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.
Return to Biography Index