Reynolds John FuJton 182063

John Reynolds (see Plate E2) was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on 20 September 1820. After attending Lancaster County Academy he was graduated from West Point in 1841. He served as an artillery officer on the Atlantic coast and in Texas before the Mexican War, in which he was breveted a captain and major for gallant and meritorious conduct. After years of garrison duty, be became Commandant of Cadets at West Point in September I860, leaving the Academy to become lieutenant-colonel of the 14th US Infantry on 14 May 18(51, and a brigadier-general of volunteers on 26 August.

Reynolds commanded the 1st Brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves, raised from excess volunteers from that state, which was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. The men of his brigade had a chance to appreciate Reynolds' coolness in the field during their first experience at the front. Major Evan Woodward, 2nd Reserves, recalled in his history of the Reserves published in 1865: "When we first commenced our retrograde movement many surmises that soon assumed the shape of rumors were set afloat, and as we at that Lime were incapable of judging of military

Death General Reynolds GettysburgMajor General John Reynolds

OPPOSITE The Pennsylvania general John F.Reynolds, as illustrated In the 18 July 1663 issue of Harper's Weekly two weeks after his death at Gettysburg. Staff officer Frank Haskell described him at Fredericksburg the previous December as "the very beau Ideal of the gallant general. Mounted upon a superb black horse, with his head thrown back and his great black eyes flashing fire, he was every where upon the field, seeing all things and giuing commands in person."

movements, they received much credence. An orderly came dashing down the road in search of General Reynolds and almost breathlessly informed him, there were 'forty thousand rebels coming down upon us'. 1 Forty thousand old fools', replied the General, "go back to where you came from'."

Reynolds' brigade was assigned to V Corps in the Peninsula campaign where he, along with his adjutant, was surprised and captured on the night of 27 June 1862. Exchanged on 8 August, he was given command of the 3rd Division of Pennsylvania Reserves in the Second Bull Run (Manassas) campaign. During the Anuetam campaign he commanded Pennsylvania militia, and he received command of I Corps of the Army of the Potomac before Fredericksburg (December 1862), at which battle he distinguished himself by his energy and courage.

On 29 November 1862 he was named a major-general of vol un lee is. Declining to accept command of the Army of the Potomac to replace Hooker, he was appointed by the army's new commander, George Meade, to command the first three corps on the field ai Gettysburg. Charles Wainwright noted in his diary: "General Reynolds told me today that tile command of this army was offered to him when lie was summoned up to Washington a mouth ago; but he refused it, because, to use his own expression, 'he was unwilling to take Burnside and Hooker s leavings'."

While bringing up the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry to help hold the line at Gettysburg, Reynolds was shot and killed instantly by a Confederate infantryman in a barn on the edge of nearby woodland. He was buried in the main burial plot at Lancaster, only 5(J miles away from Gettysburg. He had fallen without receiving a presentation sword, with a blade of the finest Damascus steel, a black onyx grip set with the initials "J.F.R." in diamonds, and a scabbard of pure gold, which had been acquired earlier without a chance for a formal presentation ceremony. The scabbard was engraved, "Presented to Major-general John F. Reynolds, by the enlisted men of the First, Second, Fifth and Eighth regiments of the First Brigade of Pennsylvania, in testimony of their love and admiration. Medianicsvilie, June 26th, 1862." The sword was finally presented to Reynolds' sister.

OPPOSITE Two locals point to the spot on the Gettysburg field where John Reynolds was mortally wounded on 1 July 1863. Union skirmishers were posted along the cornfield in the background; when Reynolds rode In that direction to reconnoiter, he was shot by a Confederate marksman from the edge of the woods.

RICKETTS, James Brewerton (1817-67)

fames Ricketts was a native of New York City, born on 21 June 1817 into an old family which had settled in New Jersey in the early colonial period, in 1835 he was appointed to West Point, graduating in 1839. Ricketts was torn missioned a second lieutenant in the 1st US Artillery and sent to the Canadian frontier. In 1840 he married Harriet Josephine Pierce, who died young, leaving the widowed lieutenant to care for a child. In the Mexican War his artillery battery was assigned to the army tinder Maj.Gen. Zachary Taylor, fighting at Monterey (20-24 September 1846) and Buena Vista (22-23 February 1847). After the war he was sent to Florida, where he was promoted captain on 3 August 1852. He married Francis Lawrence in 1856; they eventually had five children, of whom onlv two would grow to adulthood.

The outbreak of the Civil War would find Ricketts as senior captain in the 1st Artillery in command of Company I, which was overrun at First Bull Run i Manassas) on 21 July 1861; badly wounded in the leg, he was taken prisoner. He was exchanged on 20 December and, after leave to

Civil War James Ricketts

James Ricketts, who as an artillery lieutenant in the 1640s had been Jeft a widower with a small child. He remarried in 1656, and the second Mrs Ricketts - no beauty, and taller than her husband - seems to have taken to army life admirably. The diarist Marsena Patrick, who had known Ricketts from 1835 when they were both at West Point, recorded meeting her In camp in October 1862; "Mrs R. read to me her report of the 2nd Suit Run. She came on here to write it for her husband. She says that from the time she was married, she has always made out his Muster Rolls & Reports...

recuperate, on 30 April 1862 he returned to duty and was assigned lo command a brigade in the Army of the Rappahannock, being commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers to rank from 21 July 1862.

