George Meade

George Meade

Overview
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouse
Lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

s. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

 and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 he served as a Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 general, rising from command of a brigade to the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

. He is best known for defeating Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

 in 1863.

Meade's Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

 and the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

, including the Battle of Glendale
Battle of Glendale
The Battle of Glendale, also known as the Battle of Frayser's Farm, Frazier's Farm, Nelson's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Road, or Riddell's Shop, took place on June 30, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, on the sixth day of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War.The...

, where he was wounded severely.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'George Meade'
Start a new discussion about 'George Meade'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Quotations

War is very uncertain in its results, and often when affairs look most desperate they suddenly assume a more hopeful state.

Letter to his wife Margaretta (11 June 1863); published in The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade (1913)
Encyclopedia
George Gordon Meade was a career United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer and civil engineer involved in coastal construction, including several lighthouse
Lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

s. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

 and Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 he served as a Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 general, rising from command of a brigade to the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

. He is best known for defeating Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 General Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

 in 1863.

Meade's Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

 and the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

, including the Battle of Glendale
Battle of Glendale
The Battle of Glendale, also known as the Battle of Frayser's Farm, Frazier's Farm, Nelson's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Road, or Riddell's Shop, took place on June 30, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, on the sixth day of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War.The...

, where he was wounded severely. As a division commander he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain
Battle of South Mountain
The Battle of South Mountain was fought September 14, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War. Three pitched battles were fought for possession of three South Mountain passes: Crampton's, Turner's, and Fox's Gaps. Maj. Gen. George B...

 and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

. During the Gettysburg Campaign
Gettysburg Campaign
The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July 1863, during the American Civil War. After his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved north for offensive operations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The...

, he was appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was able to organize his forces to fight a successful defensive battle against Robert E. Lee. This victory was marred by his ineffective pursuit during the Retreat from Gettysburg
Retreat from Gettysburg
The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began its Retreat from Gettysburg on July 4, 1863. Following General Robert E. Lee's failure to defeat the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg , he ordered a retreat through Maryland and over the Potomac River to relative safety in Virginia. The Union...

, by the inconclusive campaigns in the fall of 1863, and by intense political rivalries within the Army, notably with Daniel Sickles
Daniel Sickles
Daniel Edgar Sickles was a colorful and controversial American politician, Union general in the American Civil War, and diplomat....

.

In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

, and the Appomattox Campaign
Appomattox Campaign
The Appomattox Campaign was a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, in Virginia that culminated in the surrender of Confederate General Robert E...

, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen.
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.

Early life


Meade was born in Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, eighth of eleven children of Richard Worsam Meade (1778-1828) and Margaret Coats Butler (1782-1852). His family were Pennsylvanians of Catholic Irish descent. His brother, Richard Worsam Meade II
Richard Worsam Meade II
Richard Worsam Meade II was an officer in the United States Navy....

, was a future naval officer. His father, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant serving in Spain as a naval agent for the U.S. government, was ruined financially because of his support of Spain in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 and died in 1828 while Meade was a young teenager. His family returned to the United States six months after his father's death, in precarious financial straits. Young George attended the Mount Hope Institution in Baltimore and entered the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 (West Point) in 1831, chosen primarily for financial reasons. He graduated 19th in his class of 56 cadets in 1835. For a year, he served with the 3rd U.S. Artillery in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, fighting against the Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 Indians
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, before resigning from the Army, a career he had not intended to pursue, even while attending West Point. He worked as a civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 for the Alabama, Georgia, and Florida Railroad and for the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

. On December 31, 1840, he married Margaretta Sergeant, daughter of John Sergeant
John Sergeant (politician)
John Sergeant was an American politician who represented Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives. He was born in Philadelphia to Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant and Margaret Spencer...

, running mate of Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

 in the 1832 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1832
The United States presidential election of 1832 saw incumbent President Andrew Jackson, candidate of the Democratic Party, easily win re-election against Henry Clay of Kentucky. Jackson won 219 of the 286 electoral votes cast, defeating Clay, the candidate of the National Republican Party, and...

