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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]

#521 The pension certificate file for Leopold Smith, father of Charles Smith (B), contains two interesting details. First, Charles Smith was absent without leave from 1 February 1864 through 10 March 1864. The March-April 1864 muster roll reports that he owed the US $60 for being arrested as a deserter in Philadelphia. But according to the muster-out roll, '[the] Charge of desertion [was] removed and he will be considered as Absent without leave from Feb 1" 64 to Mar. 10" 64 (date of arrest) and will forfeit pay + allowances for that period only'. I assume he was one of the many veterans who took an informal leave when the 91st was held in camp after returning from veterans' furlough. Second, Leopold's pension was originally approved retroactive to the date he completed his application (19 April 1870), but one year later was extended back to the date of Charles's death (1 September 1864), based on a 'late ruling'. (Leopold was also one of many people affected by his attorney's having improperly executed documents; his pension was suspended from 7 December 185 to 24 January 1876.)

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 14 Dec 14
Contact Harry Ide at with comments or questions.