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7TH PENNSYLVANIA RESERVES (36TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY)
"The Cumberland Guard"
1861 to 1864
Among the first to answer President Lincoln's call for volunteers in 1861, Company "H" was organized in Mechanicsburg, PA in April. Coming from the scenic Cumberland Valley, the men chose "The Cumberland Guard" as the name of their volunteer company. They joined the newly organized 7th Pennsylvania Reserve Corps Infantry Regiment on June 27, 1861. After training at Camp Curtin and Camp Wayne, the men of Company H joined the 2nd brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserve Division, Brigadier General George G. Meade commanding.
The men of Company H served with the Army of the Potomac throughout the first 3 years of the war and were present on the field of battle at Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills, Charles City Crossroads, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, among other battles.
Their finest day was December 13, 1862 at the battle of Fredericksburg, where with the Pennsylvania Reserve Division, they pierced the line of A.P. Hill's division, Stonewall Jackson's corps, shattering three brigades. Private Jacob Cart, Company A 7th Pa Reserves, was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the capture of the flag of the 19th Georgia Infantry.
The unit’s service came to an end on May 5, 1864 at the battle of the Wilderness. After fighting gallantly, they were cut off from the rest of the army, surrounded and forced to surrender so as to avoid complete annihilation. Only Company B managed to make its way back to friendly territory, fighting on until June, 1864 when the survivors of the regiment (about 60 men out of an original 1000) were mustered out of the Federal Army in Philadelphia.
The history of the unit ends with the fight against starvation and death in the Rebel prison pens at Andersonville and Millen, Georgia, and Florence, South Carolina.
SEVENTH PENNSYLVANIA RESERVES
"The Cumberland Guard"
Company H, "The Cumberland Guard", was reactivated in March of 1975 by individuals in the Mechanicsburg/Harrisburg area interested in studying and preserving our Civil War Heritage. The group exists today as a non-profit, educational cooperation which takes part in parades, living history encampments and puts on uniform talk shows for interested clubs and organizations. The 7th Reserves works frequently with other units like ourselves, participating in larger living history events and battle reenactments in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The unit also helps raise funds for preservation and has contributed to numerous historic charities over the years. The unit meets once a month and publishes a newsletter (THE LETTER H).
We are always looking for interested persons who wish to share the experience of living history. Whether it's the smell of gunpowder on a battlefield or a quiet evening in camp, the friends and fellowship you will experience in this unique hobby will last a lifetime. As a member of the 7th Reserves, you will portray a U.S. infantryman of the early 1860's. We also have opportunities for females who, as members of our group, put together a period civilian women’s impression. Upon joining our group, veteran members will assist you in selecting the proper clothing and equipment of the period and work with you so you can learn the proper drill and demeanor of the 1860’s.
The level of participation is up to the individual. We have members who range from active sleep-on-the ground folks, to those who prefer one day, local low-key living history events. We portray a Federal solider of the Army of the Potomac and wear the standard issue uniform, which consist of a dark blue wool fatigue coat, forage cap and sky blue trousers, along with an issue shirt, brogans and the basic rifle accoutrements. The single greatest expense is the reproduction musket. At different periods during the 7th Reserves’ term of service they carried converted flintlock muskets, imported Austrian rifles and the M1842 Harper’s Ferry smoothbore musket. We encourage members to purchase the M1842, as it was the weapon most commonly used by the regiment.
If you or someone you know is interested in helping to keep the memory of our Civil War Heritage alive, please contact the Webmaster below.
Nick Grimm, President
E-Mail the Webmaster - email@example.com