Major General John F. Reynolds was a prominent Union Army commander during the Civil War. Born in Pennsylvania, he graduated from West Point in 1841 and distinguished himself during the Mexican-American War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Reynolds quickly rose through the ranks of the Army of the Potomac and proved to be one of the best field commanders.
Despite his record on the battlefield, he often became frustrated with the political constraints placed on the army and resigned his command in 1863. Reynolds went missing on July 1, 1863, when he was killed while leading his men into the field. Stages of the Battle of Gettysburg. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
John Fulton, son of John and Lydia Reynolds, was born on September 20, 1820, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was first educated in the nearby town of Leyte’s and later at Lancaster County Academy. Reynolds decided to pursue a military career like his older brother William, who joined the U.S. Navy and sought employment at West Point. With a family friend, (future president) Senator James Buchanan, he gained admission and reported to the academy in 1837.
While at West Point, Reynolds’ classmates were Horatio J. Wright, Ebion B. Howe, Nathaniel Leon, and Don Carlos Buell. The average student, graduating in 1841, placed twenty-sixth in a class of fifty students. Assigned to the 3rd US Artillery at Fort McHenry, Reynolds’ time in Baltimore was short-lived as he was ordered to Fort Augustine the following year. After the Second Seminole War ended, Reynolds spent the next three years at Fort Augustine and Fort Moultrie, SC. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
At the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, following Brigadier General Zachary Taylor’s victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de Palma, Reynolds was ordered to Texas. He joined Taylor’s army at Corpus Christi and took part in the campaign against Monterey.
At the fall of the city, he was temporarily promoted to the rank of captain. After the victory, the bulk of Taylor’s army was transferred to the Veracruz operation under Major General Winfield Scott.
Staying with Taylor, Reynolds’ artillery battery played a key role in holding the American water at the Battle of Boa Vista in February 1847.
In the conflict, Taylor’s army was able to defeat a larger Mexican force under General Antonio López de Santa Anna. . . In recognition of his efforts, Reynolds was promoted to major. While in Mexico he met Winfield Scott Hancock and Lewis A. Befriended Armistead.
Returning north after the war, Reynolds spent the next few years in Maine (Fort Preble), New York (Fort Lafayette), and New Orleans. In 1855, he was sent to Fort Orford, Oregon, to fight at the Battle of Rogue River.
After hostilities ended, the Native Americans who lived in the Rogue Valley were relocated to Indian reservations along the coast. A year later, Albert S. Reynolds was sent south under Johnston and joined the Utah Army in the Utah War of 1857-1858.
Fast Facts: Major General John F. Reynolds
- Classification: Major General
- Service: US Army/Union
- Born: September 20, 1820, in Lancaster, PA
- Died: July 1, 1863, in Gettysburg, PA
- Parents: John and Lydia Reynolds
- Conflicts: Mexican–American War, Civil War
- Known for: Second Battle of Manassas, Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, and Battle of Gettysburg.
The Civil War Begins
In September 1860, Reynolds returned to West Point as a commanding officer and instructor of the cadets. There he married Catherine May Hewitt. Reynolds was a Protestant and Hewitt was a Catholic, so the family kept the engagement a secret. During the school year, he was in academia during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election and the ensuing secession crisis.
When the Civil War broke out, Reynolds initially served in the United States Army as an aide to Commander-in-Chief Scott. He declined the offer and was appointed lieutenant colonel in the 14th Infantry Regiment, but was promoted to volunteer brigadier general before taking this post on August 20, 1861. On the way to Cape Hatteras Bay, North Carolina, where Reynolds was just captured, Major General George B. Major General John Fulton Reynolds.
During his service, he first served on the volunteer officer evaluation board and was later appointed commander of the Pennsylvania Reserve Brigade. The term is used in Pennsylvania to refer to the creation of more regiments than Lincoln proposed in April 1861.
to the peninsula
Brigadier General George McCall’s Second Division (Pennsylvania Reserves), 1st Brigade of I Corps, Reynolds first moved south into Virginia and captured Fredericksburg. On June 14, the division was transferred to Major General FitzJohn Porter’s V Corps, which participated in the McClellan Peninsula Campaign against Richmond. Joining Porter, the division was instrumental in the successful Union defense at the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek on June 26.
