MEADE George Gordon 181572

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George Meade {see Plate El) was born in Cadiz, Spain, on 31 December 1815, the son of a wealthy American merchant who was wiped out financially by adhering to Spain's cause in the Napoleonic Wars-Returning to the United States, Meade attended Mount Hope Institution and then the US Military Academy» from which lie was graduated in 1835. He saw service in Florida and at the Water town Arsenal before resigning in 1836 to work as a civil engineer. He returned to the army on 19 May 1842 as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers, thereafter working mostly on building lighthouses and breakwaters and doing coastal and geodetic survey work. He saw action in the Mexican War. being breveted a first lieutenant.

At the outbreak of the (-ivil War, Capt. Meade was made a brigadiergeneral of volunteers and given command of a Pennsylvania brigade, which he led in the Peninsula campaign. He was badly wounded at Glendale (30 June 1862), one of the defensive battles fought by dispersed Union corps as they retreated to the James River. Recovering in time for Second Bull Run (Manassas), he was given command of a division in I Corps at Fredericksburg (13 December 1862); shortly thereafter he was given V Corps. He was named to replace Joseph Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac on 28 June 1863, just Liuee days before Gettysburg. The army's fifth commander in just ten months, his personal contribution to the Union's great victory in that battle has always been a matter for discussion, and lie was criticized for tailing to pursue the retreating Confederates vigorously. Marsena Patrick noted in his diary on 16 November 1863 that Meade was "profoundly ignorant of the wants & necessities of the Army," adding that he would probably "never learn."

Staff officer Frank Haskell described Meade as "a tall spare man, with full heard, which with his hair, originally brown, is quite thickly sprinkled with gray - has a romanish face, very large nose, and a white, large forehead, prominent and wide over the eyes, which are full and large, and quick in their movements, and he wears spectacles, i lis fibres are all of the long and sinewy kind. His habitual personal appearance is quite careless, and it would be difficult to make him look well dressed."

Meade was terribly short-tempered. While leading a column of prisoners to the rear during the fighting in the Wilderness, Patrick noted in his diary that he "met Meade, who was in a terrible stew & declared that 1 was on the wrong road & going directly into the enemy's lines - I soon cooled him off however & in a huff was told to "Go my own way', which 1 did, keeping the prisoners on the road they started, all right."

Although Lincoln was unhappy that Lee was allowed to escape from Gettysburg, Meade retained his army command right through to Appomattox. He was named a brigadier-general

George Meade, standing center right foreground, facing left; the general In the bowler-type hat and open-necked coat standing behind Meade at right is John Sedgwick. They are seen here with their staffs at their headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, in late 1363.

in the regular army on 7 July 18(i!ih and a major-general late in ihe war He held commands of various departments after tlit- war, eventually being in charge of the Division of the Atlantic, lie died at his headquarters in Philadelphia on 6 November 1872. and is buried in Laurel 1-1 ill Cemetery there. After th<- war, Grant wrote:

"General Meade was an officer of great merit, with drawbacks to his usefulness ihat were beyond his control. He had been an officer of the

engineer corps before the war, and consequently had never served with troops until he was over forty-six years of age. He never had, 1 believe, a command of less than a brigade. He saw clearly and distinctly the position of the enemy, and the topography of the country in front of his own position, fits first idea was to take advantage of the lay of the ground, sometimes without reference to the direction we wanted to move afterwards. He was subordinate to his superiors in rank to the extent that he could executc an order which changed his own plans with the same zeal he would have displayed if the plan had been his own. He was brave and conscientious» and commanded the respect of all who knew him. lie was unfortunately of a temper that would get beyond his control, at times, and make him speak to officers of high rank in the most offensive manner. No one saw this fault more plainly than lie himself, and no one regretted it more. This made it unpleasant ai times, even in battle, for those around him to approach him even with information.''

(continued on page 41)

George Meade, standing center right foreground, facing left; the general In the bowler-type hat and open-necked coat standing behind Meade at right is John Sedgwick. They are seen here with their staffs at their headquarters in Falmouth, Virginia, in late 1363.