. They had seven children together (John Sergeant Meade, Col. George Meade, Margaret Butler Meade, Spencer Meade, Sarah Wise Meade, Henrietta Meade, and William Meade). Finding steady civilian employment was difficult for the newly married man, so he reentered the army in 1842 as a second lieutenant in the corps of topographical
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 engineers.

Meade served in the Mexican-American War, assigned to the staffs of Generals Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

, William J. Worth
William J. Worth
William Jenkins Worth was a United States general during the Mexican-American War.-Early life:Worth was born in 1794 in Hudson, New York, to Thomas Worth and Abigail Jenkins. Both of his parents were Quakers, but he rejected the pacifism of their faith...

, and Robert Patterson
Robert Patterson
Robert Patterson was a United States major general during the Mexican-American War and at the beginning of the American Civil War...

, and was brevetted
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 to first lieutenant for gallant conduct at the Battle of Monterrey
Battle of Monterrey
In the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War, General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North was defeated by U.S...

. After that war he was chiefly involved in lighthouse
Lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

 and breakwater construction and coastal surveying in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. He designed Barnegat Light
Barnegat Lighthouse
Barnegat Lighthouse or Barnegat Light, colloquially known as "Old Barney", is a historic lighthouse located in Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, in the borough of Barnegat Light, New Jersey, on the south side of Barnegat Inlet.-19th century:The development of...

 on Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island is a barrier island and summer colony along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ocean County, New Jersey in the United States...

, Absecon Light
Absecon Light
The Absecon Light is a coastal lighthouse located in the north end of Atlantic City, New Jersey overlooking Absecon Inlet. It is the tallest lighthouse in the state of New Jersey and is the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States. Construction began in 1854, with the light first lit...

 in Atlantic City, Cape May Light in Cape May
Cape May
Cape May is a peninsula and island ; the southern tip of the island is the southernmost point of the state of New Jersey, United States. It runs southwards from the New Jersey mainland, separating Delaware Bay from the Atlantic Ocean...

, Jupiter Inlet Light
Jupiter Inlet Light
The Jupiter Inlet Light is located in Jupiter, Florida, on the north side of the Jupiter Inlet. The site for the lighthouse was chosen in 1853. It is located between Cape Canaveral Light and Hillsboro Inlet Light. The lighthouse was designed by then Lieutenant George G. Meade of the Bureau of...

 in Jupiter, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Jupiter is a town located in Palm Beach County, Florida. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 39,328. The estimate population for 2009 is 50,606. As of 2006, the population had grown to 50,028, according to the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research....

, and Sombrero Key Light
Sombrero Key Light
Sombrero Key Light is located near Key Vaca in Marathon, Florida. The lighthouse is located on a mostly submerged reef. The name Sombrero Key goes back to the Spanish, and old charts show a small island at the spot, but by the later 19th Century the island had eroded away, with some parts of the...

 in the Florida Keys
Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry...

. He also designed a hydraulic lamp that was adopted by the Lighthouse Board for use in American lighthouses. He was promoted to captain in 1856.

In 1857, Meade relieved Lt. Col.
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

 James Kearney on the Lakes Survey mission of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

. Completion of the survey of Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

 and extension of the surveys of Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 down to Grand
Grand Traverse Bay
Grand Traverse Bay is a bay of Lake Michigan formed by part of Northern Michigan. The bay is long, 10 miles wide, and up to deep in spots. It is divided into two arms by the Old Mission Peninsula...

 and Little Traverse Bay
Little Traverse Bay
Little Traverse Bay is a small bay, 170 feet deep, off Lake Michigan in the northern area of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Harbor Springs and Petoskey are on this bay.The Little Traverse Light marks its entrance....

s were done under his command. Prior to Captain Meade's command, Great Lakes' water level readings were taken locally with temporary gauges; a uniform plane of reference had not been established. In 1858, based on his recommendation, instrumentation was set in place for the tabulation of records across the basin. In 1860, the first detailed report of Great Lakes was published. Meade stayed with the Lakes Survey until the 1861 outbreak of the Civil War.