On 10 June, Ricketis was named to command the 2nd Division in 111 Corps, and fought at Cedar Mountain (9 August), Second Bull Run (Manassas - 29-30 August), and Antietam (17 September) -there is some disagreement as to whether or not he was wounded there. At any rate, he left his command on 4 October !862 and went to Washington, where he served on various commissions and courts-martial until 4 April 1864.

Ricketts was ihen given command of the 3rd Division, VI Corps; he was offered corps command on John Sedgwick's death but he turned it down, saying that Sedgwick had wanted one of the other divisional commanders to succeed him. The corps was sent to help defend Washington during "Early's Raid", and Ricketts^ division fought on the Monocacy River. For his part in the battle, on 1 August 1864 he was commissioned a major-general of volunteers, VI Corps went on to serve in Philip Sheridan's Valley campaign thereafter, and Ricketts was commanding it at Cedar Creek (19 October 1864) when he was badly wounded in ihe chest and right shoulder. He returned to duty on 7 April 1865, just two days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox,

After the war Ricketts reverted to the rank of major, retiring in January 1867. However, he was so much admired that he continued to serve on courts-martial until 1869. Suffering greatly from the effects of his old wounds, he died on 22 September 1887, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery,

SCOTT, Winfield (1786-1866)

Winfield Scott (see Plate Al) was rjuite possibly the greatest soldier the United States ever produced; he had the bad I tick, however, to fight in the country's minor wars rather than her major ones. He was born near Petersburg, Virginia, on 13 June 1786, but was orphaned at an early age. He was graduated from William and Mary in 1804 and then studied law. However, rather than practice, he accepted an artillery captain's commission in 1808. He became a lieutenant-colonel in 1812 and adjutant general, ranking as a colonel, in March 1813.

During the War of 1812 he was captured by the British at Queens town Heights but soon exchanged. Colonel Scott was badly burned in the magazine explosion at Fort George on 27 May 1813 - an operation which he commanded in co-operation with Cdre. Oliver H.Perry. Recovering, Scott became a brigadier-general in early 1814, and won the battle of Chippewa (5 July 1814). He was made a major-general at the end of the war.

After the war Sam traveled in Europe for a time; he prepared military manuals, served in wars with the Seminoles and (Greeks, and removed the Gherokees from Georgia, in 1841 he was named general-in-chief of ihe armies of the United States. Politically Scott was a Whig, and when war with Mexico broke out in 1846 the then-President, Polk, did not want to give him anv opportunity to win a victory that might make him a presidential candidate. However, fearing that Zachary Taylor was winning jusi such victories on the Mexican border, he did finally let Scott command a field army. Scott's landings ai Vera Cruz (March 1847) opened a masterly six-month campaign during which he drove west from the coast, captured Mexico City against great odds (14 September 1847), and brought the war to a victorious end. Thereafter Scott was indeed nominated as the Whig presidential candidate in 1852, but lost the election. In 1859 he was the United States commissioner who successfully settled a border dispute between the United States and Britain concerning the Canadian border.

The senior ranks of the pre-war army were characterized by extreme old age, and when the Civil War broke out Scott was well past his prime. Nonetheless, his military mind was still sharp. He wrote to the new administration's Secretary of State on 3 March 1861 that t he seceding states could be conquered, but it would take "two or three years, a young and able general - a Wolfe, a Dessaix, or a 1 loche - with three hundred thousand disciplined men (kept up to that number), estimating a third for garrison, and the loss of a yet greater number by skirmishes, sieges, battles, and Southern f evers. The destruction of life and property on the other side would be frightful - however perfect the moral discipline of the invaders." At this time Scott was virtually the only individual on the continent who foresaw what such a war would entail; most leaders predicted a short fight with little cost.

However, since it was determined that the Federal government would fight to keep the country together, Scott drew up a plan to win the war. This called for a naval blockade of Southern ports, an army drive to open the Mississippi to split the Confederacy in half, and then the crushing of the rebellion piecemeal. This appreciation, called the "Anaconda Plan", eventually formed the basis of the Federal war effort and. indeed, won the war.

On 30 December 1860, Scott had written to President Buchanan an apology for sending a note with ideas on the national crisis, Adding, "It is Sunday* the weather is bad, and General Scott [he habitually referred to himself in the third person] is not well enough even to go to church." Finally, he wrote in his memoirs: "A cripple, unable to walk without assistance for three vears, Scott, on retiring from all military

British Navy Line Officer 1860

When the Civil War broke out the US Army had only four line officers of general rank: Winfield Scott (illustrated), David E.TWigg, John E.Wool, and William S.Harney. The last named was the only one under 70 years of age, and the only one who had not fought in the War of 1312. Winfield Scott had been directly commissioned into the army by President Jefferson in 1806, and had earned his first general's star in the War of 1612. When the Civil War broke out he had already been the army's commanding general for 20 years.

