John Fulton Reynolds - Encyclopedia

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JOHN FULTON REYNOLDS (1820-1863), American soldier, was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the 20th of September 1820, and graduated at West Point in 1841. He became first lieutenant of artillery in 1846, and was breveted captain and major for gallantry in the Mexican War. He took part in the Utah expedition under Brigadier-General Albert Sidney Johnston. In 1859 he was made commandant of cadets at West Point, where he was stationed at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He was made a lieutenant-colonel of infantry in May and brigadier-general of volunteers in August of that year. In the Peninsular campaign, after taking part in the battles of Beaver Dam Creek and Gaines' Mill, he was taken prisoner in the hard-fought action of Glendale or Frazier's Farm. Exchanged after six weeks' captivity, he commanded a division with conspicuous ability and courage in the second battle of Bull Run. Shortly after this he was placed in command of the militia of his native state when Lee's invasion threatened it. In November 1862 he was commissioned major-general of volunteers, and appointed to command the I. Corps of the Army of the Potomac, and took part in the battle of Fredericksburg. At the time of General Meade's appointment to command the Army of the Potomac many desired to see Reynolds selected for that post, but he gave Meade his whole-hearted support in the three critical days preceding the battle of Gettysburg. He was placed by Meade in command of the left wing (I., III. and XI. corps and Buford's cavalry division) and thrown forward to Gettysburg to cover the concentration of the Army of the Potomac. The battle which ensued there, on the 1st of July 1863, took its shape from Reynolds's resolution to support Buford's cavalry with the I. and XI. crops. Meade was notified, and hurried forward the right wing under Hancock. Reynolds himself was killed very early in the day by a rifle bullet. A bronze statue was placed on the field of Gettysburg and a portrait in the library at West Point by the men of the I. Corps. The state of Pennsylvania erected a granite shaft on the spot where he fell, and an equestrian bronze statue stands in Philadelphia.

His elder brother William (1815-1879), a naval officer, served afloat in the Civil War, effected many useful reforms while acting secretary of the navy in 1873 and 1874, and retired from the United States navy in 1877 as a rear-admiral.

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