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The 91st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Dedicated to the memory of Carol Ide (1958-2012)

Origins The 91st was formed from volunteers in Philadelphia, and most of its men were born in Pennsylvania.

Endings Almost 10% of the regiment died in service. 654 men mustered out with the regiment at the end; 128 of them were original members.

Washington The 91st guarded several famous Confederate female spies, and also shot a prisoner who was a boyhood friend of John Wilkes Booth.

Life Most of the regiment's time was taken up, not with battles, but with training and other duties.


After the war Colonel (Brevet Major General) Gregory was the only Assistant Commissioner of the post-war Freedman's Bureau who could be called an abolitionist.
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Fact of the week [updated Sundays]

#531 Isaiah Collins's widow Barbara applied for a pension on 18 August 1869, and her application was approved on 6 June 1870. On 27 December 1869, someone wrote a letter to the pension office under the name 'P.M.', which alleged that someone named 'Smith' was reportedly drawing a pension fraudulently. This letter claimed that Barbara did not deserve a pension, because her husband's death was caused by an illness that started after his return from the army (and was therefore not caused by his service). I don't know what happened to Smith, but the Pension Office didn't do anything about the allegation about Collins until 1875, when Special Agent W H Corkhill investigated the claim, and the Pension Office discontinued her pension. On 14 March 1880, she applied for readmission, and Special Agent M E Jenks was sent to investigate. He noted a family feud between Collins' family and Barbara and her family ('the result of a law suit in the settlement of an estate'), and said that he suspected (but couldn't prove) that people weren't telling him the complete truth. (Perhaps people simply didn't want to take sides in a dispute they saw as motivated by that feud.) Despite Jenks' skepticism, Barbara Collins' pension was reinstated on 22 November 1880.

Battles and casualties Because of poor generalship, the 91st had no spectacular successes on the battlefield. But they paid a heavy price: 114 of them were killed or mortally wounded in battle.

After the war Many men received pensions, and joined veterans' associations. The last death I known of occurred in 1940.

Harry Ide is developing this web page. E-mail me at with corrections, suggestions, or information!

Also contact Cyrus at, who is writing a book about the 91st PA.

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revised 22 Feb 15
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