John Reynolds and the Maryland Campaign

John Reynolds

Check out a new group of quotes on Union Major General John Reynolds here.  Reynolds, would be killed nine months after the battle of Antietam on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Reynolds, much to his disgust and that of his corps commander Joseph Hooker was detached from command of the Pennyslvania Reserve Division and sent to Pennsylvania to organize the Pennsylvania Emergency Militia who were being raised against a feared attack into Pennsylvania.  John Curtin, the powerful Pennsylvania governor asked the War Department Reynolds by name to command this militia. Here is the terse message exchange between General Halleck and General McClellan regarding this assignment.  Never known for being at a loss for words, see General Hooker’s reaction to the reassignment.  Reynolds’ division was part of his corps.  All correspondence is taken from the Official Records, Volume 19, Part II.


WASHINGTON D.C., September 11, 1862 (Sent 10.20)

Major-General McClellan

The Governor of Pennsylvania wishes the services of General Reynolds. Can you order him here for that purpose? H.W. Halleck, General-in-Chief


Headquarters, Army of the Potomac

ROCKVILLE, MD., September 11, 1862 (10.45 a.m.)

Maj. Gen. H.W. Halleck, General in Chief:

General Reynolds is now engaged in important service, supporting with his division an attack on New Market. He has one of he best divisions, and is well acquainted with it. I cannot see how his services can be spared at the present time.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN, Major-General


WASHINGTON D.C., September 11, 1862 (Sent 1.55 p.m.)

Major-General McClellan, Rockville, Md.:

General Reynold’s division can be commanded by some one else. He has been designated for other duty, and must report here immediately.

H.W. Halleck, General-in-Chief


Headquarters, Army of the Potomac

MIDDLEBROOK, MD., September 11, 1862

Maj. Gen. H.W. Halleck, General in Chief:

I have ordered General Reynolds to report to Governor Curtin at the earliest practicable moment.  He is now about 25 miles from here. He will probably not be able to start before morning.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN, Major-General


Hdqrs, Third Corps, Army of Virginia

Ridgeville, Md., September 12, 1862

Brig. Gen. S. Williams, Assistant Adjutant General:

I have just been shown an order relieving Brigadier-General Reynolds from command of a division in my corps. I request that the major-general commding will not heed this order; a scared Governor ought not to be permitted to destroy the usefulness of an entire division of the army, on the eve of important operations.

General Reynolds commands a division of Pennsylvania troops of not the best character; is well known to them, and I have no officer to fill his place.

It is satisfactory in my mind that the rebels have no more intention of going to Harrisburg than they have of going to heaven.

It is only in the United States that atrocities like this are entertained.


Major-General, Commanding Corps.


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