Civil War manual found among donated books, returned to original owner’s family

Civil War manual

A retired literature professor who volunteers with a book program in Normal, Illinois, recently reunited a family with a distant relative’s Civil War manual.

Mary Ryder, who is known to find the proper place for antique books, was given the “The Manual of the Bayonet” in order to determine where it should go.

The book, which was written in 1862, was one of more than 7,000 donated books from an estate. Inside the book was the signature of “Captain Reynolds” of the 83rd Regiment in Illinois, mustered into the Army at Galesburg.

On a hunch, Ryder decided to talk with a family at her church, Steve and Kathy Gossard, who were also from Galesburg. She hoped the family could help her find the family of Capt. George Washington Reynolds, but as it turned out, Reynolds was Kathy’s great-great-great-uncle. Furthermore, Kathy’s daughter, Stephanie Long, does genealogy and promptly pulled up a picture of the captain on a genealogy app on her phone when asked about Reynolds.

“I was very shocked,” Long said of the discovery, while Ryder said she’s just delighted to have the book back in the hands of the family, noting that it will be well cared for and loved.

[ The Pantagraph ]