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          23rd Pennsylvania

"Camp Clark" Feb. 62
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Entrance to "Camp Graham"
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The Whirligig
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Modern view of Camp Graham
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Camp Graham

September 8th 1861- February 9th, 1862

"Tenting Tonight" (on the Old Campground)

by Walter Kittridge

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September 1861

On the 8th of September the regiment was transferred to Camp Graham on Queen's farm, four miles north of Washington. Here, by authority of the War Department, it was recruited to fifteen companies, twelve of which were from Philadelphia, one from Pittsburg, one from Wilkesbarre and one from Columbia. Its first colors were presented by friends in Philadelphia, before proceeding to the field in the three months' service.

Philadelphia Camps 1861

Washington D.C. 1861
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The farm was in the vicinity of several forts and Batteries, including Fort Totten and Fort Slocum. The Queen family owned several large plots of land in the vicinity, Queen's Chapel Rd. in nearby Prince George's County, MD still bears their name. The camp was situated on fairly high ground with a bird’s eye view of the Capital and “Arlington Heights”. It was in an open field that was surrounded by trees, but victim to the elements. During the hot months, soldiers were subject to the extreme heat and there was but a few trees to shade them.

Oct-Nov 1861

As the men were being recruited and trained they were also getting their real first taste of being away from home. This "Adventure" caused many of the boys to correspond with loved ones at home. Camp Graham was about one mile from President Lincoln's Cottage and the Military Asylum Cemetery, (Today U.S. Soldier's and Airman's Cemetery). By November the ranks of the 23rd PA swelled beyond 1,000 and was up to 1,500 men. They were in Camp with thousands of other soldiers and in unsanitary conditions. thousands of men reliving themselves in the mud and also horses caused sickness and Typhiod Fever to prevail. This would take its toll on the 23rd PA through the months of December through February.

Twig found by Sgt. William R. Peddle
23rd PV
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Modern View of Camp Graham
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Modern View of Camp Graham
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Frank Marrone at
Camp Graham,2004
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On November 8th 1861, Each man was given 20 rounds of blank cartridge and was marched to an open field about a mile from Washington. General McClellan, President Lincoln and a number of other distinguished officers, were made known by the firing of a salute, then President Lincoln reviewed them. Then the band struck up “Hail to the Chief”. After the review they were drilled all day and marched back to Camp.

Camp Graham1

Member of the 82nd PA at Camp Graham in 1861.
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The Twenty third was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, and Forth Corps. They were drilled in U.S. Infantry Tactics, Evolutions of the Line & McClellan’s bayonet exercises. General Graham was the schoolmaster teaching the officers every night from 7-9 pm. (Captains on Monday and Thursday, 1st Lt’s on Tuesday and Friday, 2nd Lt’s on Wednesdays and Saturdays.) Though there was plenty of drilling on a serious note the regiment did have a lot of enjoyment in camp. Some of the activities enjoyed were Baseball, Sack Races, Ox Roasting, Pig races, boxing, alcoholic beverages and Pole climbing and The Whirligig for prizes. Day by day the Regimental Band lifted the spirits of the men by playing patriotic songs in the Camp and during Dress parade and review. The men of the 23rd also built a theatre, which Captain Hildebrand approved of to occupy the men’s time during rainy weather and for their own personal entertainment. They were also taught to built fortifications, cutting timber and doing picket and guard duty. Forts Lincoln, Totten, Stevens, and Cedar Hill were witnesses of their workmanship and efforts. The 23rd received their State flag on December 14th 1861 with extensive preparations being made for the ceremony. The Camp was elaborately decorated with evergreens and an elegant dinner was provided. On December 15th 1861, Typhoid Fever prevailed upon the Camp due to its location and fifty men and one officer died.

December 1861-February 9th 1862

December 14th 1861, Flag Presentation

Original 23rd PA Flagpole
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"Camp Graham" 1861
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23rd PV at Camp Graham
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The State flag was presented on the 14th of December, on behalf of Gov. Curtin, by Hon. Galusha A. Grow, Speaker of the Lower House of Congress, and was responded to by Hon. Wm. D. Kelley, of the same body, from Philadelphia, and by Col. Birney. Extensive preparations had been made for this ceremony, the camp having been elaborately decorated with evergreens, an elegant dinner provided, and the occasion was honored by the presence of the Secretary of War, distinguished members of Congress, and influentia1 citizens of Philadelphia.

The Twenty-third was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, Fourth Corps, and received careful instruction and discipline from Colonel Birney. The Division was drilled in evolutions of the line once a week by Gen. Buell, while he remained in command. In these exercises the regiment always paraded as two battalions, each battalion numbering as many men as any other single regiment in the Brigade. In addition to regular drill, the men were employed in building fortifications, cutting timber, and doing picket and guard duty. Forts Lincoln, Totten, Stevens and Cedar Hill, are witnesses of their industry.

About the middle of December typhoid fever prevailed, and one officer and fifty men died. Subsequently the camp was moved in February of 1862, to high and airy ground, near Bladensburg, to a established camp called ”Camp Clark” and the disease disappeared. A large number of blankets and stockings, and fifteen hundred pairs of woolen mittens were presented to the men by their friends in Philadelphia.

Camp Graham1

Camp Graham (Washington D.C.
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the Location today

The Queen Farm appears to have been in the vicinity of the present day intersection of Puerto Rico Ave. and Taylor Street, NE, in the Michigan Park neighborhood. This area is quite close to the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's home, and roughly a mile from Georgia Ave. (formerly the 7th Street Pike). At the time of the Civil War, the area was part of Washington County, D.C., not the city. Several of the men who got Typhiod died, they were taken to the military Asylum Cemetery and buried there. 10 of them still rest there today.

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