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John Reynolds

Facts, information and articles about John Reynolds, a Civil War General during the American Civil War

John Reynolds Facts


September 20, 1820 Lancaster, Pennsylvania


July 1, 1863 Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Years Of Service



Major General


I Corps, Army of the Potomac


Mexican-American War
Battle of Monterrey
Battle of Buena Vista
American Civil War
Seven Days Battles
Second Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Gettysburg

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John Reynolds summary: John Reynolds was one of 9 children of Lydia Moore Reynolds and John Reynolds. He was born in Pennsylvania and his two brothers, James and Will Reynolds, also had military careers. Senator James Buchanan who was a friend of the family nominated Reynolds to the US Military Academy in 1837. During the Mexican-American War, Reynolds was awarded 2 brevet promotions to captain at Monterrey and major for Buena Vista. After Mexico, he was assigned to Maine, Louisiana and New York.

John Reynolds In The Civil War

When the Civil War started, Reynolds was appointed to the 14th US Infantry as lieutenant colonel but he never engaged with the union because he was promoted to a position of brigadier general as early as August of 1861. Reynolds was captured in Virginia at Boatswain’s Swamp and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. Eventually he was exchanged for Lloyd Tilghman on August 15th. When he returned to Pennsylvania after being traded, he was given a position at the Pennsylvania Reserved division as a commander. That was due to the fact that the commander in that division had been captured just a couple of days after Reynolds was. Eventually Reynolds was put in charge of the Pennsylvania Militia when Robert E. Lee led the invasion of Maryland. Reynolds eventually met President Lincoln and requested to be free of any political influences, which in the past had shown an effect on army commanders during the war.

John Reynolds At Gettysburg

Early on July 1st of 1863, Reynolds found himself in command of the left wing of what was called the Army of the Potomac. Reynolds stood an approach from two infantry brigades from the Confederacy, coming to the aid of John Buford’s cavalry. During the battle, Reynolds was wounded in the back of the head and it is said that he died almost instantly. His body was sent to Taneytown, Maryland and eventually to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His burial took place on July 4th of 1863. There are disagreements on the place and way of Reynolds’ death with some saying that it happened on East McPherson Ridge while others have it on West McPherson Ridge with a possibility of friendly fire or a Confederate sharp shooter.


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