Early commands



Meade was promoted from captain to brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 of volunteers on August 31, 1861, a few months after the start of the Civil War, based on the strong recommendation of Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin. He was assigned command of the 2nd Brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 of the Pennsylvania Reserves
Pennsylvania Reserves
The Pennsylvania Reserves were an infantry division in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Noted for its famous commanders and high casualties, it served in the Eastern Theater, and fought in many important battles, including Antietam and Gettysburg....

, recruited early in the war, which he led competently, initially in the construction of defenses around Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 His brigade joined Maj. Gen.
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

's Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 for the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

. At the Battle of Glendale
Battle of Glendale
The Battle of Glendale, also known as the Battle of Frayser's Farm, Frazier's Farm, Nelson's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Road, or Riddell's Shop, took place on June 30, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, on the sixth day of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War.The...

, one of the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

, Meade was severely wounded in the arm, back, and side. He partially recovered his strength in time for the Northern Virginia Campaign
Northern Virginia Campaign
The Northern Virginia Campaign, also known as the Second Bull Run Campaign or Second Manassas Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during August and September 1862 in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E...

 and the Second Battle of Bull Run
Second Battle of Bull Run
The Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas was fought August 28–30, 1862, as part of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia against Union Maj. Gen...

, in which he led his brigade, then assigned to Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell
Irvin McDowell was a career American army officer. He is best known for his defeat in the First Battle of Bull Run, the first large-scale battle of the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's corps of the Army of Virginia
Army of Virginia
The Army of Virginia was organized as a major unit of the Union Army and operated briefly and unsuccessfully in 1862 in the American Civil War. It should not be confused with its principal opponent, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E...

. His brigade made a heroic stand on Henry House Hill to protect the rear of the retreating Union Army. At the start of the Maryland Campaign
Maryland Campaign
The Maryland Campaign, or the Antietam Campaign is widely considered one of the major turning points of the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was repulsed by Maj. Gen. George B...

 a few days later, he received command of the 3rd Division, I Corps, Army of the Potomac, and distinguished himself during the Battle of South Mountain
Battle of South Mountain
The Battle of South Mountain was fought September 14, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War. Three pitched battles were fought for possession of three South Mountain passes: Crampton's, Turner's, and Fox's Gaps. Maj. Gen. George B...

. When Meade's brigade stormed the heights at South Mountain, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

, his corps commander, was heard to exclaim, "Look at Meade! Why, with troops like those, led in that way, I can win anything!" In the Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam , fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000...

, Meade replaced the wounded Hooker in command of I Corps, selected personally by McClellan over other generals his superior in rank. He performed well at Antietam, but was wounded in the thigh.

During the Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

, Meade's division made the only breakthrough of the Confederate lines, spearheading through a gap in Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

 corps at the southern end of the battlefield. For this action, Meade was promoted to major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 of volunteers, to rank from November 29, 1862. However, his attack was not reinforced, resulting in the loss of much of his division. After the battle, he received command of V Corps, which he led in the Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War, and the principal engagement of the Chancellorsville Campaign. It was fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near the village of Chancellorsville. Two related battles were fought nearby on...

 the following spring. General Hooker, then commanding the Army of the Potomac, had grand, aggressive plans for the campaign, but was too timid in execution, allowing the Confederates to seize the initiative. Meade's corps was left in reserve for most of the battle, contributing to the Union defeat. Afterward, Meade argued strongly with Hooker for resuming the attack against Lee, but to no avail.

Army of the Potomac and Gettysburg



Hooker resigned from command of the Army of the Potomac while pursuing Lee in the Gettysburg Campaign
Gettysburg Campaign
The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July 1863, during the American Civil War. After his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved north for offensive operations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The...

. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1863, a messenger from President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 arrived to inform Meade of his appointment as Hooker's replacement. Meade was taken by surprise and later wrote to his wife that when the officer entered his tent to wake him, he assumed that Army politics had caught up with him and he was being arrested. He had not actively sought command and was not the president's first choice. John F. Reynolds
John F. Reynolds
John Fulton Reynolds was a career United States Army officer and a general in the American Civil War. One of the Union Army's most respected senior commanders, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac to the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the start of the battle.-Early...

