All Biographies

You are here: Home > Major-General George Gordon Meade, U.S.A.                                                                                   

Major-General George Gordon Meade, U.S.A.

Major-General George Gordon Meade was born at Cadiz, Spain, December 31, 1815, his father, Richard W. Meade, being at that time U. S. naval agent there. His grandfather, George Meade, a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia, had contributed liberally for the support of the Revolutionary army. The grandson graduated at the Military Academy in 1835, and entered the artillery service. He participated in the war against the hostile Seminole Indians, in Florida, but resigned in October, 1836, and became a civil engineer. He was engaged in a survey of the mouths of the Mississippi; and afterwards on the boundary line of Texas, and on that of Maine.

In 1842 he re-entered the army as second lieutenant of topographical engineers, and during the Mexican War he served with distinction on the staffs of Generals Taylor and Scott. He was afterwards employed in light-house construction, and on the geodetic survey of the great lakes.

In August, 1861, he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and commanded the Second Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps.

In McClellan's Peninsular campaign, Meade fought at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Glendale, being severely wounded in the latter engagement, Second Bull Run. He afterwards commanded a division at Antietam, and when General Hooker was wounded there, succeeded temporarily to the command of the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

General Meade was appointed major-general of volunteers, and in December, 1862, led the attack which broke through the right of Lee's line at Fredericksburg, but, not being supported, was obliged to fall back. He was placed in command of the Fifth Corps, and, though much esteemed by General Hooker, was not called into action at Chancellorsville.

On the 28th of June, 1863, after Lee had crossed the Potomac, on his way to Pennsylvania, President Lincoln placed General Meade in chief command of the Army of the Potomac, then hastening to oppose Lee, wherever the two armies should strategically meet. This occurred at the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and after three days of severe fighting, the Confederate army, under its ablest leader, was forced to retreat into Virginia. For this victory he was made a brigadier-general in the regular army.

In the spring of 1864, Lieutenant-General Grant being placed in command of all the Union armies, General Meade entered the field with the Army of the Potomac. He, however, still retained the immediate command of this army till the close of the war, discharging the duties of his difficult and delicate position to the entire satisfaction of General Grant. In the bloody battle of the Wilderness, and the subsequent campaign, the Army of the Potomac suffered severely.

In June, 1864, it was transferred to the south side of the James, in order to capture Petersburg, the main defense of Richmond on that side; but General Lee saved the place by prompt reinforcements. The siege of Petersburg lasted ten months, and at its close Richmond had to be evacuated, and General Lee, after being pursued from Petersburg to Appomattox Court-House, with constant and severe fighting, surrendered April 9, 1865.

General Meade was appointed major-general U. S. Army August 18, 1864.

After the war, General Meade had command of the Military Division of the Atlantic until August, 1866, when he took command of the Department of the East.

He received the thanks of Congress, January 28, 1866, "for the skill and heroic valor which, at Gettysburg, repelled, defeated, and drove back-broken and dispirited beyond the Rappahannock, the veteran army of the Rebellion."

General Meade was subsequently placed in command of the military district comprising Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, with head-quarters at Atlanta. He died in Philadelphia November 6, 1872. His fellow-citizens of that city had presented him with a house, and after his death raised a fund of one hundred thousand dollars for his family.

General Meade had the degree of Doctor of Laws conferred on him by Harvard College, Massachusetts, in 1865. He was a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

Related Links:




Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.