Reynolds: Great Corps Commander or Famous for dying at Gettysburg?

mofederal

Major
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
I believe Reynolds was a great Corps commander. He was a fighter and he was competent, and he was very confident. He fought well on almost every battle he fought in, and above all he was both dependable and reliable. He took risks, and his audacity cost him his life at Gettysburg. Given three options by Meade, he quickly decided it would be best to choose the riskiest option, to trade his men's lives for time, and screen the enemy from the key terrain of Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top and Culp's Hill, and the road network that brought the rest of the Army to the field. He chose the ground for the battle, and he helped to secure the victory with the sacrifice of the 1st and 11th Corps in the early stages of the battle. While others won the battle, he secured the ground, thus forcing Lee to fight on ground not of his choosing. Most importantly about Reynolds was that he was not public with his politics nor with his opinions of other officers in the Army, a very rare trait in a political Army.
 

dlavin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
North Balt Co., MD
Reynolds reputation benefits from being killed. He was a solid commander in an overall average command team. Wasn’t he captured earlier in the war? His lure is sorta like other generals killed, based more on what coulda been than what was
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Getting killed in battle always helps ones reputation as a leader of men. Reynolds was good, made a critical key decision at Gettysburg and then got killed. Given some of the AoP commanders 1861-1863 it was easy to look good.
Good point about the effect of being KIA/MW on a reputation. I also think that Reynolds gets full credit for the decision on July 1 when Buford should certainly share in it. I also think that too much weight is placed on deciding to defend higher ground/obviously good defensive ground. It's only a small exaggeration to say that a subaltern fresh out of West Point should have been able to see the positives of the ground at Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, or Malvern Hill. Speaking of Fredericksburg, that was Reynolds' only "full game" at this command level. He grades out at "C" - at best - IMHO. Had he acted more efficiently and decisively, the attack on the Union left may have completed its initial success. In hockey terms, he might have been another guy who "looks good getting off the bus". (It wasn't his fault that he had no real chance to prove himself at Chancellorsville)
 

Jamieva

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Location
Midlothian, VA
Reynolds reputation benefits from being killed. He was a solid commander in an overall average command team. Wasn’t he captured earlier in the war? His lure is sorta like other generals killed, based more on what coulda been than what was
Yes captured after Gaines Mill. He fell asleep and his command left him there. When he woke up he was surrounded by Confederates
 

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