, one of four major generals who outranked Meade in the Army of the Potomac, had earlier turned down the president's suggestion that he take over. Reynolds later died on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

.


Meade assumed command at Prospect Hall in Frederick, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Frederick is a city in north-central Maryland. It is the county seat of Frederick County, the largest county by area in the state of Maryland. Frederick is an outlying community of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater...

. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 was invading Pennsylvania and, as a former corps commander, Meade had little knowledge of the disposition of the rest of his new army. Only three days later he confronted Lee in the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

, July 1 to July 3, 1863, where he won the battle that is considered a turning point
Turning point of the American Civil War
There is widespread disagreement over the turning point of the American Civil War. The idea of a turning point is an event after which most observers would agree that the eventual outcome was inevitable. While the Battle of Gettysburg is the most widely cited , there are several other arguable...

 of the war. The battle began almost by accident, as the result of a chance meeting engagement between Confederate infantry and Union cavalry in Gettysburg on July 1. By the end of the first day, two Union infantry corps had been almost destroyed, but had taken up positions on favorable ground. Meade rushed the remainder of his Army to Gettysburg and skillfully deployed his forces for a defensive battle, reacting swiftly to fierce assaults on his line's left, right, and center, culminating in Lee's disastrous assault on the center, known as Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

.

During the three days, Meade made excellent use of capable subordinates, such as Maj. Gens. John F. Reynolds
John F. Reynolds
John Fulton Reynolds was a career United States Army officer and a general in the American Civil War. One of the Union Army's most respected senior commanders, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac to the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the start of the battle.-Early...

 and Winfield S. Hancock, to whom he delegated great responsibilities. Unfortunately for Meade's reputation, he did not skillfully manage the political manipulators he inherited from Hooker. Maj. Gens. Daniel Sickles
Daniel Sickles
Daniel Edgar Sickles was a colorful and controversial American politician, Union general in the American Civil War, and diplomat....

, III Corps commander, and Daniel Butterfield
Daniel Butterfield
Daniel Adams Butterfield was a New York businessman, a Union General in the American Civil War, and Assistant U.S. Treasurer in New York. He is credited with composing the bugle call Taps and was involved in the Black Friday gold scandal in the Grant administration...

, Meade's chief of staff, caused him difficulty later in the war, questioning his command decisions and courage. Sickles had developed a personal vendetta against Meade because of Sickles's allegiance to Joseph Hooker, whom Meade replaced, and because of controversial disagreements at Gettysburg. (Sickles had either mistakenly or deliberately disregarded Meade's orders about placing his corps in the defensive line, which led to that corps' destruction and placed the entire army at risk on the second day of battle.) Radical Republicans in the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War suspected that Meade was a copperhead
Copperheads (politics)
The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats in the Northern United States who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Republicans started calling anti-war Democrats "Copperheads," likening them to the venomous snake...

 and tried in vain to relieve him from command.


Following their severe losses at Gettysburg, General Lee's army retreated back to Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. Meade was criticized by President Lincoln and others for not aggressively pursuing the Confederates during their retreat. At one point, the Army of Northern Virginia was extremely vulnerable with their backs to the rain-swollen, almost impassable Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

, but they were able to erect strong defensive positions before Meade could organize an effective attack. Lincoln believed that this wasted an opportunity to end the war. Nonetheless, Meade received a promotion to brigadier general in the regular army and the Thanks of Congress
Thanks of Congress
The Thanks of Congress are a series of formal resolutions passed by the United States Congress originally to extend the government's formal thanks for significant victories or impressive actions by American military commanders and their troops. Although it began during the American Revolutionary...

, which commended Meade "... and the officers and soldiers of [the Army of the Potomac], for the skill and heroic valor which at Gettysburg repulsed, defeated, and drove back, broken and dispirited, beyond the Rappahannock
Rappahannock River
The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia, in the United States, approximately in length. It traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River.An important river in American...

, the veteran army of the rebellion."

