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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two teenagers who I love very much. I currently volunteer at the battlefield and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. These words often add a degree of color and character not found elsewhere in their stories. A feature of this blog is the presentation of some of these quotes. My perspective comes from a 28 year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign that fortune could have gone either way. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Friday, September 23, 2011

John Reynolds in the Maryland Campaign

John Reynolds
Check out a new group of quotes on Union Major General John Reynolds over at Antietam Voices 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.








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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
JOSEPH HOOKER,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.

4 comments:

  1. What a fascinating correspondence! Do you know where this "Ridgeville, MD" is which Hooker had his temporary headquarters in?

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  2. Having read the above message from Hooker, and comparing that with the campaign maps from Antietam on the Web (http://antietam.aotw.org/maps_campaign.php?map_date=11), I feel confident that Hooker's "Ridgeville" is that which rested on the National Road just outside Mount Airy. As a Mt. Airy resident, this is incredibly exciting to me. Thank you! If this is correct, seems they made good time in getting to Frost-town Gap by the 14th.

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  3. Dylan,
    Ridgeville is east of Frederick on I-70 past Mount Airy.
    Jim

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  4. Dylan,
    You are right. So much for the theory that McClellan was slowly plodding westward from Washington.
    Jim

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