Managing Member & Webmaster
- Apr 1, 1999
- Martinsburg, WV
Charles Wellington Reed was a gifted artist who could capture the everyday life of a Civil War army camp. A Boston native, he enlisted in the 9th Massachusetts Light Artillery as a bugler on the 2nd of August, 1862. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in saving the life of his Captain, John Bigelow on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Reed also fought at the Battles of the Wilderness, as well as Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. In letters to his family, Reed recorded a number of inspired drawings and sketches of his wartime experiences. His enthusiasm for drawing led to a post-war career as an artist, illustrating publications like Hardtack and Coffee in 1887, and other Civil War media.
Service/Branch: United States Army
Entered Service: August 2, 1862
Unit: 9th Massachusetts Battery
Rank: Bugler (highest rank: Chief Bugler)
Discharged: June 1865
Service Notes: In Nov 1863 he broke his left hand, temporarily impacting ability to write and draw (Reed was left-handed). In November of 1864 he was detailed to the Topographical Engineers, Fifth Army Corps, as an assistant topographical engineer.
Reed's sketch of the 9th Mass. Battery moving into its first action, July 2, 1863. (LOC Image)
Location of Action: Wheatfield Road, Gettysburg, PA
Date of Action: July 2, 1863
Date Award Issued: August 16, 1895
Citation: Rescued his wounded captain from between the lines.
Birthdate: April 1, 1841
Birthplace: Charlestown, Massachusetts
Parents: Joseph and Roxanna Reed
His great-grandfather Swithin Reed immigrated to America in 1740
His grandfather Isaac Richardson had been wounded at the Battle of Lexington during the American Revolution
His father had served during the Mexican War
Prewar Career: illustrator/lithographer
Spouse: Married Rebecca Farwell (1843-1919)
Postwar Career: Liquor and wine store operator, Civil War artist and illustrator
Died: April 29, 1926 in Norwell, Massachusetts, he was 84 years old.
Buried: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
For a clearer picture of Reed's Bravery and Gallentry, please read the Essay:
WE SAVED THE LINE FROM BEING BROKEN:
by Eric Campbell