23rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment

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  • 23rd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry
  • "The First Irish"
Flag of Illinois.svg
Illinois state flag
Active June 15, 1861 to July 24, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Engagements Battle of Lexington
Relief of Clarksburg
Relief of Parkersburg
Relief of Moorefield
Pursuit of Lee
Hedgesville and Back Creek
Kanawha Valley
Hampshire and Hardy Counties, West Virginia
Scout to Moorefield
Raid on Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign
Third Battle of Winchester
Siege of Petersburg
Assault on Ft Gregg-Fall of Petersburg
Appomattox Campaign
Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

The 23rd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, known as the "First Irish" or "Irish 'Brigade'", was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The 23rd Illinois Infantry was organized at Chicago, Illinois and mustered into Federal service on June 15, 1861.

Initially assigned to garrison the town of Lexington, Missouri, the regiment surrendered to a much larger force of pro-secession Missouri State Guard commanded by State Guard Major General Sterling Price at the First Battle of Lexington in September 1861. After being paroled, General John C. Fremont (commanding the Department of Missouri) had the 23rd Illinois mustered out of service, but in December General George McClellan (now supreme commander in chief of all Union armies) had it restored.

After being reconstituted, the regiment left camp in the spring of 1862 for western Virginia, where it spent most of the rest of the war stationed there. In 1864, it joined General Philip Sheridan's army in the Valley Campaign. At the end of the year, the 23rd headed to the Richmond area for the Siege of Petersburg and was present at Appomattox.

The regiment was mustered out on July 24, 1865.


Organized at Chicago, Ill., and mustered in June 15, 1861. Moved to Quincy, Ill., July 14, thence to St. Louis, Mo., and to Jefferson City July 21, and duty there until September 8. March to Lexington September 8–11. Siege of Lexington September 12–20. Captured by Price September 20 and paroled. Regiment mustered out by order of General Fremont October 8, 1861, but restored by order of General McClellan, December 10, 1861. Reassembled at Chicago and guard prisoners at Camp Douglas until June 14, 1862. Moved to Harper's Ferry, West Va., June 14. Attached to R. R. District, Mountain Department, Harper's Ferry and New Creek to July, 1862. R. R. District, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to September, 1862. R. R. District West Va. to January, 1863. New Creek, Va., Defenses Upper Potomac, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to March, 1863. 5th Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Army Corps, to June, 1863. Mulligan's Brigade, Scammon's Division Dept. of West Virginia to December, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, West Virginia, to April, 1864. Kelly's Command, Reserve Division, West Virginia, to July, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry, Division West Virginia, to July, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, West Virginia, to December, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Independent Division, 24th Army Corps, Army of the James, to June, 1865. 1st Brigade, Independent Division, 24th Army Corps, to July, 1865.

Detailed Service (after reconstitution)[edit]

Duty at New Creek, West Va., until April, 1863. Relief of Clarksburg, W. Va., September 1, 1862. Relief of Parkersburg September 3. Action at Moorefield, South Fork of the Potomac, November 9 (Cos. "B," "D," "K"). Relief of Colonel Washburn at Moorefield January 3–4, 1863. Moved to Grafton April 25, 1863. Skirmish at Greenland Gap April 25 (Co. "G"). Phillippi April 26. Altamont April 26 (Detachment). Rowlesburg April 28 (Cos. "B," "F," "I"). Fairmont April 29 (Co. "K"). Pursuit of Lee July, 1863. Hedgesville and Back Creek July 6. At Petersburg, W. Va., August 16. Petersburg Gap September 4. South Fork September 11 (Co. "I"). Moorefield November 8–9. Demonstration from Kanawha Valley, W. Va., December 8–25. Operations In Hampshire and Hardy Counties December 31, 1863, to January 5, 1864, and January 27 to February 7. Medley January 29–30. Regiment veteranize at New Creek April, 1864, and on furlough until June. Scout to Moorefield February 21–22 (Detachment). Raid on Baltimore & Ohio Railroad between Bloomfield and Piedmont May 5 (Non-Veterans). Leetown July 3. Operations about Harper's Ferry July 4–7. Bolivar Heights July 4–6. Maryland Heights July 6–7. Snicker's Ferry July 17–18 and July 20. Kernstown (or Winchester) July 24. Medley July 30. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7 to November 28. Cedar Creek August 12. Winchester August 17. Halltown August 22–23. Berryville September 3. Battle of Winchester September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Duty In the Shenandoah Valley until December. Moved to Petersburg front December 30. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond January to April, 1865. Duty in trenches before Richmond and on the Bermuda Hundred front until March 27. Moved to Hatcher's Run March 27–28. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Hatcher's Run March 30–31 and April 1. Assault on Fort Gregg and fall of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3–9. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Duty in the Department of Virginia until July. Mustered out at Richmond, Va., July 24, and discharged at Chicago, Ill., July 30, 1865.

Total strength and casualties[edit]

The regiment suffered 4 officers and 50 enlisted men who were killed in action or who died of their wounds and 2 officers and 93 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 149 fatalities.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unilinf2.htm#23rd The Civil War Archive website after Dyer, Frederick Henry. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959. - retrieved June 25, 2007.
  2. ^ http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/f&s/022-fs.htm Illinois in the Civil War website after Illinois Adjutant General's muster rolls - retrieved June 26, 2007.