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PA Civil War > Flags > 141st Regiment

PA Civil War Battle Flags

141st PA State Color

141st Regiment
Additional Companies, Bios, Organization & Service

141st Regiment:

The 141st Regiment was recruited in Bradford, Susquehanna and Wayne counties in August of 1862 and formed at Camp Curtin late in the month. Colonel Samuel B. Thomas was presented with the state color on October 23rd while the regiment was stationed near Poolesville, Maryland. The regiment saw only light action at Fredericksburg, though numerous others were smashed to pieces in the fruitless assaults on Marye's Heights. In May of 1863 the regiment was brutally slaughtered at Chancellorsville, losing over fifty percent casualties. Of 419 officers engaged, 234 were killed or wounded, including the entire color-guard.

"Sergeant George C. Bearsley of Company C, although severely wounded in the thigh, clung to the flag until he fell. Captain Abram J. Swart, commanding the color company (C), grabbed the flag and was instantly killed. Major Israel P. Spaulding then seized the color, but Colonel Henry J. Madill had seen the flag go down twice. The colonel dismounted, elbowed his way through the battle line, and took the flag from Spaulding, declaring that if the flag went down a fourth time, he would go with it."

After Chancellorsville, the regiment fought at Gettysburg in the Peach Orchard on July 2, 1863 and helped repulse the attack of Joseph B. Kershaw's brigade. Then William Barksdale's Mississippians charged across the field, forcing the 149th to withdrawal. At the end of the 2nd day the regiment had lost another 149 men killed, wounded, or missing, with only 60 effectives remaining in the field. Once again the entire color-guard was annihilated. Private John Stockholm remembered that bloody day by saying that as he picked up the colors, the guardsman beside him was shot and as he gathered the flag up to raise it aloft a musket ball cut half the staff away, made a line of holes the length of the flag, and went through the rim of his hat.

Over the winter the regiment received many replacements, which it desperately needed. The regiment fought in the majority of the battles in Grant's Overland Campaign; the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and then went on to the fights at Deep Bottom, Poplar Springs Church, and Boydton Plank Road. It fought in the battles of the Appomattox campaign and took part in the Grand Review on May 23, 1865.

The State Color for the 141st shows what the ferocity of battle does to a flag that was carried throughout the majority of the fierce battles in the eastern theater of the war. It serves as a testament to the valor of the soldiers brave enough to carry these banners into the face of enemy shot and shell, and it is not alone. Many of the flags' have histories equally horrific and unimaginable, and all are artifacts to be cherished and preserved for future generations.

Sources: Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, Vol. IV, (Harrisburg: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1870), 439.
Richard A. Sauers, Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol. II, (Harrisburg: Capitol Preservation Committee, 1991), 429.

More about PA regiments and their flags:
Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol. 1
Advance the Colors: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol. 2

The Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee in Harrisburg has conserved and is custodian of approximately 390 Civil War battleflags for the state of Pennsylvania. The flag on this page is part of their collection which is available for viewing by appointment.

To view the Civil War battle flags in person, contact:
Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee
Room 630 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
(717) 783-6484

© Flag images and text reprinted with permission of the PA Capitol Preservation Committee. Civil War Databases

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