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Henry T. Reynolds letter

Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C., 1864

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Henry T. Reynolds letter (MSS SC 438). Reynolds wrote this letter in 1862 during the Civil War while stationed at Fort Good Hope, also known as Fort Wagner, in southeast Washington, D.C., to his uncle, Matthew Taylor, in Washington, Pennsylvania. The letter is written on printed stationary of the Pennsylvania Volunteers and mentions the gunboat USS Pensacola traveling down the Potomac, camp conditions, the death of Matthew Luis and why part of the letter is in pencil. The letter, dated January 13, 1862, was written during the defense of Washington, D.C., the initial duty for which the 85th Pennsylvania Infantry was asked to render.

USS Pensacola, Alexandria, Virginia, 1861

The 85th Pennsylvania Infantry was organized at Uniontown, Pennsylvania beginning October 16, 1861 and mustered in for a three-year enlistment under the command of Colonel Joshua B. Howell. After defending Washington, D.C. until March 1862, this unit was involved in several battles over the next two to three years, including the following: Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Williamsburg, Battle of Seven Pines, Seven Days Battles, Battle of Kinston, Battle of White Hall, Battle of Goldsboro Bridge, Second Battle of Fort Wagner, Second Battle of Charleston Harbor, Bermuda Hundred Campaign, Second Battle of Deep Bottom, Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, Battle of Darbytown and New Market Roads, Battle of Fair Oaks & Darbytown Road.


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