Falmouth VirginiaMajor General Gordon MeadeBrigadier General Henry Hunt


1: Major-G ene raí George McCleflan 2: Major-Generai Ambrose Burnsíde 3: Brigadier-General Henry Hunt c

MAY 1863

1 : Ma j or-Ger>e ra I J o s eph H ooker 2; Maior-Gene ral Da ri u s Co uc h 3; M a j o r- G e ner a I Wi 11 i am Fr a ri kl i n

Dan Sickles Photos

JUNE 1863

1: Major-Generat George Meade 2: Major-General John Reynolds 3: Major-General Daniel Sickles

JUNE 1863

1: Major-Generat George Meade 2: Major-General John Reynolds 3: Major-General Daniel Sickles

John Gibbon

II CORPS COMMANDERS, AUTUMN 1864 1: Major-General Winfield Scott Hancock

2: Brigadier-Generai Francis Barlow 3: Brigädier-Generai John Gibbon ft ji r

Lf wm

2: Brigadier-Generai Francis Barlow 3: Brigädier-Generai John Gibbon

Brig Gen George Stoneman 1864 George Stoneman War


-I: Brigadier-General George Stoneman 2: Major-General Aifred Pleasonton 3: Major-General Philip Sheridan

Phillip Sheridan
Brig-Gen. Alfred Pleas onion wears a typical field uniform of a sack coat and a broad-brimmed hat in this photograph taken in April 1663.
John Philip Harney

PLEASONTON, Alfred (1824-97)

Alfred Pleasonton (see Plate G2) was born in Washington, Df: on 7 July 1824. Graduated in the West Point class of 1844, he was assigned to the dragoons. He earned a first lieutenant's brevet for gallantry in rhe Mexican War, and also served in Florida and on the frontier 1 le gained staff experience as an adjutant under Gen, William S.Harney. In 1S6I he was a captain in the 2nd Dragoons (redesignated the 2nd Cavalry), and commanded the regiment as it marched from Utah to Washington that fall.

Promoted major on 15 February 1862, Pleasonton distinguished himself in the Peninsula campaign, and was made a brigadier-general of volunteers on 18 July 1862. He was given command of a cavalry division in the Antietam campaign, leading it at Fredericksburg (13 December 1862) and Chancellorsville (1-6 May 1863). He was given command of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac on 7 June 1863, with promotion to major-general on 22June.

Pleasonton was regarded with some suspicion by his peers. Colonel Charles R.Lowell, 2nd Massachusetts, said of him: "I can't call any cavalry officer good who can't see the truth and tell the truth. Willi an infantry officer this is not so essential, but cavalry are the eyes and ears of the army and ought to see and hear and tell truly; and yet it is the universal opinion that i1?s own reputation and P's late promotions are bolstered up by systematic lying." Captain Charles Francis Adams Jr, 1st Massachusetts, wrote to his mother that "Pleasonton is the bete noire of all cavalry officers... He is pure and simple a newspaper humbug. You always see his name in the papers, but to us who have served under him he is notorious as a bully and a toadv... Yet mean and contemptible as Pleasonton is, he is always in at Head Quarters."

However, Pleasonton was well respected by at least some of the army's commanders. In a letter to

his wife on 18 August 1862, McClellan said: "1 am glad to inform you that your friend Pleasonton has done splendidly. I placed him in command of the rear guard. The little fellow [Pleasonton] brightened up very much this morning when he came to report. I looked very sternly at him 8c told him that I had a very serious complaint to make against him. He looked rather wild, injured, & disgusted & wished to know what it was. I replied that he had entirely disappointed me, that he had not created a single stampede, nor called for any reinforcements. That such heinous conduct was something 1 did not at all look tor, & that ii il was persisted in, I must send him to Pope. The little fellow began to grin 8c was well pleased. He is a most excellent soldier & has performed a very important duty most admirably."

Pleasonton led the cavalry in its first successful

large operation of the war, surprising J.E.B.Stuart at Brandy Station (9 June 1863), in which action the Union cavalry was said to have come of age. However, his work in the Gettysburg campaign

The Gettysburg Campaign

Another view of Plea son ton while at Falmouth, Virginia, astride the horse he brought with him from Utah in 1&61. He rode the same mount in the Peninsufa campaign as a major commanding the 2nd US Cavalry.

