Arthur Exum Reynolds
Arthur Exum Reynolds as born on
November 29,1817, in Alexandria in Smith County, Tennessee, the son of Josiah
and Sally (Exum) Reynolds. Educated at Clinton College, he moved to Lawrence
County, Alabama, in 1838, and studied law there. He moved to Jacinto in
Tishomingo County, Mississippi, in the 1840s and became a teacher, a lawyer, and
a state senator from Tishomingo County from 1850 to 1858. A Whig, and a Unionist
delegate at the state's secession convention, Reynolds nonetheless signed the
proclamation of secession.
At the start of the war Reynolds proposed to President Davis that he raise a regiment. Davis agreed to the offer, but since the Confederate government had no arms told Reynolds that he would have to equip the regiment himself. Returning to Corinth, Reynolds, with the help of local business people, organized and equipped the 26th Mississippi Infantry. He was unanimously elected colonel on September 10,1861. At the Battle of Fort Donelson Reynolds led the 26th in a successful charge until his horse was shot out from under him. The corpulent Reynolds, weighing over three hundred pounds, could not keep up on foot with his charging men. The 26th was caught up in the eventual Confederate surrender. The Union authorities confined Reynolds in Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. After exchange on August 27,1862, the "enterprising and gallant" Reynolds led the 26th in the Vicksburg campaign. At the Battle of Champion's Hill he succeeded Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman in command of the brigade after Tilghman was wounded, and led the brigade through the 1863 Mississippi campaigns. In August, 1863, Reynolds was detached and assigned to the Conscriprion Bureau. By the spring of 1864 Reynolds was back with his old regiment and was again in temporary brigade command. That summer the 26th was transferred to Davis' brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. Reynolds missed the early battles of the Wilderness campaign, but joined Lee's army in time for the Petersburg battles. He was wounded at the Battle of Weldon Railroad on August 18, 1864. The wound sent him to the hospital for months. After partial recovery, the medical board ordered him back to Mississippi to recuperate. Reynolds was paroled at Meridian, Mississippi, on May 21, 1865.
Immediately after the war Reynolds was elected to the U.S. Congress. However, the radical Republican Congress refused to seat the ex-rebel. Subsequently he moved to Corinth, Mississippi, and practiced law there. The Reconstruction governor appointed Reynolds chancellor judge of the Eighth District in 1870. After four years, Reynolds returned to his law practice. He died in 1881 and is buried in Jacinto Cemetery. It was said of him that the county "never claimed a citizen of more genuine manliness or universal popularity."
SHSP, Wood, CV, and Heitman list Reynolds as a general. SHSP says he was appointed a brigadier general in March, 1865, but the final surrender came before he was assigned to a command. Brigadier General Joseph Davis, the President's nephew, led the brigade that included the 26th through to the surrender at Appomattox; it is difficult to see any brigade command vacancy Reynolds could have been promoted to fill.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.