The Confederate attack continued on June 27 and Reynolds, exhausted from the Battle of Gaines' Mill and two days without sleep, was captured in Boatswain's Swamp, Virginia. Thinking he was in a place of relative safety, he fell asleep and was not aware that his retreating troops left him behind. He was extremely embarrassed when brought before the Confederate general of the capturing troops; D.H. Hill was an Army friend and colleague from before the war. Hill allegedly told him, "Reynolds, do not feel so bad about your capture, it is the fate of wars." Reynolds was transported to Richmond and held at Libby Prison, but was quickly exchanged on August 15 (for Lloyd Tilghman
How does the commander of a brigade get left behind as the brigade retreats? Who in the brigade ordered the retreat? Where were his aides? I was unable to find very little written about my questions. Had I been Reynolds upon my release back to the army I would have hunted down the many aides and punish them for incompetence.
The act of getting left behind by your brigade as it retreats tells a tale in its self regarding the very organization of the brigade and how its commander was viewed.
Very little is written about this subject. Does anybody know aof sources to learn more?
This story is also related in Stephen Sears's, "To The Gates of Richmond" on page 252. His source is D.H, Hill's article on the battle of Gaines Mill in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol. 2 pg. 359-61. That is where I would start looking if you want to learn more. Hope that helps!
I found the original story for you. The following is from Confederate Major General DH Hill:
"The next morning General John F. Reynolds was brought in as a prisoner. He had been my messmate in the old army for more than a year, and for half that time my tent-mate. Not an unkind word had ever passed between us. General Reynolds seemed confused and mortified at his position. He sat down and covered his face With his hands, and at length said.: "Hill, we ought not to be enemies. "I told him that there was no bad feeling on my part, and that he ought not to fret at the fortunes of war, which were notoriously fickle. He was placed in my ambulance and sent over to Richmond, declining a loan of Confederate money. General Reynolds had gone to sleep in the woods between the battle-ground and the Chickahominy, and when he awoke, his troops were gone and the bridge was broken down"