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Erastus D. Reynolds Civil War Pension File

Original documents from the National Archives

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[Bureau of Pensions]

Erastus D. Reynolds stood 5 feet, 11 and one-half inches tall, weighed about 130 pounds, had light complexion and light hair, and had gray eyes. According to neighbors, he was a strong, robust young man prior to his enlistment in Company H, 15th New York Engineers, on 1 September 1864. In early April 1865, while in camp at City Point, Virginia, he became ill with severe and chronic diarrhea that was treated by an Army Surgeon with quinine. On 10 April his command departed camp. About the middle of May, 1865, four miles from Manchester, Virginia, he was among a group of men compelled to build a corduroy road and lift Army wagons that had become mired. Weakened by his illness, an accident of some sort injured Erastus in his right side and he became unconscious. An ambulance took him back to his camp at Manchester, but because he had a great "dread of hospitals," he remained with his command. Relieved of his knapsack, blankets, cartridges, etc., by a companion, he straggled along until they reached Arlington Heights, near Washington, D.C. There he was sent to Elimira, New York and immediately furloughed. He was honorably discharged at Fort Barry, Virginia, 13 June 1865.

For the rest of his life Erastus Reynolds coughed up blood, had severe pain in his side, and was diagnosed with an ulcerated lung. Your humble compiler is a complete medical layman, but it seems possible that Erastus, weakened from dysentary, had an accident on the cordury road, perhaps a wagon slipped, and broke a rib that punctured his lung.

Some years after the War, Erastus married Ruth Ann Bisbee, a neighbor and possibly his first cousin. Ruth Ann had two children from a previous marriage, and she and Erastus had two more together.

Erastus died in 1884 and was survived by his wife who died in 1906. At that time, his son, Frank L. Reynolds was judged to be a "helpless" child and continued to receive his father's Civil War pension benefits until he died in 1949. Ruth Ann Reynolds left a Will directing that her eldest son by a previous marriage, Addison Reynolds, take care of Frank during his lifetime. Addison became Frank's guardian and looked after him until his own death in 1942, at which time Frank went to live with his natural sister, Mrs. Mary Jane Gorndt. Guardianship of Frank Reynolds was assigned by the Court to a Trust Company in Pittsburgh.

Frank's sister, after speaking with a neighbor who convinced her that Frank's pension would lead to government interference in their lives, attempted to stop the Veterans Administration from making any further benefit payments.


Owner/Source National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC
File name exhibits/military/cw2561/0000_2561.html
File Size 2.87 KB
Media ID 1686
Dimensions n/a
Folio version v10.1.1.11 (14 Jun 2017)
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