Charles W. Reynolds,  Corporal,

      Wounded Chancellorsvile,  Carried the Colors at Gettysburg,                                                       POW at Cold Harbor

Charles Reynolds- enlisted 12 Oct 1861 from Newmarket at age 21 as a Private in Company K, 5th NH Infantry.  He was Promoted to Full Corporal 15 May 1862.  Wounded May 1863 at  Chancellorsville, he recovered to join the battle and carry the Colors at Gettysburg.  After surviving Gettysburg,  he was captured 3 Jun 1864 at the disaterous Battle of Cold Harbor.  He remained a Prisoner of War until later exchanged  on 14 Dec 1864.   He mustered out 22 Feb  1865 at Concord.

(photo: General Stonewall Jackson approaching Chancellorsville) 

Born 9 May 1840 in Durham to Stephen and Sarah (Garland) Reynolds where he learned the trade of cordwainer (shoe maker).  He had moved to Newmarket before the war and returned to town and his occupation after he mustered out.  He married Elizabeth Smallidge 20 Dec 1866.  In the 1880 Census, he was living with the John Davis family and his personal wealth was listed at  $60.

He later moved to Detroit, Michigan working as a shoemaker.   He and his wife had two children, Cora and  George both born in Michigan.  Also in the household were two boarders: Jasper Davis, a shoemaker and  Albert Winslow. working in a shoe shop and both men were born in NH.   Jasper  was born in 1859 to John Davis, with whom Charles lived in 1880.  By  the 1900 Charles was 60 years old and still working as a shoemaker.  He and Elizabeth moved to the City of Corunna, Shawnee County, Michigan. 

 (photo - Currier and Ives print, Battle of Gettysburg)


Battle of Gettysburg – 1863 

“The Regiment and it’s foes were no more than a stone’s throw apart as Colonel Cross approached Hapgood to begin the Brigade’s attack.  The regiment was already taking casualties in the smoky, crackling woods.  As always, the colors drew heavy fire and the color Sergeant, Sampson Townsend, was shot in the right thigh.  He passed the flag to Corporal Charles Reynolds and staggered to the rear.  Sergeant George Gove was  struck in the right shoulder and also made his way to the rear, his face white and his blue shirt dark with blood.”

(source:… page 239  My Brave Boys to War with Colonel Cross and the Fighting Fifth.   By Mike Pride and Mark Travis,  University Press of New England, Hanover, NH, 2001)


Battle at Cold Harbor

“Forty thousand Union troops charged out of the woods at Cold Harbor, Virginia, into a spray of Confederate fire. Attackers fell by the hundreds as they approached the enemy entrenchments. The effort quickly proved hopeless, but the troops remained in the field. For the next nine hours of June 3, 1864, Union soldiers hugged the ground, digging in as well as they could. Many of them used the bodies of fallen comrades for protection while attempting to answer the Confederate fire. Union commanders repeatedly ordered their men to renew the assault, but the soldiers refused to budge. Finally Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant called off the attack.

(photo: burial detail at Cold Harbor)

“For the Union soldiers, the true horror of Cold Harbor was only beginning when Grant called off the disastrous nine-hour assault.  As the survivors crawled back to their trenches or dug new fortifications, thousands of wounded soldiers remained on the battlefield, crying out for help. Attempts to reach them almost certainly met death”,   Captain Holmes wrote home on June 4, “sharpshooters put a bullet wherever you show a head.  For two days after the battle, Grant made no attempt to propose a truce or to otherwise make provisions for the wounded Union soldiers dying between the battle lines. Tradition held that the first commander to ask the enemy’s permission to bring in wounded was the loser, and Grant would not admit losing.

(photo: Genral Ulysses S. Grant at Cold Harbor)

“Grant finally opened correspondence with Lee on June 5, informing him that wounded men,  probably of both armies, lay exposed and suffering between the lines, and that for humanity’s sake, unarmed stretcher-bearers should be sent to pick up the dead and wounded.  Lee agreed but wanted a flag of truce to be accepted first.  Grant did not give in to Lee’s demand until the next day, June 7, a full four days after the men had fallen.  In the meantime, Grant would admit in his memoirs,  ”all but two of the wounded had died.”

CHARLES REYNOLDS OBITUARY - printed Newmarket Advertiser, July 1909

The Detroit Free Dress of July 9, 1909 contains a notice of the death of Charles Reynolds in that city on July 8th. It will be found of interest to this vicinity, as he was born in Durham in 1840, and was resident of Newmarket when he enlisted In the New Hampshire Fifth Regiment, Oct. 12, 1861, serving in it through all the campaigns until his discharge May 29, 1895.  He was Corporal of his company and a brave soldier always. After the war he went to Michigan where he continued to reside until his death. Mr. Reynolds was one of  a large family of whom the following survive:  James A. and John T. in Dover; George A. of Milford, MA; and Stephen H. of Boston; also the following sisters in Dover: Mrs. Everitt Hall, Mrs. J. Frank Berry and Miss Sarah Reynolds.

Detroit Free Press says:   “Charlie” Reynolds; who had borne the colors of Detroit Post No.384, G.A.R. for more than 15 years, has laid aside his sword, and met the conqueror in a last grim battle, and  been vanquished.  Death early yesterday morning enrolled the name of Charles W. Reynolds on the ever growing list of Civil War veterans who have “gone before.”  When the silvery haired veteran of Detroit Post march forth again to do honor to some comrade who has made his last salute, the flag so often unfurled over their heads will droop somewhat lower, for there is no one in the post who can hold the emblem as high as did “Charlie” Reynolds—the six foot, four giant who for over a dozen years. with the flag of his country attached to his belt, proudly marched through the streets of Detroit when the post turned out.

Reynolds record as Civil War veteran is sufficiently told when it is said he was a member of the color guard of the Fifth New Hampshire regiment—the regiment which lost more men in killed and wounded than any other of the Union army in the Civil war.  After he had completed his task for the union, having marched through many campaigns with the flag flying over his head, Reynolds came to Detroit.  Since then he had been active in business circles, and always, one of the leading figures in Grand Army circle in Detroit.  Ten days ago he was compelled to retire to his bed. The heart of the old soldier had become weak mid several bad spells aggravated his illness. The end came about 2o’clock yesterday morning in the family home (289 Melbourne Avenue). When the body is carried to Woodmere cemetery, Saturday afternoon, Detroit Post, with the colors he had carried, will be waiting.  His comrades will conduct his funeral services and a bugler will sound “taps” over his grave.  Other services will Lake place at the family residence at 2 o’clock Saturday afternoon. Besides the Widow, one son, George E. Reynolds of Oakland, Cal. and one daughter Mrs. W.H. Cooley of Detroit survive.

(article by David E. Long and originally published in the June 1997 issue of Civil War Times Magazine)