagement with Wade Hampton at Hedgeville. Having reenlisted as veterans at New creek in April, 1864, the regiment was reorganized at Chicago, and upon the expiration of the month's furlough returned to Virginia. During the month of July it participated in engagements at Leetown, Maryland heights, Snicker's gap, and Kernstown. In the last named engagement the regiment lost in killed and wounded about one-half of those engaged. In Aug., 1864, the ten companies of the regiment, then numbering 440, were consolidated into five companies, and was designated the "Battalion, 23d regiment Illinois veteran volunteer infantry." The regiment was thanked by Congress for its part at Lexington, and was authorized to inscribe "Lexington" upon its colors.

Footnotes:
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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