Meade, George Gordon

Meade, George Gordon, 1815–72, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Cádiz, Spain. Graduated from West Point in 1835, he resigned from the army the next year and became a civil engineer. In 1842, Meade reentered the army in the corps of topographical engineers. He served in the Mexican War and on various engineering projects. In the Civil War he was made a brigadier general of volunteers (Aug., 1861). In the Seven Days battles (1862), he was severely wounded at Frayser's Farm (or Glendale), but he recovered in time to lead his brigade ably at the second battle of Bull Run. In the Antietam campaign, in the battle of Fredericksburg (1862), and in the battle of Chancellorsville (1863) he distinguished himself further. Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863. Several days later he won the important battle of Gettysburg (see Gettysburg campaign). This brought him a brigadier generalcy in the regular army. He was criticized, however, for not following up his victory. Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac until the end of the war, but Ulysses S. Grant really directed his army in the Wilderness campaign and subsequent operations. He was promoted to major general in the regular army on Grant's recommendation in Aug., 1864. After the war Meade commanded various military departments.

See G. Meade, The Life and Letters of General George Gordon Meade (2 vol., 1913); biography by F. Cleaves (1960).

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