7th Pa Reserves (36th Infantry) - PA Civil War Flags 7th Pa Reserves (36th Infantry)

The Honor of Protecting the Colors

The 36th Pennsylvania Infantry (more commonly known as the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves) was organized in June 1861 at West Chester, PA. Upon receiving their flag, Private Adam Wray of Danville, Pennsylvania was selected as bearer, primarily because of his previous service in such capacity during the Mexican War. The regiment saw its first heavy fighting in the Battle of the Seven Days on the York-James Peninsula. On June 30, 1862 at New Market Crossroads all members of the color-guard were either killed or wounded. Private Wray was gravely wounded and as a result discharged from the service, dying soon after. Private Rheuben Schell of Company D was promoted to Corporal and given the honor of carrying the flag. He was later promoted to Sergeant, but it was not until September 17, 1862 the Schell recognized the dangers of bearing the color. Schell's regiment was engaged in the fierce fighting at "The Cornfield" at Antietam. Schell came through unscathed, but men on both sides of him were killed or wounded and the flag was hit by at least eight bullets. At Fredericksburg, Schell was hit by a spent ball that fortunately struck his belt buckle. The private who picked up the fallen color was immediately killed. Schell recovered from his minor wound and continued to carry the flag until the entire regiment was surrounded during the battle of the Wilderness. He wept openly when the second state color was taken from him. He was imprisoned at Andersonville for five months before being transferred to other southern prisons. After the war he returned to Lock Haven, PA but was so wracked by diseases from his imprisonment that he could not effectively undertake manual labor. He eventually found a job as the bookkeeper at the West Branch Tannery and worked there until his death in April of 1909.

PA Capitol Preservation Committee | Room 630 Main Capitol Building | Harrisburg, PA 17120