Joseph J. Reynolds

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For the War of 1812 general with a similar name, see Joseph Reynolds (Congressman).
Joseph Jones Reynolds
John J. Reynolds cph.3b20677.jpg
J. J. Reynolds
Born (1822-01-04)January 4, 1822
Flemingsburg, Kentucky
Died February 25, 1899(1899-02-25) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1843–1857, 1861–1877
Rank Union army maj gen rank insignia.jpg Major General (USV)
Commands held XIX Corps
VII Corps
Army of Arkansas
Battles/wars American Civil War
Indian Wars

Joseph Jones Reynolds (January 4, 1822 – February 25, 1899) was an American engineer, educator, and military officer who fought in the American Civil War and the postbellum Indian Wars.

Early life and career[edit]

Reynolds was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. He briefly attended Wabash College before he received an appointment in 1839 to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. After graduating tenth of thirty-nine cadets in the Class of 1843, Reynolds was brevetted as a second lieutenant and initially assigned to the 4th U.S. Artillery.

He successively served at Fort Monroe in Virginia, Carlisle Barracks in central Pennsylvania, and then in Zachary Taylor's occupation army in Texas in 1845 before returning to the academy as assistant professor in 1846. On December 3 of that same year, he married Mary Elizabeth Bainbridge.

He left West Point in 1857 and subsequently returned to frontier duty, this time in the Indian Territory. He resigned his army commission and taught engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, for a time.

In 1860, he moved to the state of Indiana, where he owned a grocery business with one of his brothers.

American Civil War[edit]

After receiving a colonel's commission from Governor Oliver P. Morton, Reynolds was placed in command of Indiana's Camp Morton, the wartime state's militia muster encampment at Indianapolis. Reynolds's 10th Indiana Volunteer regiment was sent to western Virginia, where it played a decisive role repulsing Confederates under Robert E. Lee at Cheat Mountain.

Although promoted to brigadier general, Reynolds resigned in January 1862 and resumed training Indiana regiments at Camp Morton until November 1862 without a commission. Retroactively appointed colonel of the 75th Indiana volunteers, brigadier general with orders to build a depot and field works in Carthage, Tennessee, and then major general of U.S. volunteers, Reynolds commanded a division of XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, at Hoover's Gap and Chickamauga.

After serving as the army's chief of staff before Chattanooga, Reynolds was transferred to the Gulf of Mexico, where he led a division of XIX Corps that garrisoned New Orleans, Louisiana. He was later promoted to the command of the XIX Corps, and then commanded VII Corps in Arkansas.

He was the brother-in law of Brevet Brigadier General Jules C. Webber.

Postbellum career[edit]

After the war, Reynolds remained in the regular army as colonel of the 26th U.S. Infantry and was assigned command of the Department of Arkansas. He later was transferred to duty in Texas during Reconstruction, replacing Charles Griffin in charge of the Department of Texas {5th Military District}. When military rule in Texas ceased in 1870, Reynolds again returned to frontier garrison duty.

Battle of Powder River[edit]

Colonel Reynolds fought against Native Americans on the Great Plains during the Black Hills War, of 1876-1877. At the Battle of Powder River on March 17, 1876, Joseph Reynolds, with six United States Cavalry companies attacked a village of mostly Cheyenne, and Oglala Lakota Sioux Indians. The Natives were camped on the west bank of the Powder River, in Montana Territory. Reynolds' soldiers attacked the village, but after a five hour long engagement, they withdrew about 20 miles to the south on March 17. Some of the Native Americans in the encampment were Old Bear, He Dog, Two Moon, Wooden Leg, Bear-Walks-On-A-Ridge, and Powder Face. He Dog, was riding a horse belonging to the Lakota Warrior Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse was camped about 15 miles north of the battlefield on March 17, 1876.[1]

Crook's and Reynolds's Winter campaign of March, 1876, ended in failure, and Reynolds was subsequently court-martialed with three charges. The cavalry Colonel was found guilty of all of the charges and given the sentence of suspension of rank and pay for one year's period. Joseph Reynolds resigned from the United States Army on June 25, 1877.[2]


Joseph Jones Reynolds died on February 25, 1899, in Washington, D.C., at the age of 77. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Warner, p. 398.
  2. ^ Warner, p. 398.


External links[edit]