Charles Wellington Reed

Artist:  Charles Wellington Reed (American, 1841-1926.)

Medium: Watercolor on off-white cardboard.

Size: 20” high x 14” wide.

Date: Circa 1860′s

Signature: Signed: C W Reed. LL, Shooters “Malvern Hill”

About:  Pair of watercolors on off-white cardboard by Charles Wellington Reed American (1841-1926). Civil War Illustrator.

Item  B229






B229 a Charles Wellington Reed Civil War Web 19.5 x 14 2a

B229 a Charles Wellington Reed Civil War 2b

B229 b Charles Wellington Reed Civil War 1b

B229 a Charles Wellington Reed Civil War 2c

Charles Wellington Reed  Biography

American (1841-1926)

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Reed enlisted in the Ninth Massachusetts Light Artillery on August 2, 1862 and served until the end of the war (but on detached service as an assistant topographical engineer on the staff of Gen. Governor Kemble Warren (1830-1882), Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, after November 19, 1864.)

Lt. Reed participated in the battles of Gettysburg (for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor), the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Petersburg, Hatcher’s Run, and Five Forks, and he was present when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

Fortunately, Reed was left-handed, for he received a bad saber cut on his right hand in 1864 during the raid on the Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg, Virginia. A bugler with Bigelow’s 9th Massachusetts Volunteer Battery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the life of Captain John Bigelow during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. He was also wounded by shrapnel in the knee and chest.

After the war, Reed served as a lieutenant in the Massachusetts militia.

In 1880, Reed turned to painting as a means of recounting his days in the Civil War. His talent was considered equal to that of leading newspaper artists of his day, and his drawings were used to illustrate Hardtack and Coffee in 1887. His illustrations also appear through the Buell and Johnson series Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Reed also mentored young artists; among them was N.C. Wyeth who became one of America’s greatest illustrators.

Many of Reed’s sketchbooks, drawings, and paintings were donated to the Library of Congress two years after his death in 1926. However, two of the watercolor paintings produced by Reed are now housed within the collections of the Military History Institute at the Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

In 2000, Eric Campbell, a National Park Ranger at Gettysburg, edited Reed’s letters with their sketches. The book, “Grand Terrible Drama: From Gettysburg to Petersburg: The Civil War Letters of Charles Wellington Reed”, was published by Fordham University Press.