CDV OF LT. COL. CHARLES WILHELM, 23RD PA. INFANTRY, BIRNEY’S ZOUAVES

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Item Code: 1154-13

Bust view of Wilhelm in uniform. He wears a vest and frock with shoulder straps barely visible. Image is clean and clear with good contrast. Mount features blue, ruled border and is in excellent condition although corners are clipped. Very faint pencil name under image. Pencil name and notes on back. Photographer’s backmark, J.E. McClees, Philadelphia.

Wilhelm was from Philadelphia and enlisted on 8/2/1861 as Lt. Colonel of the 23rd Pa. Promoted to Colonel on 12/13/1862. He resigned his commission on 12/8/1863 by surgeon’s certificate.

Recruiting for the 23rd PA regiment commenced on April 18, 1861, at the Arsenal, at the corner of Sixteenth and Filbert streets in Philadelphia for three months service. Charles P. Dare and David B. Birney were colonel and lieutenant colonel, respectively. After some garrison duty in Pennsylvania, the unit's first fight was at the Battle of Falling Waters in the Shenandoah Valley on July 21, 1861. One week later, it was ordered back to Philadelphia, where it was mustered out on July 31. Two days later, three companies were mustered in again for three years service. Birney was promoted to colonel. By August, new companies had been raised from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre, and Columbia. The 23rd was ordered to Washington, D.C., where it was assigned to the IV Corps of the Army of the Potomac. On February 17, 1862, Birney was promoted to brigadier general and Thomas H. Neill replaced him as colonel.

The 23rd fought in the Peninsula Campaign and at the Battle of Chantilly. During the Maryland Campaign, the 23rd Pennsylvania guarded the Potomac River from White's Ferry to Nolen's Ferry. The 23rd didn't fight in the first Battle of Fredericksburg, but did in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and at Salem Church. At the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment supported Maj. Gen. John Geary's division on Culp's Hill on July 3. In the 1864 spring reorganization of the Army of the Potomac, the 23rd Pennsylvania was reassigned to the 4th Brigade, 1st Division, VI Corps. During the Overland Campaign they fought at Cold Harbor and during the Siege of Petersburg. In July they moved to Washington, D.C., in response to Jubal Early's attack on the city. On September 8, the 23rd was mustered out of service.    [jet] [ph:L]

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