For the remainder of the fall campaigning season in 1863, during both the Bristoe Campaign
Bristoe Campaign
The Bristoe Campaign was a series of minor battles fought in Virginia during October and November 1863, in the American Civil War. Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, began to maneuver in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern...

 and the Mine Run Campaign, Meade was outmaneuvered by Lee and withdrew after fighting minor, inconclusive battles, because of his reluctance to attack entrenched positions.

Meade was a competent and outwardly modest man, although correspondence with his wife throughout the war suggests he was disguising his ego and ambition. A London newspaperman described Meade: "He is a very remarkable looking man—tall, spare, of a commanding figure in presence, his manner pleasant and easy but having much dignity. His head is partially bald and is small and compact, but the forehead is high. He has the late Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

 class of nose, and his eyes, which have a serious and almost sad expression, are rather sunken, or appear so from the prominence of the curve nasal appearance. He has a decidedly patrician and distinguished appearance." Meade's short temper earned him notoriety, and while he was respected by most of his peers, he was not well-loved by his army. Some referred to him as "a damned old goggle-eyed snapping turtle."

Meade and Grant




When Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 was appointed commander of all Union armies in March 1864, Meade offered to resign. He stated the task at hand was of such importance that he would not stand in the way of Grant choosing the right man for the job and offered to serve wherever placed. Grant assured Meade he had no intentions of replacing him. Grant later wrote that this incident gave him a more favorable opinion of Meade than the great victory at Gettysburg.

Grant made his headquarters with Meade for the remainder of the war, which caused Meade to chafe at the close supervision he received. Following an incident in June 1864, in which Meade disciplined reporter Edward Cropsey from The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer is a morning daily newspaper that serves the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area of the United States. The newspaper was founded by John R. Walker and John Norvell in June 1829 as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the...

newspaper for an unfavorable article, all of the press assigned to his army agreed to mention Meade only in conjunction with setbacks. Meade apparently knew nothing of this arrangement, and the reporters giving all of the credit to Grant angered Meade.

Additional differences caused further friction between Grant and Meade. Waging a war of attrition in his Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 against Robert E. Lee, Grant was willing to suffer previously unacceptable losses with the knowledge that the Union Army had replacement soldiers available, whereas the Confederates did not. Meade, despite his aggressive performance in lesser commands in 1862, had become a more cautious general and more concerned about the futility of attacking entrenched positions. Most of the bloody repulses his army suffered in the Overland Campaign were ordered by Grant, although the aggressive maneuvering that eventually cornered Lee in the trenches around Petersburg were Grant's initiative as well. Meade was additionally frustrated by the manner in which Grant sometimes gave preferable treatment to subordinates that he brought with him from the Western Theater
Western Theater of the American Civil War
This article presents an overview of major military and naval operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Theater of operations:...

. A primary example of this was Grant's interference with Meade's direction of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

's Cavalry Corps. Meade had insisted that Sheridan's troopers perform traditional cavalry functions of reconnaissance, screening, and guarding the Army's trains, but Sheridan objected and told Meade that he could "whip Stuart" if Meade let him. Meade reported the conversation to Grant, who replied, "Well, he generally knows what he is talking about. Let him start right out and do it." Meade deferred to Grant's judgment and issued orders to Sheridan to "proceed against the enemy's cavalry" and from May 9 through May 24, sent him on a raid toward Richmond, directly challenging the Confederate cavalry.


Although Meade generally performed effectively under Grant's supervision in the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 and the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, a few instances of bad judgment marred his legacy. During the Battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

, Meade inadequately supervised his corps commanders and did not insist they perform reconnaissance before their disastrous frontal assault. Inexplicably, Meade wrote to his wife immediately after the attack and expressed pride that it was he who ordered the attack. During the initial assaults on Petersburg, Meade again failed to coordinate the attacks of his corps before General Lee could reinforce the line, resulting in the ten-month stalemate, the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

. He approved the plan of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

 to plant explosives in a mine shaft dug underneath the Confederate line east of Petersburg, but at the last minute he changed Burnside's plan to lead the attack with a well-trained African-American division that was highly drilled just for this action, instructing him to take a politically less risky course and substitute an untrained and poorly led white division. The resulting Battle of the Crater
Battle of the Crater
The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade The...

 was one of the great fiascoes of the war. In all of these cases, Grant bears some of the responsibility for approving Meade's plans, but Meade's performance was not at the same level of competence he displayed on other occasions.


