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Collection Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment: Selections from the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers

About this Collection

Comprising 164 items (359 digital images), this online presentation includes correspondence, photographs, and other materials dating between 1861 and 1865 documenting the Civil War experience of Captain Tilton C. Reynolds, a member of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. The letters feature details of the regiment's movements, accounts of military engagements, and descriptions of the daily life of soldiers and their views of the war. Transcriptions accompany 46 of the letters.

The Tilton C. Reynolds Papers are housed in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. This collection, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1996, contains approximately five hundred items, including correspondence, photographs, diaries, financial and legal papers, writings, a notebook, an autograph album, and printed matter.

Tilton C. Reynolds was born in Winslow Township (later Reynoldsville), Pennsylvania, on October 26, 1843. Upon the organization of the 105th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in September, 1861, Reynolds enlisted and was assigned as a private in Company H. He was first detailed as a clerk at the headquarters of the First Division, Third Army Corps until the Battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862, where he fought and was taken prisoner. After stints in the Libby and Belle Isle prisons in Virginia and the Salisbury prison in North Carolina, Reynolds returned to service until the end of the war and was eventually promoted to captain.

The Reynolds Papers span the years 1851 to1963 but the core of the collection covers the years 1861 to 1865 and Reynolds's involvement in the Civil War as a member of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The majority of the collection consists of letters written by Tilton Reynolds to his mother, Juliana Reynolds, and father, Thomas Reynolds Sr., while he was serving in the Union Army. Letters to Juliana from her brother John S. Smith, brother-in-law Orlando Gray, and various family friends are also included.

The Online Collection

The collection presented online is a selection of the Tilton C. Reynolds Papers. The online presentation totals 164 items or 359 digital images. The items selected for scanning span the years of the American Civil War (1861-65). Only letters written within the time frame of the Civil War were included in this collection.

A Civil War Soldier in the Wild Cat Regiment offers a look into the lives of a Union soldier and members of his family during the Civil War. The selected letters lend insight into the wartime dynamics of the Reynolds family. Their words reveal how family members in Reynolds's regiment looked after him, announced his capture, and gave advice. The letters also describe the daily life of a Union soldier, touching on such topics as food, clothing and shelter, health, and punishment. Finally, the selected correspondence provides a unique perspective on the Civil War. Soldiers' feelings and views on slavery and the election of 1864 can be found here. Correspondents also wrote of news about specific events of the war, as in Reynolds's account of President Lincoln.


Forty-six of the 164 items are available in searchable transcriptions as well as in facsimile page images. Constraints of time and resources necessarily meant that only those items considered the most significant in the online collection could be transcribed.

The transcriptions aim to achieve a balance between the author's usage and style and modern conventions. Punctuation and capitalization have been standardized throughout. Each sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. Within sentences, commas have been added only to separate items in series. All proper and geographic names have been capitalized, along with the days of the week and months of the year. Spelling and grammar reflect those of the original document, unless an editorial change or insertion was necessary to make the text legible. Words omitted through oversight have been supplied in brackets, and obvious slips of the pen have been silently corrected. Although attempts were made to reproduce the original spelling, some correction was necessary to facilitate keyword searches of the transcripts. Proper and geographic names have been corrected in brackets placed after any misspellings. Abbreviations, contractions, ampersands, and monetary symbols, however, have been preserved as they appear in the original document and all superscript letters have been lowered to the line. Finally, run-on texts have been divided into paragraphs for the sake of clarity.

For illegible text, bracketed question marks represent the number of words that could not be interpreted. In doubtful cases, conjectured words appear in brackets followed by a question mark. Material missing because of damage to the original has been indicated by "words missing" in brackets. Postscripts that appear without explicit designation have been introduced by an italicized P.S. in brackets. Place-and-date lines have been reproduced on the same line as the original but invariably justified to the left margin of the transcript. Signatures have been placed in a standard location at the end of the transcribed letter regardless of their position in the original document.