Charles Reynolds
Papers, 1851-1871

SC21216

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: See provenance note
Processed By: Kayleigh Paster, Student Assistant (University at Albany), Manuscripts & Special Collections, January 2014

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Biographical Note:

Charles Reynolds (b. 1826) served in Company L of the 2nd New York Veteran Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War from 1864 to 1865. A farmer from Chestertown, Warren County, New York, he was married to Sarah Mitchell, and they had four children: Mary, Albert, Ella, and Mark. Reynolds initially attempted to avoid being conscripted into service by hiding in Percy's Corner, South Carolina, and later at Trout River, Franklin County, New York. However, by 1864 he was stationed in New Orleans with the 2nd New York Veteran Cavalry Regiment. Reynolds was later stationed in Morganza, Louisiana and was eventually sent to the Marine Hospital and St. Louis General Hospital, both in New Orleans, for ongoing health problems. He was discharged from the 2nd New York Veteran Cavalry Regiment at the close of the war.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers consist chiefly of correspondence between Charles Reynolds and his wife, Sarah, which dates to from 1864 to 1865. Other items in the collection include letters to Reynolds from Mark Mitchell, Sarah's brother, as well as the correspondence of various members of the Reynolds and Mitchell families between 1851 and 1871.

Charles Reynolds' letters detail his experiences with the 2nd New York Veteran Cavalry Regiment. He shares information about the conditions of each of the locations where he is stationed, as well as his duties as a soldier. Reynolds also writes he has had many health problems and these afflictions have had an impact on his ability to serve. He spent time in the Marine Hospital and the St. Louis General Hospital, both located in New Orleans. Reynolds' letters contain descriptions of his experiences in both hospitals and the conditions of each.

A large part of Sarah Reynolds' correspondence with her husband focuses on his efforts to avoid conscription and her struggle to run the family farm during his absence. In many of her letters she mentions the possibility of Charles paying for a substitute to avoid being drafted into the war and even suggests joining him in hiding. She also discusses her daily life and events occurring in Chestertown, such as illnesses and deaths within the community that have taken place during her husband's absence. Some of Sarah's letters include comments written by her brother, Mark Mitchell. Mitchell's comments pertain to Charles Reynolds' efforts to avoid the draft, and reference Mitchell's own correspondence with Reynolds. The correspondence between Charles and Sarah also details economic concerns resulting from the war, such as the rising costs of food and other goods for both civilians and soldiers.

Mark Mitchell's letters to Charles Reynolds discuss Reynolds' attempts to avoid conscription. In these letters Mitchell advises Reynolds and offers to help him arrange to pay for a substitute so that he can return home to Chestertown.

The papers also include letters addressed to Charles and Sarah from family members and friends, as well as one letter addressed to Sarah's sister, Lucy, from a cousin, Rachel Landon. These letters primarily span the years before and after Reynolds' service in the war.

The letters addressed to Lucy discuss the recent illness of Rachel Landon's father and her desire for Lucy to visit. This letter also includes comments from Sarah Reynolds, Rachel Landon's husband, Jason, and Rachel's daughter, Henrietta. Sarah Reynolds apologizes for not writing recently, Henrietta asks Lucy and other family members to visit, and Jason offers aid with a grind stone to “Uncle Mitchell”. 

Lucy Mitchell's letter to her sister, Sarah, advises Sarah to focus her attention not on “school teaching” but on the pursuits of a farmer's daughter or wife. Lucy believes that Sarah had become neglectful of her household chores and that she should once again focus on things such as “raising fat poultry” and making pastry.

Sheridan W. Codman's letter to Charles Reynolds discusses recent events in the war and the politics surrounding it as well as Codman's attitude towards the draft. Codman writes that if another draft occurs he plans to move his family to Canada. Codman also discusses selling a horse and visiting Sarah Reynolds, as well as an argument he had with Mark Mitchell while he was visiting Sarah.

Rachel Landon's letter to Sarah Reynolds discusses Landon's recent visits to friends and family, her children, the activities of family members, and an illness which at first prevented Landon from finishing her letter. 

In his letter to his sister, Mark Mitchell details recent family events, such as Charles Reynolds being injured when he was stepped on by a horse. He mentions his need to buy new clothes, his workload, his plans to travel, and visits he has made. He also discusses his mother's poor health and her lack of progress in recovering, and asks Sarah to help take care of her when she can.

Provenance Note:

These papers are comprised of two series that were purchased and accessioned separately.  The first series was purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in February 1990 and was accessioned as collection number 19427. The second series was purchased in August 1995 from Carmen Valentino and was accessioned as collection number 21216.  The two series were collated in April 2009.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1

Letters: Sarah Reynolds to husband [Charles Reynolds], Chester (Town of), Warren County, N.Y., 1864 (12 items)

  1. June 22, 1864; also includes letter from Mark Mitchell
  2. July 7, 1864; also includes letter from Mark Mitchell
  3. July 17, 1864
  4. July 22, 1864
  5. July 28, 1864
  6. July 31, 1864
  7. August 16, 1864
  8. September 25, 1864
  9. November 6, 1864
  10. November 20, 1864
  11. December 11, 1864
  12. December 28, 1864
1 2

Correspondence of the Reynolds and Mitchell families, 1851-1871 (5 items)

  1. Rachel Landon to Caroline [Lucy Caroline Mitchell]; includes letters from Henrietta Landon and [Jason?] Landon, Northumberland [N.Y.], April 29, 1851
  2. [Lucy Caroline Mitchell?] to sister [Sarah Reynolds?], September 4, 1852
  3. Sheridan W. Codman to Charles [Reynolds], Pottersville, N.Y., July 18, 1864
  4. Rachel [Landon?] to cousin Sarah [Sarah Reynolds], North Greenwich [N.Y.], December 20, 1868
  5. Mark [Mitchell] to sister Sarah [Sarah Reynolds], Caldwell, N.Y., March 15, 1871
1 3

Letters: Mark Mitchell to Charley [Charles Reynolds], 1864 (4 items)

  1. [Chester, Warren County, N.Y.], July 13, 1864
  2. Chester, [Warren County],  N.Y., August 21, 1864
  3. Chestertown, [Warren County], N.Y., October 30, 1864
  4. Chestertown, [Warren County], N.Y., December 18, 1864
1 4

Letters: Charles Reynolds to wife [Sarah Reynolds], 1864-1865 (18 items) (original accession number: 19427)

  1. New Orleans, La., October 17, 1864
  2. New Orleans, La., October 21, 1864
  3. New Orleans, [La.], October 26, 1864
  4. Baton Rouge, La., October 29, 1864
  5. Morganza, La., November 7, 1864
  6. Morganzia [sic] Bend, La., November 12, 1864
  7. Morganzia [sic], [La.], November 20, 1864
  8. Morganzia [sic], [La.], November 27, 1864
  9. Morganzia [sic], La., December 7, 1864
  10. Morganzia [sic], La., December 10, 1864
  11. Morganzia [sic], La., December 13, 1864
  12. Morganzia [sic], [La.], January 6, 1865
  13. Mariene Hospital [i.e., Marine Hospital], New Orleans, La., January 29, 1865
  14. Mariene [i.e., Marine] Hospital, New Orleans, [La.], January 25, 1865
  15. Morganza, La., January 26, 1865
  16. Mariene [i.e., Marine] Hospital, New Orleans, La., February 4, 1865
  17. Mariene [i.e., Marine] Hospital, New Orleans, La., February 23, 1865
  18. St. Louis General Hospital, New Orleans, La., April 18, 1865
Last Updated: September 25, 2014