John Fulton Reynolds

Equestrian statue on McPherson Ridge, Chambersburg Pike, Gettysburg.

Taken in the Lancaster Cemetery, Lancaster, Lancaster County Pennsylvania and was submitted by Fred Otto.

John Fulton Reynolds was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, September 20, 1820, only fifty-odd miles from the point where he would meet his death. Prior to entering the Military Academy in 1837, he attended school in nearby Lititz, in Longgreen, Maryland, and at the Lancaster County Academy. Reynolds was graduated from West Point in 1841. After four years of garrison duty on the Atlantic coast as an artillery officer, he was ordered to the Texas frontier and was awarded the brevet promotions of captain and major for gallant and meritorious conduct in the Mexican War. In the next fourteen years he performed garrison duty at various points, twice crossed the plains, and in September, 1860, was named Commandant of Cadets and instructor of tactics at West Point— the position he held when war broke out the following spring. Reynolds was made lieutenant colonel of the newly reactivated 14th U. S. Infantry on May 14, 1861, and brigadier general of volunteers on August 26 to rank from the twentieth. On June 27, 1862, Reynolds was directing a brigade of McCall's division of Porter's V Corps behind Boatswain's Swamp on the Virginia Peninsula. The brigade was covering the retirement of George B. McClellan's right wing, when the Confederates overran the position and routed McCall's entire division, which included the brigades of George G. Meade and Truman Seymour. Reynolds and his adjutant were cut off and captured early the next morning by a Rebel picket detail and were not exchanged until August 8. Upon rejoining the army he was assigned to command the 3rd Division, Pennsylvania Reserves, which was temporarily attached to McDowell's III Corps during the battle of Second Manassas. During the Maryland campaign he was in charge of the Pennsylvania militia which was mustered against the anticipated invasion of the state. Subsequently he was made commander of the I Corps, which he led at Fredericksburg in Franklin's "Left Grand Division." One of his divisions which was under Meade effected the only lodgment in the Confederate lines on that ill-starred December day. A few days before on November 29, 1862, Reynolds had been made major general. According to many authorities, Reynolds is said to have been offered, after Chancellorsville, command of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Joseph Hooker; but he declined the honor because he felt Washington would not give him a free hand. At all events his junior, Meade was named, and Reynolds uncomplainingly took up the direction of the left wing of the army under his former subordinate. Ordered to occupy the strategically located village of Gettysburg, Reynolds put his three corps—his own under Doubleday, the III Corps under Sickles, and Howard's XI Corps—on the road. By midmorning of July 1, 1863, he arrived on the field northwest of the town and on the south side of the Cashtown Road. While bringing up the 2nd Wisconsin, the leading regiment of the three corps, to aid the hard-pressed cavalry under John Buford, Reynolds was shot from his horse and killed instantly by a Rebel marksman who was firing from a barn on the edge of a nearby woodland. Three days later Reynolds was buried in Lancaster.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.