After Spotsylvania, Grant requested that Meade be promoted to major general of the regular army. In a telegram to Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Edwin Stanton on May 13, 1864, Grant stated that "Meade has more than met my most sanguine expectations. He and [William T.] Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 are the fittest officers for large commands I have come in contact with." Meade felt slighted that his well-deserved promotion was processed after that of Sherman and Philip Sheridan, the latter his subordinate. However, his date of rank meant that he was outranked at the end of the war only by Grant, Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck
Henry Wager Halleck was a United States Army officer, scholar, and lawyer. A noted expert in military studies, he was known by a nickname that became derogatory, "Old Brains." He was an important participant in the admission of California as a state and became a successful lawyer and land developer...

, and Sherman. Although he fought during the Appomattox Campaign
Appomattox Campaign
The Appomattox Campaign was a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, in Virginia that culminated in the surrender of Confederate General Robert E...

, Grant and Sheridan received most of the credit. He was not present when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House
Appomattox Court House
The Appomattox Courthouse is the current courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia built in 1892. It is located in the middle of the state about three miles northwest of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, once known as Clover Hill - home of the original Old Appomattox Court House...

.


Command decisions


Meade's decisions in command of the Army of the Potomac have been the focus of controversy. He has been accused of not being aggressive enough in pursuit of Confederate forces, and being reluctant to attack on occasion. His reputation among the public and 19th century historians suffered as a result of his short temper, his bad relationship with the press, his place in the shadow of the victorious Grant, and particularly the damaging fallout from the controversies with Dan Sickles. Recent historical works have portrayed him in a more positive light. They have acknowledged that Meade displayed and acted upon an understanding of the necessary changes in tactics brought about by improvements in weapons technology, such as his decisions to entrench
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 when practicable and not launch frontal assaults on fortified positions.

Postbellum career


General Meade was a commissioner of Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of 63 parks, with , all overseen by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, successor to the Fairmount Park Commission in 2010.-Fairmount Park proper:...

 in Philadelphia from 1866 until his death. The people of Philadelphia gave his widow a house at 1836 Delancey Place, where he lived. The house still has the word "Meade" over the door, but it is now used as apartments. He also held various military commands, including the Military Division of the Atlantic, the Department of the East, and the Department of the South. He replaced Maj. Gen. John Pope
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

 as governor of the Reconstruction Third Military District
Third Military District
The Third Military District existed in the American South during the Reconstruction era that followed the American Civil War. It comprises Georgia, Florida and Alabama and was headquartered in Atlanta....

 in Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 on January 10, 1868. He received an honorary doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 (LL.D.) from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, and his scientific achievements were recognized by various institutions, including the American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, and located in Philadelphia, Pa., is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications,...

 and the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Death and legacy

Memorials to George G. Meade

Meade died in Philadelphia from complications of his old wounds, combined with pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

, and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the second major garden or rural cemetery in the United States. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, one of only a few cemeteries to receive the distinction....

.

There are memorial statues of him throughout Pennsylvania, including statues at Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg Battlefield
The Gettysburg Battlefield is the area of the July 1–3, 1863, military engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg within and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Locations of military engagements extend from the 4 acre site of the first shot & at on the west of the borough, to East...

 and on in Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is the municipal park system of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It consists of 63 parks, with , all overseen by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, successor to the Fairmount Park Commission in 2010.-Fairmount Park proper:...

 in Philadelphia, PA. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's Fort George G. Meade
Fort George G. Meade
Fort George G. Meade is a United States Army installation that includes the Defense Information School, the United States Army Field Band, and the headquarters of United States Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, and the Defense Courier Service...

 in Fort Meade, Maryland
Fort Meade, Maryland
Fort Meade is a census-designated place in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. The population was 9,882 at the 2000 census. It is the home to the National Security Agency, which is located on the US Army post Fort George G...

