William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
John P. Reynolds Journal, 1861
James S. Schoff Civil War CollectionFinding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, January 1992
John P. Reynolds journal
Reynolds, John P., b. ca. 1841
John P. Reynolds, Jr., was 19 years old when he enlisted in the Salem Light Infantry, one of the first units to respond to Lincoln's call for volunteers in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War. His journal provides an account of life in the army during the opening states of the war, and includes long, detailed passages describing drills, parades, ceremonies and celebrations, and the ways in which soldiers chose to entertain themselves.
The material is in English.
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open to research.
Copyright status is unknown.
John P. Reynolds Journal, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Reynolds, John P., b. ca. 1841
Rank : Corporal
Regiment : 8th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Salem Zouaves). Co. I (1861)
Service : 1861 April 15-August 1
John P. Reynolds, Jr., was a 19 year old corporal from Salem who enlisted in the Salem Light Infantry during the Civil War. After the Zouaves mustered out, Reynolds enlisted in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry, a three-year regiment, and took part in most of the great battles fought by the Army of the Potomac in 1862 and '63. He rose to the rank of Captain before being discharged due to wounds in November, 1863.
The Salem Light Infantry, also known as the Salem Zouaves, was among the first units to respond to Lincoln's call for volunteers in 1861. On April 18th, just three days after Lincoln's call, the regiment left Massachusetts and was deployed at Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C. The Zouaves were attached as Company I of the 8th Massachusetts Regiment (the "Minute Men"), under the command of Captain Arthur F. Devereux, son of a former Adjutant General of the state, George H. Devereux. The Zouaves were formally mustered into the U.S. service as a three months regiment on April 30th and during the three months' campaign, they served at Annapolis, guarding the U.S.S. Constitution, at Relay House, Md. (May 11-June 26), and at Baltimore (June 26-July 29).
Collection Scope and Content Note
John P. Reynolds' journal is an unusually literate and well-written account of life in the army during the opening stages of the Civil War, and includes long, detailed passages describing drills, parades, ceremonies and celebrations, and the ways in which soldiers chose to entertain themselves. It is an example of a superb Civil War journal containing almost no reference to military activity. While nostalgically reviewing the events since the unit was called, Reynolds himself noted that "the pastimes we had experienced...combined together presented more the aspect of a pleasure excursion or mammoth pic-nic, than a military campaign during the period of actual warfare" (p. 90).
Particularly noteworthy descriptions include those of the camp at Relay House, of particular drills, flag-raising ceremonies, and of celebrations of the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill and of the Fourth of July. Reynolds is at his best when recounting an operation on July 3rd to capture a Rebel recruiter, Samuel Ogle Tilghman, at his home on the coast. Though no shots were fired, the atmosphere Reynolds sets provides a strong sense of what it must have been like for a young soldier on patrol. Tilghman was released on parole of honor just two weeks later, on July 26, 1861.
The Reynolds journal appears to be the second and only surviving part of a series that probably originally contained three volumes. The first covering muster to June 6, 1861, the third, from July 14th to mustering out on August 1st.
- United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1864)
- United States. Army--Inspection.
- United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
- United States. Army--Military life.
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music.
- Maryland--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- Baltimore (Md.)--Description and travel.
- Drill and minor tactics.
- Guard duty.
- Military discipline.
- Tilghman, Samuel Ogle.
Additional Descriptive Data
Nason, George W. Minute Men of '61. Boston, Smith & McCance, 1910. pp. 246-252.
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, ser. 2, vol. 2: 36, 226.
African Americans.Amicicide (Military Science)Amusements.
"Anvil chorus".Baltimore (Md.)--Description and travel."Baltimore Joe".Blood Tubs.Blood-letting.Bunker Hill, Battle of, 1775--Anniversaries, etc.Butler, Benjamin F. (1818-1893)Camp life.Camps (Military)--Relocation.Cookery, Military.Devereux, Arthur Forrester, 1838-1906.Devereux, George H.Dinners and dining.Drill and minor tactics.
- p. 39, 46, 61-63, 73-74, 98
Elections--Maryland--Baltimore.Fighting.Flag raising.Flags.Food fights.Football.Foraging.Fourth of July--Maryland--Baltimore.Franklin Falls (Md.)Grafitti.Guard duty."Hacker".Hinks, Col.Hotels, taverns, etc.--Maryland.Marches--Maryland--Baltimore.Military discipline.
- pp. 4-5, 25, 118-119, 184, 218-219
Nail factories--Maryland.Parades (Military)Photographers.Plug Uglies.Punishment.Railroads--Maryland--Baltimore.Religious gatherings.Rullman's Bellevue Gardens (Baltimore, Md.)Soldiers' cameradery.Soldiers--Religious life.Stuart, J. E. B. (1833-1864)--Homes and haunts.Swimming.
- pp. 85-86, 93-94, 233-234
Tents.Tilghman, Samuel Ogle.Uniforms.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Civilians--Maryland--Baltimore.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Songs and music.
- pp. 53-54, 194-195, 216-217
United States. Army--Barracks and quarters.United States. Army--Inspection.United States. Army--New York Infantry Regiment, 7th.United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.Washington Monument (Baltimore, Md.)Weddings.Wife abuse.Wildes, Rev.Women--Maryland.Zouaves.
- p. 29, 49-50, 52, 98, 175-176, 180-183, 186, 190-191