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Major and Surgeon Charles Leonard Wilson, U.S.V.

Major and Surgeon Charles Leonard Wilson's military career began in the early months of the war of the Rebellion with his appointment as assistant surgeon of the Seventy-ninth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Upon the merging of this command with the Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry in December, 1861, Dr. Wilson retained a similar post with the consolidated regiment, which he accompanied into action at McDowell, Shaw's Ridge, Franklin, Strasburg, Harrisonburg, Cross Keys, Cedar Mountain, Freeman's Ford, Warrenton Sulphur Springs, Waterloo Bridge, Bull Run (second battle), and Aldie, and was also on duty on the battle-field at Fredericksburg, though not with his regiment.

In these engagements it was seldom the lot of the Seventy-fifth to occupy other than a position of honor. The gallant achievements of the regiment at McDowell, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, and the heavy losses they sustained are matters of history. These events entailed upon Dr. Wilson the most arduous duties, and formed an excellent training for the increased responsibilities he afterwards assumed.

In February, 1863, Assistant Surgeon Wilson was selected to organize the First Division Hospital, Eleventh Corps, Army of the Potomac, near Brooks Station, Virginia, where he remained in charge until the breaking up of the hospital the following summer, at the time of the Eleventh Corps' march to Gettysburg. While stationed at this hospital Dr. Wilson obtained permission to rejoin his regiment for a few days at Chancellorsville, and was present at the several engagements there. Upon his return he was mustered out as assistant surgeon, to accept promotion as surgeon of the same regiment May 16, 1863, Major Wilson was detailed brigade surgeon, Second Brigade, First Division, Eleventh Corps. During the three days' engagement at Gettysburg he had charge of the Eleventh Corps Hospital, established in the High School-house of the town and an adjoining church. These buildings falling into the hands of the Confederates on the first day, the doctor and his charges remained prisoners until the end of the battle, when they were retaken.

It is not surprising that the conscientious devotion to duty evinced by this officer in the efforts recorded, meeting extraordinary demands upon his endurance to the exclusion of every selfish consideration, should already have told severely upon his health. We find, nevertheless, that Surgeon Wilson was afterwards on the field at Hagerstown, Maryland, and later accompanied his regiment, of whom less than a hundred men then survived, to Morris Island, South Carolina, where he took part in the assault upon Fort Wagner. It was not until October, 1863, and after he had been confined to his tent at Folly Island for more than a month, that the doctor yielded to the advice of his colleagues and resigned. From Port Royal, South Carolina, he returned to his home at Athens, Ohio.

The following spring, being much improved in health, Dr. Wilson accepted a commission as surgeon of the One Hundred and Forty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and remained with that regiment during his term of service, being finally mustered out as surgeon September 3, 1864.

Surgeon Wilson enjoyed the friendship and confidence of his superior officers, especially General N. C. McLean, and was unusually beloved by his comrades and the sick and wounded committed to his care. His services in the Eleventh Corps were several times highly commended by Major Sukley, medical director, in his reports to the surgeon-general.

Dr. Wilson is the second son of the late Josiah Wilson, Esq., of Athens, Ohio. Born at Athens, October 13, 1831, he completed his education at Cleveland, receiving the degree of M.D. from the Western Reserve College in 1854.

The following year he married a daughter of James Dickey, Esq., of Bern, Ohio. Since the war Dr. Wilson has practiced his profession in Athens, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia, and Indianapolis, Indiana, at which latter place he now resides, a successful specialist in orthopedic and plastic surgery. He is a member of Beta Chapter, Beta Theta Pi; of the Grand Army of the Republic; of the York and Scottish Rites in Masonry; a Knight Templar; a Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Indiana Commandery (his eldest son, Dr. Charles A. Wilson, being a Companion of the second class), and was a United States pension surgeon from 1866 to 1872.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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