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Federal (USV)


Charles O'Leary

(c. 1832 - 1897)

Home State: Ohio

Education: Trinity College (Dublin); Mount St. Mary's College (AB 1852);
Long Island College (MD 1860)

Branch of Service: Medical

Unit: 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Corps

Before Antietam

He was professor of Greek and chemistry at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, MD 1852-58 then attended medical school. He was an Intern at St. John's Hospital in Cincinnati when he was appointed Surgeon, US Volunteers on 3 August 1861, and was with the Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. He joined the First Brigade, First Division, 4th Army Corps on 5 September 1862.

On the Campaign

He was with the 4th Army Corps on the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and succeeded Surgeon White as acting Medical Director of the 6th Corps on 17 September 1862 at Antietam.

The rest of the War

He was appointed Medical Director of the Fifth Corps in December 1862 and was also Medical Director of the Left Grand Division (First and Sixth Corps) at Fredericksburg, VA. He was 6th Corps Medical Director at Gettysburg in July 1863. By January 1864 he was at the Lovell General Hospital in Portsmouth, RI. He was honored by brevet to Lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers for his war service in March 1865 and was mustered out on 22 November 1865.

After the War

He returned to Cincinnati, OH and was professor of chemistry at the Medical College of Ohio and a resident at St John's Hospital. By 1870 and to at least 1880 he was a practicing physician in Providence, RI. He was elected to the American Academy of Medicine in 1880 and President of the Rhode Island Medical Society in June that year. He had been a surgeon in the Rhode Island Hospital for almost 20 years by the time of his death of Bright's Disease at age 65 in 1897.

References & notes

His service from Heitman1 and his Narrative.2 His roles in Maryland, at Fredericksburg, and at Gettysburg from Duncan.3 Personal details from family genealogists, the US Census of 1870 and 1880, his card in the AMA's US Deceased Physician File, 1864-1968, and the General Alumni Catalogue of the Long Island College Hospital (1916), online from the National Library of Medicine.

He married Louisa Dietrich (1839-1921) and they had 8 children - three boys, then 5 girls - between 1865 and 1880.


c. 1832 in IRELAND


06/01/1897; Providence, RI


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 758  [AotW citation 28772]

2   Extract from a Narrative of his Services in the Volunteer Medical Staff. By Surgeon Charles O'Leary, U.S. Volunteers.
Barnes, Joseph K., and US Army, Office of the Surgeon General, The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, 6 books, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1870, Part 1, Volume 1, Appdx. 57, pg. 70  [AotW citation 28773]

3   Duncan, Louis C., and Captain, Medical Corps, US Army, The Medical Department of the United States Army in the Civil War: unpublished collection, c. 1916, pp. 26, 29, 41, 45  [AotW citation 28774]