, is named for him, as are Meade County, Kansas
Meade County, Kansas
Meade County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. It is named in honor of General George G. Meade. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 4,575...

, and Meade County, South Dakota
Meade County, South Dakota
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,253 people, 8,805 households, and 6,700 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile . There were 10,149 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile...

. The Old Baldy
Old Baldy (horse)
Old Baldy was the horse ridden by Union Major General George G. Meade at the Battle of Gettysburg and in many other important battles of the American Civil War.-Early life and Civil War service:...

 Civil War Round Table in Philadelphia is named in honor of Meade's horse during the war.

One-thousand-dollar Treasury notes
Treasury security
A United States Treasury security is government debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury through the Bureau of the Public Debt. Treasury securities are the debt financing instruments of the United States federal government, and they are often referred to simply as Treasuries...

, also called Coin notes, of the Series 1890 and 1891, feature portraits of Meade on the obverse. The 1890 Series note is called the Grand Watermelon Note by collectors, because the large zeroes on the reverse resemble the pattern on a watermelon.

The General Meade Society of Philadelphia


The General Meade Society of Philadelphia gathers annually on December 31 to celebrate the anniversary of the general's birth. Since 2001, the Society has sponsored activities that include tours of Meade-related sites in Philadelphia; seminars with speakers on the theme of Meade's life, services, and career; adoption and maintenance of the Meade Monument and headquarters site at Gettysburg; a scholarship drive for the General George G. Meade school in Philadelphia; a project to issue a commemorative stamp; and an annual birthday commemoration at his gravesite in Philadelphia's historic Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Notable descendants

  • George Meade Easby, great-grandson.
  • Matthew Fox
    Matthew Fox (actor)
    Matthew Chandler Fox is an American actor. He is mostly known for his role as Charlie Salinger on Party of Five, and for portraying Jack Shephard on the supernatural drama television series Lost.- Early life :...

    , actor and great-great-great-grandson.

In popular media


In the film Gettysburg, an adaptation of Michael Shaara
Michael Shaara
Michael Shaara was an American writer of science fiction, sports fiction, and historical fiction. He was born to Italian immigrant parents in Jersey City, New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University in 1951, and served as a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne division...

's novel The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War: June 30, 1863, as the troops of both the Union and the Confederacy move into battle around...

, Meade is portrayed by Richard Anderson
Richard Anderson
Richard Norman Anderson is an American actor in film and television, known to TV audiences as Steve Austin's and Jaime Sommers' boss, Oscar Goldman, in both The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman TV series and their three subsequent TV movies: The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man...

. Other film, television, and video appearances:
  • The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924) – Alfred Allen
  • Virginia City (1940) – Thurston Hall
  • The Blue and the Gray (1982 TV miniseries) – Rory Calhoun
    Rory Calhoun
    Rory Calhoun was an American television and film actor, screenwriter and producer, best known for his roles in Westerns.-Early life:...

  • An American Story (1992 TV) – Brad Johnson
  • Gettysburg: Three Days of Destiny (2004) – Andy Waskie
  • Battlefield Detectives (2004 TV) – Mike Brown
  • No Retreat from Destiny: The Battle That Rescued Washington (2006 video) – Paul Bugelski


Meade is a character in the alternate history
Alternate history (fiction)
Alternate history or alternative history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. It can be variously seen as a sub-genre of literary fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction; different alternate...

 novel Gettysburg, written by Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

 and William Forstchen.

See also


  • List of American Civil War generals

Further reading



  • Cleaves, Freeman. Meade of Gettysburg. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8061-2298-6.
  • Hall, Jeffrey C. The Stand of the U.S. Army at Gettysburg. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-253-34258-9.
  • Meade, Col. George. The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913. .
  • Sauers, Richard Allen. Meade: Victor of Gettysburg. Military Profiles. London: Brassey's, 2003. ISBN 978-1-57488-418-0.
  • Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. ISBN 0-395-86761-4.

External links