a better example than that of Reynolds
of the wonderful effects of a West Point training upon a characteristic American mind.
Here was a lad taken from a modest family, brought up in a country town, grown into manhood at West Point
, sent to Florida
, then from point to point through the West
, slowly earning his promotion, recognized as a good soldier, and so good a disciplinarian, that even at the outbreak of the war he was appointed to duty at West Point
, and soon after assigned to the slow business of organizing one of the new regular regiments, then given a brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves, and from that moment showing himself master of the art of war, and rapidly rising to the height of every new command, of every novel duty, of every fresh demand upon his military skill and resources.
It was his brigade that first smelled powder at Drainesville; it was his division that made the stoutest resistance on the Peninsula
, and his imprisonment at Richmond
after his capture, ended only in time to find him sent to Pennsylvania
to organize and command the hasty levies of militiamen, brought together to resist the raid of 1862.
He thoroughly inspired his subordinates with his own zeal, and the men who served under him felt that unconscious and irresistible strength, which comes from a commander fully competent to his work, ready to do it with whatever forces are given him, and able to command success from every opportunity.
That task done, he led the division which, at the second Bull Run
, held its own against overwhelming odds, and helped to save the army.
His corps won the only success at Fredericksburg
, and in the operations that ended so disastrously at Chancellorsville
took a leading and always prominent part.
In all the intrigues of the army, and the interference of the politicians in its management, he silently set aside the tempting offers to take part, and served his successive commanders with unswerving loyalty and zeal and faith.
When the Gettysburg campaign
was inaugurated, he was assigned to the command of the three corps, his own, the First, Sickles
' Third and Howard
's Eleventh, and led the left wing in its rapid passage through the country that lay in front of Washington
, protecting it from the armies that moved up in the sheltered valleys, feeling them through the gaps, offering them battle, crossing the Potomac
and following and seeking to engage Lee
's forces wherever they could be found.
In the midst of this energetic and unceasing action, came the sudden order relieving Hooker
from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and it is a tradition of Reynolds
' Corps that the post was offered to him, that he made the accepting of it conditional upon being left absolutely free and untrammeled from