Lincoln summoned Major General John F. Reynolds to the White House on June 2, 1863. The situation was pressing as Lee’s army continued its drive northward. Reynolds left his beloved First Corps on the dusty roads of Virginia to hear the entreaties of his Commander-in-Chief.
No firsthand accounts remain, but a preponderance of evidence indicate that Lincoln offered command of the Army of the Potomac to Reynolds. The administration had grown tired of Hooker’s wrangling and complaining. Reynolds had established himself as one of the “fighting Corp Commanders.” Some accounts claim Reynolds would only accept if given a “free hand” in strategic operations. All agree that he turned down the offer to remain in command of his Corps.
Reynolds would lead those troops to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Furious at the Rebel invasion of his beloved Commonwealth, Reynolds was spoiling for a fight on the morning of July 1. His decision on June 2 seems part of his destiny.