OPPOSITE John Pope was brought to take command on the Virginia front after several successful campaigns in the West, but right away struck the wrong note with both his men and the enemy. Neither were unhappy to see him sent back West, this time to fight the Sioux uprising in Minnesota, after the disaster of Second Bult Run In 1862. John Gibbon, who commanded a brigade in his army, later wrote that "General Pope was lacking in that sort of independence of character which not onJy prompts but enables an army commander to do on the spot that which he knows the exigencies require, independent of orders received from superiors at a distance and ignorant of the situation."

was lackluster. He disapproved of the "Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid" against Richmond in February 1864, something that Grant thought was a good idea. As Grant had in mind for Philip Sheridan to command the cavalry in the East, this disagreement was the spur for Pleasonton's relief from command and reassignment to the Department of the Missouri.

There he performed well enough against the Confederate "Missouri Raitf in October 1864. Breveted major-general at the end of the war, he still reverted to his regular rank of major, 2nd US Cavalry. In 1866 Pleasonton was offered a lieutenant-colonelcy in the 20th US Infantry, but declined it. Since this resulted in his being subordinate to Col. T.J.H.Wood, who had graduated from West Point a year after Pleasonton and was lower on the list of volunteer major-generals, and to Lt.Col. I.N. Palmer, who graduated two years after Pleasonton and had only been breveted major-general, Pleasonton resigned. Although he applied for retirement at his volunteer rank, this was refused, lie held some minor Federal posts, but in 1888 he was placed on the retired list as a major. He died in Washington on 17 February 1897, and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery there.

OPPOSITE BELOW Pope looks slightly more soldierly in an engraving from Warper's Weekly, 13 September 1662. Again, the process has reversed the portrait from left to right.

POPE, John (1822-92)

John Pope (see Plate Bl) was born into a distinguished family in Louisville, Kentucky, on i6 March 1822. After graduating from West Point in 1842, he was twice breveted in the Mexican War. Commissioned a captain in the Corps of Topographical Engineers in i 856, lie was named a brigadier-general of volunteers on 11 June 1861.

Pope CreekPope Creek

Pope led the forces that opened the upper Mississippi River just above Memphis, capturing Madrid and Island No. 10. Promoted to majorgenera! on 22 March 1862, he commanded the left wing of the army that besieged Corinth, Mississippi. Because of these successes he was called to Washington to command a new Army of Virginia, made up of troops around Washington and in the Shenandoah Valley.

Colonel David Strother met Pope in June 1862, and described him in his diary: "He is a stout man of medium height, prepossessing manners and appearance. He is young and alert... Later he added: "He reads character and talks like a keen, cool man of the world, kindly withal... Pope is a much cleverer man than 1 took him for." Two months later Strother wrote: "Pope is a bright, dashing man, self-confident and clearheaded. He has a good memory and has been a topographical engineer. I observe that he is wonderfully quick to seize all information on this subject. He remembers it all if' once told and wants new-details. Whether his mind grasps general subjects with capacity and clearness I have not had an opportunity to judge. He is irascible and impulsive in his judgments of men, but in his pleasant moods, jolly, humorous, and clever in conversation."

Named a brigadier-general in the regular army with effect from 14 July 1862, Pope issued a series of orders, the first telling his new command, "I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies... Having irritated his own troops, he made the enemy even madder by calling for his troops to live off the resources of Virginia's citizens, and authorizing them to inflict capital punishment on any guerrillas who had sworn an oath of allegiance to the USA and were later captured in arms against the government. Lee determined to decisively beat Pope's army, which he did in the Second Bull Run (Manassas) campaign of August 1862. Many of Pope's own generals were highly critical of him, both before and after Second Manassas.

Pope's army was afterwards merged into the Army of the Potomac, and he was sent to command the Department of the Northwest. He served well there during the Sioux uprising in Minnesota in 1863. Staying in the army after the war, he became a major-general on 26 October 1882 and held various departmental commands until his retirement in 1886, He died in Sandusky,

Major General Fitz John Porter
Fitz John Porter was tall, striking, a perfect-looking soldier, but lacked the political instincts needed to survive. He foolishly committed to paper criticisms of his superior officer, John Pope, which would come back to haunt him.

