(1838 - 1862)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Branch of Service: Infantry
He was ADC, paymaster and Adjutant in the County Militia from March 1858, was admitted to the bar in 1859, and practiced law with his father in West Chester. On 24 April 1861 he enrolled and mustered as Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 9th Pennsylvania Infantry for 3 months' service at Harrisburg and mustered out with them on 29 July. He then enrolled again, and mustered as Lieutenant Colonel of the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry to date from 27 July 1861.
On the Campaign
He was mortally wounded in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862:
A short time elapsed after the bridge was taken before any other troops came forward to reinforce the two heroic regiments [51st PA and 51st NY]; during which time the 51st P. V. stacked arms on a line parallel with the creek, and about ten feet from it. A few fires were then kindled by the men for the purpose of making a cup of coffee, but as the smoke towered up to the tops of the trees and rising higher than the hill, it gave unmistakable evidence that the Union soldiers were still in the neighborhood of the bridge; the enemy taking the smoke as a point at which to range their batteries, opened their guns with case-shot, shell, and grape.
Lieut. Col. Bell had been up the creek about one hundred and fifty yards, and as he was returning towards the bridge and when within fifty yards of it he met private Hugh Brown, and giving him a friendly slap on the shoulder, remarked as he passed him. "We did it for them this time, my boy;" but he had not taken more than two or three steps when a grape-shot grazed his left temple. He made a whirl round as if on a pivot, fell on his side and rolled down the bank of the creek to where the guns of his regiment were stacked. The men rushed to his aid, and taking him up they found that he had received a frightful and mortal wound; he was carried to the other side of the creek in an unconscious state; he lived only a few hours after being removed to the field hospital.
References & notes
More on the Web
His papers, including his wartime letters, are in the Chester County Historical Society, West Chester [finding aid].
05/12/1838; West Chester, PA
09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Oaklands Cemetery, West Chester, PA
1 Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871 [AotW citation 11545]
2 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Adjutant-General, Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866, Published <2005, first accessed 01 July 2005, <http://www.digitalarchives.state.pa.us/archive.asp?view=ArchiveIndexes&ArchiveID=17> [AotW citation 23180]
3 Parker, Thomas H., History of the 51st Regiment of P.V. and V.V. ..., Philadelphia: King & Baird, Printers, 1869, pp. 236-237 [AotW citation 23179]