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Family Letters - John Fulton Reynolds

John Fulton Reynolds was born in Lancaster the son of John and Lydia Moore Reynolds. He graduated from West Point in 1841 and had a distinguished military career serving in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. In 1862 he was appointed Military Governor of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was captured by the Confederate Army and held in Libby Prison. After a prisoner exchange he was given command of the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He was killed on July 1, 1863, on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

There is a collection of Reynolds Family Papers which includes these few letters that were written by John Fulton Reynolds to his sisters. The entire collection can be viewed at the source below.

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1835 2
1835 3
Long Green Academy December 10th 1835


Dear Sister,

I received your letter yesterday which I was expecting, & had written one some weeks ago but forgot to send it and James wrote last week.

James did complain a little of his being sick but I did not know anything of his eating and drinking so much for he the other day said he did not get enough to eat, but that was not so for he and all of us have plenty to eat and as to the advice you gave him in your letter he says he does not intend to mind, he has become very bad.

I was expecting you would be in Frederick by this time or else I would have written to aunt when you do go if you pass through Baltimore and stop their (sic) anytime. Any thing left at Mr. Lovell's (near the Gay St. bridge) we will get it.

I was very sorry to hear of Mother's sickness and of Harriet being so bad; hope she may soon behave better. I should like very much to spend Christmas with you all.

We have not commenced French yet but expect to commence immediately after the Christmas holyday's. We have commenced Euclid and are nearly through the 1st Book.

Give my love to all the family.

Your affectionate Brother
John F. Reynolds

Miss Lydia M. Reynolds


Miss Lydia M. Reynolds
Care of Jno. Reynolds
Lancaster, Penn.




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Fort Preble, Maine January 31st 1849


My dear Hal,

The Scarf came safely to hand to-day and is really beautiful to say nothing of its useful qualities, which have already made me the envy of the whole Garrison.

The "delay" is excused, laziness too. You really deserve a letter full of thanks. I wish you would consider this one as so, for really I do not know how else I can fill it. We are snowed up here, and have been excepting a day or so, since I returned which I did on the 15th only a few day's over my leave. I find things pretty much as I left them. Maj. Anderson and Mrs. were living in town when I arrived by came down yesterday and are now (instated?) at the Port; this will make it somewhat more pleasant than before, tho' we are dull enough. I have been to town but once since my return and then to make some purchases, furniture, &c. There have been two private parties and one public lately in town to all of which we have been invited as belonging to the "upper (tendom?)" as ______ would say, but I have not attended any as yet.

I saw by the papers the arrival of the "Alleghany" at Lisbon where I suppose Will spent his Christmas.

I am glad Jane is enjoying her visit tho' you do not say whether (Rebecca?) is still in Phila. or not; I suppose she is.

Tell Jim I rec'd his note & letter and am much obliged &c, &c. Ask him when you write again to give me the names of the Cigars he got for Robt-both kinds-which kind was the mildest-also the price of such. I wish to send to Sam. Witmer for some. We can get nothing but trash here, which to a person who smokes as much as I do is not only disagreeable but injurious. Ask Jane if she did not put a cigar can in my pocket in Phila. or ______. Thank her at once for her present for I know she must have done it.

I suppose Father has heard nothing of our Mr. Buchanan?

Give my love to all, at home, and when you write, to Lydia and all who are not. I suppose Aunt has recovered tho' you do not mention it.

Write soon again some of you, and give me all the news of Lancaster. I am sorry all your neighbors have colds. Why don't Jim recommend the water cure to them? tho' in Miss Bryan's case I object to cold water being thrown on so fair a subject. Good night.

Your loving Brother
Miss Hal. Reynolds
Lancaster, PA

Imagine the rest of this sheet filled up with-Thanks! Hal! Thanks! for the Scarf!

I think I'll follow your plan and write on note paper hereafter. Then by writing larger I think I can fill it up.



novvvvv301862 1

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Hd. qrs. 1st A.C.
Camp at Brooks Sta., Va
Nov. 30 1862


My dear Sisters,

Your letters of Nov. 1, 16, and one in August last came to me at Warrenton and on the way hither. Also Mr. Riddle came with yours of the 24 and the package of furs and gloves for which kind thoughtfulness I am much in your debt. I have not written you I believe since the removal of Gen'l McClellan. It of course was a surprise to the greater portion of the Army here but take it altogether, it created less feeling that I feared such a step would have done. I saw more of him on this march than I have seen since he has been in Com'd of the Army. Had been with him most of the time in the advance and think the step taken by the Authorities in Washington was as (unwise?) injudicious as it was uncalled for. Yet the prevailing spirit, with few exceptions, is to Obedience to the powers that be, and determine to do all that they are capable of under the New Chief, who is as noble a spirit as ever existed but who feels no doubt, in his honesty of purpose, that he is fairly qualified to carry an Army of such magnitude as this, through a campaign. Very few persons are that I know of, that is, under the circumstances. The country is not as favorable as Maryland and the enemy are now in a position where they receive supplies and reinforcements ab libitum. We will have a hard campaign of it if we undertake to advance from this point. The roads and the country itself are not favorable.

