Medal of Honor Monday - Charles W. Reed, Bugler to the Rescue!

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Charles Wellington Reed
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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 NOTES

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.​

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Reed's sketch of the 9th Mass. Battery moving into its first action, July 2, 1863. (LOC Image)

Charles W. Reed, LOC Photo
MEDAL OF HONOR DETAILS


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.​
PERSONAL DETAILS

Birthdate: April 1, 1841​
Birthplace: Charlestown, Massachusetts​
Parents: Joseph and Roxanna Reed​
Ancestral History:
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
 
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