Camp Tippecanoe Civil War

Scott and his staff in full dress. By 1861 he was 74 years old, grossly fat, and infirm to the point of being unable to ride and hardly able to walk. Nevertheless, the aged victor of Chippewa, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco and Chapultepec designed the strategy that eventually won the Civil War, Possibly America's greatest soldier, Scott lived to see Union victory before dying at West Point in 1866.

Scott and his staff in full dress. By 1861 he was 74 years old, grossly fat, and infirm to the point of being unable to ride and hardly able to walk. Nevertheless, the aged victor of Chippewa, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco and Chapultepec designed the strategy that eventually won the Civil War, Possibly America's greatest soldier, Scott lived to see Union victory before dying at West Point in 1866.

duty, October 31, 1861 - being broken down by official labors of from nine to seventeen hours a day, with a decided tendency to vertigo and dropsy, I had the honor to he waited on by President Lincoln, at the head of his Cabinet, who, in a neat and affecting address, took leave of the worn-out soldier." After retirement VVinfield Scott went abroad for a short time before settling at West Point, where he died on 29 May 1K66, having lived long enough to see victory achieved more or less as he had predicted. He lies in the Post Cemetery at the Academy.

SEDGWICK, John (1613-64)

John Sedgwick (see Plate H2) was born ai Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut, on 13 September 1813, After early education at a local school and Sharon Academy he went to West Point, where he was graduated in 1837. Thereafter he fought against the Seminoles and participated in the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia. During the Mexican War he served under both Zachary Taylor and V\ infield Scott, winning brevets as captain and major.

In 1855 Sedgwick was named major of the new 1st US Cavalry, under Col. Robert E.Lee. When his two immediate superiors resigned to join the Confederate Army in 1861 Sedgwick became the regiment's senior officer. He was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on 31 August 1861, commanding a division in 11 Corps in the Peninsula campaign, where he was badly wounded at Glendale (30 June 1862). Promoted to major-general of volunteers on 4 July 1862, he returned to fight at Antietam (17 September), where he was wounded three times and carried unconscious from the field.

Senior Reserve Photo Confederate

Recovering after only three months, lie returned to command IX Corps for a short time before being switched to VI Corps. Sedgwick was then discussed as a potential commander of the Army of the Potomac. On 28 April 1863 Mat sena Patrick confided in his diary; "Sedgwick, I fear, is not enough of a General for that position - He is a good honest fellow & that is all. 1 do not think his officers have much confidence in him."

Sedgwick served at Chan eel lorsville (1-6 May 1863), but his corps was largely in reserve at Gettysburg (1-3 July 1863), In November 1863 he was given temporary command of both VI and V Corps for an operation in which they captured some 1,700 prisoners, eight fla^s, and four cannon at Rappahannock Bridge. His corps fought well in the W ilderness {5-6 May 1864). On 9 May, at Spotsylvania, he was warned against exposing himself while posting his troops. His famous reply was, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance" - a remark followed immediately by the thud of a bullet hitting him below the left eye and killing him almost instantly. He was buried in Cornwall Hollow. Grant later wrote of him:

'Sedgwick was killed at Spotsylvania before 1 had an opportunity of forming an estimate of his qualifications as a soldier from personal observation. 1 had known him in Mexico when both of us were lieutenants, and when our service gave no indication that either of us would ever be equal to the command of a brigade. He stood very high in the army, however, as an officer and a man. lie was brave and conscientious. His ambition was not great, and he seemed to dread responsibility. He was willing to do any amount of battling, but always wanted some one else to direct.

John Sedgwick, standing at the center of the bottom step with his hand tucked into his coat, seems never to have desired independent command, but was rapidly promoted to lead a corps In the Peninsula campaign and at Antietam. Frank Haskell wrote: "Sedgwick is guile a heavy man, short, thick-set and muscular, with florid complexion, dark, calm, straight-looking eyes, with full, heavyish features, which, with his eyes, have plenty of animation when he is aroused. He has a magnificent profile, welt cut, with the nose and forehead forming almost a straight line, curly, short, chestnut hair and full beard, cut short, with a little gray in it- He dresses carelessly, but can look magnificently when he is well dressed. Like Meade, he looks and is, honest and modest. You might see at once, why hfs men, because they love him, call him 'Uncle John", not to his face, of course, but among themselves."

Was this article helpful?

0 0
The Power Of Charisma

The Power Of Charisma

You knowthere's something about you I like. I can't put my finger on it and it's not just the fact that you will download this ebook but there's something about you that makes you attractive.

Get My Free Ebook


  • Artemia
    Where is the presentation sword for john reynolds?
    7 years ago

Post a comment