★ ★  Meade, George Gordon

George Gordon Meade

Meade.jpg

George Meade
entered the West Point Military Academy in 1831 and graduated four years later, ranking 19th in a class of 56 members. In 1836 he resigned from the army to pursue a career in civil engineering. In 1842, however, he returned to the army and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. He served in the Mexican-War. Otherwise, Meade was employed as a military engineer: constructing lighthouses, breakwaters, and completing survey work. After the beginning of the Civil War, Meade, was made a brigadier general and given command of a Pennsylvania brigade. Soon he was given command of a division in the First Corps, followed by a promotion to command of the Fifth Corps. On June 28, 1863, Meade was appointed by President Lincoln to command the Army of the Potomac, a position Meade held until the end of the war, although he was later overshadowed by the direct supervision of a new general-in-chief, Ulysses S. Grant. Meade is best known for leading the army that defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Born: December 31, 1815

Birthplace: Cadiz, Spain
(His father, Richard Meade, was stationed in Cadiz, Spain as a United States Naval Agent at the time of his birth.)​

Father: Richard Worsham Meade I 1778 – 1828
(Buried: Saint Mary’s Catholic Churchyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Mother: Margaret Coats Butler 1782 – 1852
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Wife: Margaretta Sergeant 1814 – 1886
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Married: December 31, 1840 at St. Peters Church, Philadelphia, PA.

Children:

John Sergeant Meade 1841 – 1865​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Captain George Meade Jr. 1843 – 1897​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Margaret Butler Meade 1845 – 1905​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Meade 1.jpg
Spencer Meade 1850 – 1911​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Sarah Wise Meade Large 1851 – 1913​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Henrietta Meade 1853 – 1944​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
William Meade 1855 – 1891​
(Buried: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)​
Signature:
1573841929877.png


Education:

1835: Graduated from West Point Military Academy – (19th in class)​

Occupation before War:

1835: Brevet 2nd Lt. United States Army, 3rd Artillery​
1835 – 1836: 2nd Lt. United States Army, 3rd Artillery​
1836: Resigned from United States Army on October 26th
1837 – 1838: Assistant Engineer, Survey of Mississippi Delta​
1838 – 1840: Assistant Engineer of Texas Boundary
Meade 3.jpg
1840 – 1842: Assistant Engineer of Northeastern Boundary​
1842 – 1851: 2nd Lt., United States Army Topographic Engineers​
1846: Brevetted 1st Lt. for Gallantry at Battle of Monterrey Mexico​
1851 – 1856: 1st Lt., United States Army Topographic Engineers​
1856 – 1863: Captain, United States Army Topographic Engineers​
Civil War Service:

1856 – 1862: Captain, United States Army Topographic Engineers
Meade 2.jpg
1862 – 1863: Major, United States Army Topographic Engineers​
1861 – 1862: Brigadier General, Union Army Volunteers Infantry​
1861 – 1862: Commander of Pennsylvania Reserves Brigade​
1861: Served in the Battles of Dranesville, Virginia​
1862: Served in the Virginia, Peninsula Campaign​
1862: Wounded during the Battle of Glendale, Virginia​
1862: Commander of First Army Corps, Army of the Potomac​
1862: Temporary Corps Commander during Maryland Campaign​
1862 – 1864: Major General, Union Army Volunteers Infantry​
1862 – 1863: Commander of Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac​
1862: Corps Commander at Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia​
1863: Corps Commander at Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia​
1863: Major, United States Army Engineers​
1863 – 1865: Commander of Union Army of the Potomac​
1863: Union Army Commander at Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania​
1863 – 1864: Brigadier General, United States Army​
1863: Union Army Commander during Bristoe, Virginia Campaign​
1863: Union Army Commander during Mine Run, Virginia Campaign​
1864: Offered his resignation to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant​
1864 – 1872: Major General, United States Army​
1865: Not present when General Robert E. Lee Surrendered to Grant​
Occupation after War:

1864 – 1872: Major General, United States Army​
1865 – 1866: Commander Military Division of the Atlantic​
1865 – 1868: President of Board of Retiring Disabled Officers​
1865 – 1872: Honorary Member Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati​

1866: Member of Board for Recommendations for Brevets​
1866 – 1872: Commissioner of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, PA.​
1866 – 1868: Served in Department of the East Headquarters

1867: Member of Board to select depots for Army Clothing​
1868 – 1869: Commander U.S. Army Department of the South​
1869 – 1872: Commander of U.S. Army Military Division of Atlantic​

Died: November 6, 1872

Place of Death: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Age at time of Death: 57 years old

Burial Place: Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
In Ken Burns Documentary Meade is referred to as a old goggled eyed snapping turtle. Who was it that made that statement?

I don't recall where it came from, but the reference is to the fact that Meade did not suffer fools. And there were plenty around him.

Rod Andrew Jr. wrote a good biography of Wade Hampton some years ago and last I heard he was working on Meade. I'd love to see the latter brought out of Grant's shadow and treated fairly. Fingers crossed Andrew's work is published sooner rather than later.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I'd love to see the latter brought out of Grant's shadow and treated fairly. Fingers crossed Andrew's work is published sooner rather than later.

Couldn't agree more. Being overshadowed by Grant, Meade does not get all the credit he probably deserves. He steered the AOTP from a major victory at Gettysburg through the 1863 autumn campaigns in Northern Virginia, the Overland campaign, the siege of Petersburg, and the final pursuit of the ANV to Appomattox. In 20th century terms, I would almost compare Meade to General Eisenhower's leadership that led to American victory in Europe in WWII. But unfortunately, nobody really thinks of Meade in that way.
 

Arioch

Sergeant
Annual Winner
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
I will freely, and upfront admit, that I've always been in Meade's corner.....

My dad was very good with his history (used to teach it) and especially the ACW....a lot of my own interest was introduced to me, by him.

He and I used to have good conversations about Meade. He regarded Meade (and kind of derisively) as a 'political general'. I always agreed that there very much was the political side to Meade...however, some of that was born in his own interest in political science. "The Life and Letters of...." bear that out in his astute back and forth correspondences with his wife (herself a political science fan).

However, I always thought that to dismiss him at this point was a mistake and a disservice.

Meade was not cuddly....nor is he in posterity. I've always felt that colored his historical reputation as well....But, you know what?...he got the job done...meat and potatoes, un-fancy, 'just the facts Ma'am'...

He was very much respected and appreciated by the Pennsylvania troops while he was commanding them. I don't want to say 'liked' because that goes to my previous, 'un-cuddly' coloring...He was very much respected by his commands, and subsequent to that respect grew a confidence of competence from his soldiers. The Pa. Reserves would always take great pride in his advancing success in the command structure...and he in turn never forgot where he came from, and always held the Reserves in great affection and respect.

I'm not making excuses here for him...but think about this: Meade....an academy (West Point) educated, graduated, commissioned officer in the regular US army...finds himself in an environment in which regimental officers under him...are voted into command and rank...voted...Most of them eventually proving to be just smooth talking rascals....and he now has to deal with them...let alone the farm boys he now has to train, so they won't get themselves killed when they take their first step on the battlefield...I could see myself with a short temper trying to wrangle a situation like that...
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Meade was not cuddly....nor is he in posterity. I've always felt that colored his historical reputation as well....But, you know what?...he got the job done...meat and potatoes, un-fancy, 'just the facts Ma'am'...

Agreed. I'm pretty sure they called him, "the old snapping turtle."

The problem with George Meade is that whatever accolades we have for Union generals belong to U.S. Grant. If something went right, Grant gets the credit. If something went less right, Meade gets blamed.

There are plenty examples of this, don't get me started.
 
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