2013-05-16 / Columns

The Bugle Calls

This is the latest installment in a series of profiles of members of the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, which was comprised of men from Bradford County who fought in the Civil War.

The position of Sergeant Major was bestowed upon Joseph G. Fell for a simplistic reason. He could write quickly. He penned the following about the Battle of Chancellorsville. Sergeant Major Fell, in part, wrote, “…We kept advancing and shooting, until May 2, when we got so far ahead that our support was cut off, and we had to withdraw a couple of miles at a good place.

“Morning, 3, we found ourselves closely pressed by Rebel Gentlemen. We fell back with quite a loss to another point, and from that point we moved into a general engagement at about 7 a.m. We moved into close contact, drove them the first hour. If we advanced any farther, they would wheel to right and come round our whole force, so we had to fall back, and as we did so we kept sending messages of death into the line of Rebels.

“Our Bradford boys did all this. Our brave fellows falling all the time beyond mention…, we rallied three times around the old “Star Spangled Banner,” and faced the advancing foe.

“Col. Madill carried the old banner from the field, and when he wanted the few remaining fellow soldiers to rally around it, he would plant the colors and sing, “Star Spangled Banner.”

“I never heard the Colonel sing until that day. He is a brave man; there is none braver in the army. We got out at last. I took the number present immediately, and 61 were along.

“Corporal Charles Scott, Selden Worth, Runyan Coolbaugh, W.L. States and G.W. Fell could be counted who belonged to Co. “C.” All the above named are as good and brave fellows as ever lived. Noble Capt. Swartz was killed, as good a man as the service could boast of. I think he died at his post, with colors in his hand. The Color Sergeant had been wounded, and two corporals. Capt. Swartz quickly raised them (the flag), when he too fell, shot through the heart or near it. I believe Lt. Cole was severely wounded in the face. I did not see the Lieutenant for some time. I looked for him, knowing that if alive and able, he would be at his post, for he would not flinch an inch—it was not in him. He is always ready to give them battle, and will be again as soon as able to join his regiment. No braver man can be found than that same Lt. Cole.

“We lost 234 killed, wounded and missing; some of the latter will come up—I hope all. We were under one of the hottest fights of the war, and suffered as badly as any regiment in the war I think and I know that no regiment ever stood better than the 141st. I don’t think a company from Bradford can run with cowardice—it is not in them.”

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