Ohio, on September and is buried in

Bellefontaine Cemeteiy, Si Louis.

PORTER, Fitz John (1822-1901)

Fitz John Porter (see Plate B2) was bom in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to a naval family that included Commodore David Porter and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter. He attended Exeter and was appointed to West Point, graduating in 1845. He was assigned to the artillery, and during the Mexican War Ik* was wounded in the attack on Mexico City and received two brevets for gallantry. After the war he was assigned as an assistant artillery instructor at West Point until 1855. He was then adjutant of the command sent to Utah in 1857, serving there until 1860.

At the outbreak of the Civil War he was made colonel of the liith US Infantry, as well us a brigadier-general of volunteers ranking from 17 May 18(31. lie served as chief of staff under Gen. Robert Patterson in the Shenandoah Valley during the First Hull Run campaign, before being recalled to help George McClellan whip the new Army of the Potomac into shape.

Porter commanded a division of HI Corps at the outset of the Peninsula campaign, moving up to command of

V Corps during the Seven Days' Battles. He displayed outstanding leadership in extricating his corps from constant attacks by superior Confederate forces, withdrawing to Malvern E lili, where he oversaw a huge defeat of the attacking Confederates (1 July 1862). For this action he was promoted to major-general of volunteers, as well as receiving a brevet to brigadier-general in the regular army.

When McClellan *s army was withdrawn irons the Peninsula to aid

Pope's anny in northern Virginia, Porter was ordered to come to Pupr's aid; but New York Tinm reporter William Swim on, who covered the Army of the Potomac, wrote that "the order which Pope sent at half-past four, did not reach Porter lill about dusk. He then made dispositions for attack, but it was too late. It is, however, more than doubtful that even had the order been received in time, any thing but repulse would have resulted from its execution."

Afterwards, Porter, who despised Pope, was discovered to have written about the latter in insubordinate terms. Knowing how close Porter was to McClellan, Pope, unable to have McClellan himself court-martialed, instead charged Porter with disloyalty, disobedience and misconduct in the face of the enemy. Porter, who advised McClellan not to commit his

V Corps to a final attack at Andetarn (17 September 1H62), and hence allowed lee to escape total defeat, was relieved from command after McClellan's own relief left him unprotected. He was tried by a military commission. Charles Wainwright, a McClellan supporter who suspected that the actual reason was the friendship between McClellan and Porter, added: "On the whole I cannot say that I am sorry; for I think ! shall like Reynolds quite as much, and have a great deal more respect from him."

Porter {seated, center) and his staff at his headquarters, photographed not long after the battle of Gaines' Mill (27 Uune 1862), where Porter had managed to extract his corps from heavy Confederate assaults. A close associate of McClellan, Porter fell when McClellan fell, but in fact his bad advice at Antielam essentially ensured that Lee would manage to save his army from destruction.

The commission found Porter guilty, and on 21 January 1863 ordered him "forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States." Wainwright felt that41 From the manner of getting up the charges and of the formation of the court, 1 made up my mind ai once that the case was to go against him. It was necessary for the Administration ihat it should: some scapegoat had to be found for the shortcomings of their pet, Pope, and in Porter they could hit a friend of McClellan at the same time. He may have been guilty of everything charged against him, or he may have been perfectly innocent, of this I know nothing; his condemnation was a foregone conclusion/'

Porter spent the next 16 years seeking reinstatement to the US Army. Finally, a board headed by Gen, John M.Schofield exonerated Porter on 19 March 1879, and recommended his reinstatement. The current president, Republican Rutherford B.Hayes - who had actually lost the election but obtained office through political maneuvering -declined to act on the board's findings. Finally, on 4 May 1882, President Chester Arthur - a Democrat on the opposite side of the political fence from Hayes - ordered a full remission of the findings of the Porter court-martial, restoring his rank as a colonel of infantry from 14 May 1861. Porter died in Morristown, New Jersey, on 21 May 1901, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

Green Wood Cemetery Brooklyn New York

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  • eemil
    How is general john pope and general george meade?
    8 years ago
  • Fulvia
    What did general philip sheridan wear as his uniform?
    8 years ago
  • destiny scott
    What kind of hat did General George Meade Wear?
    8 years ago

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