A Civil War Biography

Alexander Welch Reynolds

Exact details of Reynolds' early life are not readily available. What is known is that he was born in April 1816 in Frederick or Clarke County, Virginia. He entered West Point on 1 July 1833 giving his age as 17 and 3 months. He graduated 35th in the class of 1838.

He was initially assigned to the 1st US Infantry as a 2nd lieutenant and was assigned to garrison duty. He saw action during the Seminole War. He was promoted to captain and assigned to the Quartermaster Department on 5 August 1847. He was dismissed from the army on 8 October 1855 when he could not explain money missing from the army accounts for which he was responsible. The facts are unclear concerning the incident but the army reinstated Reynolds on 29 March 1858 without loss of rank or seniority.

When the Civil War started Reynolds sided with the South. He was appointed a captain in the Confederate service in March 1861 and became colonel of the 50th Virginia Infantry on 10 July 1861. The US Army officially dropped Reynolds from its roles on 4 October 1861. Reynolds' regiment spent time in western Virginia before being transferred west. Reynolds first was assigned garrison duty in Knoxville, Tennessee then joined the Confederate forces holding Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was surrendered with the Vicksburg garrison on 4 July 1863 and immediately paroled. When exchanged he was promoted to brigadier general on 14 September 1863.

He commanded a brigade in Carter L. Stevenson's Division at Chattanooga and during the Atlanta campaign. Reynolds was severely wounded at New Hope Church. Following his recovery he was assigned command of the District of Northeast Georgia. He was relieved due to poor performance by William Wolford in January 1865. It is believed he was awaiting orders when the war ended.

In 1869 Reynolds, along with his wife and son Frank who was also a West Point Graduate and Confederate officer, went to Egypt. Reynolds accepted a commission of colonel in the Khedive's army. Reynolds served in various staff assignments. By 1875 he was former Confederate Major General William Wing Loring's chief of staff. Reynolds died in Alexandria, Egypt on 26 May 1876.

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