William R. Reynolds was born in Laporte, Indiana in 1838. He spent his teenage years working on the farm of James Greenwood in Springfield township, Laporte County, according to census records. He was probably still working here at the outbreak of the Civil War, though he does not appear in the 1860 census.
On June 19, 1861, William enlisted as a private in Company D, 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The company was organized in nearby Norwalk, Ohio. He served with this unit for over a year, including the Peninsula campaign.
During the battle of Antietam in September 1862, William was wounded. His regiment saw some of the heaviest fighting in the battle, suffering nearly 50% casualties. This was apparently enough of infantry life for William and many others. The following month, recovered from his wound, he transferred to the cavalry.
Reynolds enlisted as a private in Company C, 6th U.S. Cavalry on October 23, 1862. He was sworn in by Lieutenant Albert Coats at Knoxville, Maryland, while his regiment was stationed at nearby Harpers Ferry. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’7″ tall, with light hair, gray eyes, and a light complexion.
Private Reynolds survived the battle of Brandy Station unscathed, but was not so lucky the following month. He was part of Lieutenant Joseph Bould’s squadron at the battle of Fairfield, which served as the regimental reserve. Seeing the regiment being overrun by a charge of the 6th Virginia Cavalry, Bould charged with his squadron in an attempt to stem the tide. Unsuccessful, the squadron was routed and pursued. Reynolds was most likely killed in the charge or the ensuing pursuit.
William Reynolds is buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery.