How To Properly Reference the Pennsylvania Reserves in Historical Texts

I have seen time and time again where, any reference to the regiments in the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps are made so using their Federal Designation. Historically, these men never referred to themselves by their federal designation. This notion of using the federal designation instead of the state designation began when the children and grandchildren of these soldiers began applying for pensions through the United States Government, as the USG would only recognize them by their federal designations. For whatever reason this trend has continued, and is a tremendous disservice to those who served within the ranks of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. This is especially so when referencing them in historical texts. As historians, it is our responsibility to get this right; using their federal designation rather then that of their state designation is historically inaccurate. It can almost be said that making this error is somewhat of a reenactorism. These men cherished the name of their organization dearly – and were proud to have served in its ranks.

If you are an author, a historian or a researcher – the proper reference to any regiment serving in the Pennsylvania Reserves, or “P.R.V.C.” – is to use their state designations. Omitting their federal designation is the proper thing to do, unless of course you are writing a “how to” on researching postwar government documents and paperwork housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Proper etiquette in referring to the Pennsylvania Reserves is as follows, i.e.:

Historically Proper Wartime Reference
“State Designation”
Improper Wartime Reference
“Federal Designation”
1st Pennsylvania Reserves30th Pennsylvania Volunteers
2nd Pennsylvania Reserves31st Pennsylvania Volunteers
3rd Pennsylvania Reserves32nd Pennsylvania Volunteers
4th Pennsylvania Reserves33rd Pennsylvania Volunteers
5th Pennsylvania Reserves34th Pennsylvania Volunteers
6th Pennsylvania Reserves35th Pennsylvania Volunteers
7th Pennsylvania Reserves36th Pennsylvania Volunteers
8th Pennsylvania Reserves37th Pennsylvania Volunteers
9th Pennsylvania Reserves38th Pennsylvania Volunteers
10th Pennsylvania Reserves39th Pennsylvania Volunteers
11th Pennsylvania Reserves40th Pennsylvania Volunteers
12th Pennsylvania Reserves41st Pennsylvania Volunteers
13th Pennsylvania Reserves
(exception being that they more commonly
referred to themselves as the 1st Pennsylvania Rifles)
42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers
1st Pennsylvania Reserve Light Artillery43rd Pennsylvania Volunteers
1st Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry44th Pennsylvania Volunteers

It should also be mentioned, that there were only 15 regiments in the entire Union Army that were “Pennsylvania Reserves.” I have seen numerous occasions where other Pennsylvania Regiments are mistakenly referred to as being Reserves. i.e., 125th Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. There was never such a regiment. The reference table above gives the only units in the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, and their proper, historically accurate designations.

City Letter Carrier at USPS | | Website | + posts

Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.