Jesse Lee Reno

Featured Character – 1861-1862

Union Brigadier General Jesse Lee Reno

Jesse L. Reno

Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

Jesse Lee Reno was born in 1823 in West Virginia and movedat the age of sixteen to Franklin, Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Point in 1846, eighth in his class of 59 students that included George B. McClellan and Thomas J. Jackson. Reno was sent to the Mexican War where he won honors for his bravery and a teaching position at West Point. Reno was sent to command the Federal Arsenal in Alabama at the break of the war and then assigned to command a brigade in General Ambrose Burnside’s North Carolina expedition in November. He was promoted to major general and led divisions at the Battle of Second Manassas and Chantilly, Virginia.  Just before Robert E. Lee's 1862 invasion of the North, Reno assumed command of the IX Corps in General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac. Unfortunately, it was during this task that he was mortally wounded by a bullet in the stomach while reconnoitering with his troops at Fox’s Gap in Maryland. He was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C. A monument at Fox’s Gap was erected to honor him.