New Flags for the Pennsylvania Reserves

Henry Blanchard with the First State Colors 9th Reserve. Source: Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags

Following the Battle of Fredericksburg the Reserves were detached from the Army of the Potomac and assigned to the Defenses of Washington. In May of 1863, Colonel Horatio Sickel, of the 3rd Reserve who was commanding the division sent the following letter to Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin requesting that new regimental flags be issued to the division.

Head Quarters Penna Reserves
Aleandria Va May 4th 1863
Hon AG Curtin
I have the honor to submit for your consideration the propriety of presenting to each regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserves a new stand of colors & accepting in return the battle scarred flags they have born so nobly in defence of Constitutional liberty against a careless and wicked rebellion.
We are proud of these banners. They have been consecrated by the best blood of the bravest of Pennsylvania’s most loyal sons. The noble deeds done under them will form one of the brightest chapters in the history of the government. Drainsville, Mechanicsville, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg are written in the blood of fallen heroes upon the fields.
Your wisdom suggested the timely organization of this Corps. Your devoted patriotism and untiring zeal plased this offering of Pennsylvania’s loyalty in the field at the most eventful moment in the crisis of the Country’s perils. It seems to me fitting that these tattered emblems of faithful service should be returned your hands – telling a story of which every Pennsylvanian may well be proud. Those flags being unfit for further use here prompted suggestion I have made.
I am with great Respect Governor
your Obdt Servt
(Sgd) H.G Sickel
Col Comdg Penna Reserves

Apparently, no action was taken by the state in response to Sickel’s request. On November 6, 1863 Brigadier General Samuel W. Crawford circulated General Orders #11 which noted the damaged condition of the regimental flags and instructed the brigade commanders to take immediate steps to repair the flags and report those that were too damaged to be repaired.  On November 13, 1863 Crawford wrote to Adjutant General Alexander L. Russell requesting new colors for the Reserves. Crawford sent a follow up to Russell on November 15 noting that the 2nd and 13th Reserves had received flags from private sources and did not require new flags from the state.  The other regiments of the Reserves would receive new flags in December of 1863.

Second State Colors 9th Reserve. Source: Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags


Sickel, HG to Andrew Curtin, May 4, 1863. Record Group 393, Part 2, Entry 4437, National Archives & Record Administration, Washington DC.

Richard A Sauers, Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, Vol I, Capitol Preservation Committee, 1987.

Chief Regimental Historian of the 9th Reserves at PRVCHS

Long time Civil War Enthusiast since early childhood. As a former resident of nearby Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I became interested in the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves and since then, have become engaged in researching the regiment and the men who served in it. I currently reside in Northern Virginia and work in Washington D.C.