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Federal (USV)


Francis John Bell


(1836 - 1894)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (1st Rifles)

Before Antietam

A 25 year old carpenter in McKean County, he enrolled there on 3 May 1861 and mustered into service as First Lieutenant, Company I, 13th Pennsylvania Reserves on 30 May in Harrisburg.

On the Campaign

He was wounded by gunshot in the chest in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Captain on 1 March 1863 and was wounded again, in the leg at Gettysburg in July 1863. His leg was amputated and he was discharged on 19 October 1863 to accept a commission in the Veteran Reserve Corps. He was honored by brevet to Major and mustered out of service on 30 June 1866.

After the War

He studied the law and was admitted to the bar in Washington, DC on 26 October 1869. He lived there until 1884 when he was appointed a Federal pension examiner and moved to Kansas, Florida, and back to Pennsylvania. Apparently suffering from depression and otherwise ill as well, he killed himself by gunshot to the head in Washington, DC in April 1894, not quite 58 years old. His family was in Washington State at the time.

References & notes

Service and other information from Bates1 and the Bucktails.2 Details from his death notice on page one of the Bolivar Breeze (Allegany County, NY) of 6 April 1894 and from family genealogists. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Ruth J. Wheeler (1837-1917) in 1864 and they had 5 children.


04/14/1836; Ceres, Allegany County, NY


04/01/1894; Washington, DC; burial in Evergreen Cemetery, McKean County, PA


1   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871  [AotW citation 11408]

2   Thomson, O. R. Howard, and William H. Rauch, History of the "Bucktails", Kane Rifle Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps (13th Pennsylvania Reserves, 42nd of the Line), Philadelphia: Electric Printing Co., 1906, pp. 255-256, 416  [AotW citation 22971]