As the Seven Day War continued, Reynolds and his men under General Robert E. Lee’s forces attacked again. After two sleepless days, while resting at Reynolds Boatswain’s Mud after the battle, Major General D. Hill was arrested. Transferred to Richmond, Libby was briefly imprisoned and replaced by Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, who was captured at Fort Henry on August 15. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
Returning to the Army of the Potomac, Reynolds commanded the Pennsylvania reserves as McCall was also captured. In this role, he entered the Second Manus War at the end of the month. After the battle, Henry helped secure a position at House Hill, which helped the army return from the battlefield.
A Rising Star
When Lee marched north to invade Maryland, Reynolds was separated from his army at the request of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin. If Lee crossed the Mason-Dixon line, the governor appointed to his hometown ordered him to organize and command the state militia.
Reynolds’ appointment was unpopular with McClellan and the Union Supreme Leader because it stripped him of being the best general in the military. As a result, he was defeated at the Battle of South Hills and Antietam, the division commanded by Pennsylvania Brigadier General George G. Mead.
Reynolds returned to the army in late September to command the First Army, and Major General Joseph Hooker was wounded at Antietam. That December, he led a regiment at the Battle of Fredericksburg, a victory for his men. Mead’s forces broke through the Confederate line, opening a gap, but confusion in command prevented them from taking advantage of the opportunity.
For his work in Fredericksburg, Reynolds was promoted to major general on November 29, 1862. After the defeat, he was one of many officers who called for the dismissal of Army commander Major General Ambrose Burnside. As such, Reynolds expressed his frustration with Washington’s political influence over military operations. The effort was successful, and on January 26, 1863, Hooker replaced Burnside.
In May, Hooker attempted to bypass Fredericksburg and head west. Instead of Lee, Reynolds’ corps and Major General John Sedgwick VI met with the city. After the Battle of Chancellorsville, Hooker called up the I Corps on May 2 and ordered Reynolds to remain with the Union forces.
As the battle progressed, Reynolds and the other corps commanders called for an attack but were defeated by Hooker, who decided to retreat. Because of Hooker’s hesitation, the First Army fought back easily, with 300 casualties. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
As before, Reynolds is looking for a new commander who will deal with his compatriots who are not bound by politics with integrity. Reynolds, who met with the president on June 2, called Lincoln “our brave and brave friend.” During the fighting, the Army of the Potomac is said to have commanded Reynolds.
When Lincoln failed to guarantee he could lead regardless of political influence, Reynolds refused. As Lee moved north again, Lincoln turned to Mead, who took command and succeeded Hooker on June 28. Reynolds marched north with his men, commanding I Corps, III Corps, and Eleventh Corps, as well as Brigadier General John Buford’s cavalry divisions. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
Death at Gettysburg
Arriving at Gettysburg on June 30, Buford realized that the hills south of the town would be the key to fighting in the area. Knowing that the battle for his division would be long, he deployed his troops on the low hills north and northwest of the city, buying time for the army to reach and capture the high ground. The next morning, during the first phase of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was attacked by Confederate troops, who warned Reynolds and ordered him to defend.
While heading to Gettysburg with the First and Eleventh Corps, Reynolds told Mead that he would “defend it with all my strength, and if I could capture the town, I would block the road and delay it as long as possible.” He came to the field. During the battle, Reynolds led Buford and his leading brigade to defeat the cavalry. Reynolds was shot in the neck or head as he dispatched soldiers near Herbst Woods.
He fell off his horse and died. After Reynolds’ death, command of the I Corps passed to Major General Abner Dudley. At the end of the day, it was very difficult, but the XI Corps and I bought time for most of Mead’s army. As the war progressed, Reynolds’ body was removed from the field, first to Tannetown and then to Lancaster, where he was buried on July 4. Major General John Fulton Reynolds
Reynolds’ death dealt a major blow to the Army of the Potomac, costing Meade an Army commander. A Military Advocate General praised his subordinates: “I don’t think the commander’s love is deeper or more sincere than his.” Another officer d
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Reference: John F. Reynolds Wikipedia