Forty-two year old Union Major General John Fulton Reynolds, born only 50 miles from the Battlefield at
Gettysburg, perished as the fires of conflict he helped fan heightened July 1st, 1863. This unassuming monument quietly
honors his memory in the place where he sacrificed his life for his cause. A minie ball slammed into the back of his head
as he strove to direct the men of the First Corps' Iron Brigade in their efforts to drive the advancing Confederate soldiers
back from the grounds around the McPherson Farm. Union men rushing to his side noted that he died instantly as he fell from
his horse. Family laid to rest the much revered General on July 4th, 1863 in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Major
General Oliver Otis Howard who, once he arrived on the field, assumed command of the forces at Gettysburg, would report,
"Major-General Reynolds, a noble commander and long a personal friend, fell early in the action."
Abner Doubleday, one of Reynolds' immediate subordinate commanders, would recall, "The troops were now withdrawn to the
eastern side of the (Willoughby) run by my order, and reformed on a line with the Second Wisconsin, the Seventh Wisconsin taking
the right of the new line and the Nineteenth Indiana the left. Immediately after this, I took my position behind the left wing.
I had hardly done so when I learned, with deep sorrow, that our brave and lamented commander, Major-General Reynolds, had just
been shot, and was no more. This melancholy event occurred in the beginning of the attack referred to, about 10.15 a.m."
An officer in the 1st Corp referred to Reynolds as, "a glorious picture of the best type of
military leader." Lt. Frank Haskell of the Union Second Corps offered the following on General Reynolds.
"At about five o’clock P.M., as we were riding along at the head of the column, we met an ambulance,
accompanied by two or three mounted officers—we knew them to be staff officers of Gen. Reynolds—their
faces told plainly enough what load the vehicle carried—it was the dead body of Gen. Reynolds. Very
early in the action, while seeing personally to the formation of his lines under fire, he was shot
through the head by a musket or rifle bullet, and killed almost instantly. His death at this time
affected us much, for he was one of the soldier Generals of the army, a man whose soul was in his
country's work, which he did with a soldier's high honor and fidelity. ...He died as many a friend,
and many a foe to the country have died in this war."
Pictured here is the grave site of Major General John Fulton Reynolds in the Reynolds family plot at the Lancaster Cemetery in
Lancaster Pennsylvania. The inscription on the obelisk reads:
"JOHN FULTON REYNOLDS
Colonel of the Fifth Infantry, U.S. Army
Major General of Volunteers
Born September 21, 1820
Killed at the Battle of Gettysburg
While Commanding the
Left Wing of the Army of the Potomac
July 1, 1863"