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Biography of George Gordon Meade


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Meade, George Gordon. General in the United States Army. Was born in Cadiz, Spain, where his father was an agent of the United States Navy, December 31, 1815. He graduated at West Point in 1835, and after serving but one year in the army, resigned to begin practice as a civil engineer. He was frequently employed by the government, and reentered its military service in 1842. He served with distinction on the staffs of Taylor and Scott in the Mexican War, and in scientific work. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was placed in command of a brigade of volunteers, soon rising to the command of a division, and joining his fortunes permanently to those of the army of the Potomac. He led his division through the Seven Days' Battle, being severely wounded at Glendale, through the Antietam Campaign, and at Fredericksburg, where he particularly distinguished himself. At Chancellorsville, he commanded the fifth corps; and when Hooker resigned the command of the army, and while the army itself was in hasty movement northward to check Lee's invasion of the North in 1863, Meade was appointed to the command. He accepted it with the greatest reluctance, and altogether from a sense of duty. He had inclined to fight on the line of Pipe Creek, to the south of Gettysburg. But Reynolds fell into collision with Lee's advance at Gettysburg, other corps hurried to support, and Gettysburg became historical. When Grant assumed general command in 1864, Meade continued to command the army of the Potomac under him, and mutual good feeling enabled them to maintain this delicate relation without friction, and with the best results. At the close of the war, being major-general in the regular army, he commanded the military division of the Atlantic until his death at Philadelphia, November 6, 1872.