Your question about my promotion I can only answer that I have been or will be nominated to the Senate for a Major General so I have been informed by pretty good authority and have nominated my staff accordingly by request of Gen'l Burnside. It will make Capt. Kingsbury Lt. Col., Lamborn Major, and Riddle a Capt. and I will have a place for someone whom I have not yet selected as Capt. and (A.D.C.?) I have met and seen Capt. Rosengarten and like him very much from what I have seen of him. I had also in my mind Walsh Mitchell of Rush's Lancers, a Phi'an I believe also recommended by Cleus Baraclay. I have Capt. Wadsworth, a son of the Gen'l with me at present; tho' he belongs on McDowell's staff, and Maj. Sanderson, Maj. Painter, Col. Wainwright, and Lt. Col. Crane.

Your West Point trip was quite an adventure, and you are fortunate in not suffering more than you did. You ought not to have started with so little information aabout the Boats, Hotels &c. In winter, when the visiting ceases, there is but little travel to the Point. I am glad you saw the Point and Will too. I do not knowwhether he was ever there.

I do not know now but that I have answered your enquiry about the money which Mr. Evans received for the sale of the Land at Pittsburg, but I do not care about being in a hurry to invest at present prices of stock - and you may if your think Cousin Kate will accept of the enclosed to her $100 as a Christmas Present or I can send the money from here, probably in a few weeks when the paymaster appears, tho' I would rather you would do so for me, telling her that I regretted very much I did not get to Frederick when we were so near there.

The paper you refer to as abusing Seymour and myself is to be published by one Taggart who S., after the battles before Richmond, made resign. He was reinstated by Stanton on Gen'l McCall's recommendation, joined us on the March up toward Frederick and I had Burnside, who commanded the Right Wing, order him back peremptorily to Washington as utterly incompetent, and not be trusted with a Regt. let along a Brigade which he would fall in command of if he remained. That is the last we have seen or heard of Col. T. tho' I suppose from what you say he is venting his spleen in his miserable little papers. I have never seen it that I know of. While at Warrenton, Brady took several groups of the offr. at the Hdqrs. Camp. I was taken on one with Burnside sitting on the stump of a tree-and it was very good. If you can ever get a copy of it, do so. I only saw the plates. There was a group of Gen'ls alone also taken but I was not there, so was taken in this.

With much love to all at home,
Believe me
Your affectionate
Brother John F. Reynolds




Enclose bill of fare on Thanksgiving so you will see we have not yet quite gotten to the verge of Starvation. You will not be surprised when you know that the caterer for the occasion was Sanderson who formerly kept Hotel in various places in Phila, N.Y., &c., and now a Maj. and one of subsistence in the Army. It was really a grand dinner.

Yours very affectionately,



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Hd. Qrs, 1st Army Corps
May 9, 1863


My dear Sisters,

We are on the North side of the Rappahannock again-after passing from the North to the South side twice, once at our old crossing under Burnside or near there, on the extreme left of the army and then at the U.S. Ford on the extreme right 23 miles off. We did not effect much more by our crossing than to be slaughtered and to slaughter the Rebels. I think it will turn out that they got more of the spoils than did we. My Corps was very little in action and has of suffered very little; tho' I do not consider its morale improved by the operations. It is Gen'l H's intention to move again across the River at some point soon. I have not time to write more than to say this much.

Ever your affectionate Brother
John F. Reynolds



june22 1863 1
june22 1863 2

My dear sisters:-

Ellie's letter of the 15th came yesterday. The army has moved up so as to cover Washington but we have not yet been able to discover whereabouts the enemy is exactly. Our cavalry has been fighting on our flanks, but no large infantry force of the enemy has yet been discovered this side of the Blue Ridge; it is possible that Lee is yet in the Shenandoah Valley. Our cavalry drove them back yesterday to Upperville in the direction of Ashley's Gap. We may have to move up there after them by the Gaps or through Harper's Ferry, tho' it is almost impossible to say where the enemy is with any certainty. I am well, with much love to all at home and greetings to the newcomer, William R. Landis.

Sam I have not seen or heard from since he was in Washington.

Your affectionate brother,
(Signed) John F. Reynolds





Daniel Ferree (1646-?) m: Marie Warenbauer (1653-1716)

Cath. Ferree (1679-1749)m:Isaac LeFevre(1669-1751)  
Daniel Ferree (1676-1762) m: Anna Leininger (1678-?)
Samuel LeFevre (1719-1789)
Andrew Ferree (1701-1735) m: Mary Reed (1701-?)
Lydia Ferree (1731-1778)
Samuel LeFevre (1719-1789) m: Lydia Ferree (1731-1778)
Catherine Ferree LeFevre (1753-1882) m: William Reynolds (1744-1801)
John Reynolds (1787-1853) m: Lydia Moore (1792-1843)
Samuel Moore Reynolds (1814-1888)
  William Reynolds (1815-1879) (Will)  
  Jane Moore Reynolds (1817-1817)  
  Lydia Moore Reynolds (1818-1896)  
  John Fulton Reynolds (1820-1863)  
  James LeFevre Reynolds (1822-1880)  
  Mary Jane Reynolds (1824-1901) (Jane)  
  Catharine Ferree LeFevre Reynolds (1825-1900) (Kate)  
  Edward Coleman Reynolds (1827-1828)  
  Anne Elizabeth Reynolds (1827-?)  
  Edward B. Reynolds (1829-1829)  
  Harriet Summers Reynolds (1832-1898) (Hal)  
  Eleanor Reynolds (1835-1923)(Elly)  
Note: Dates are believed to be correct, however, accuracy of all dates cannot be guaranteed.