3rd Division – George G. Meade

George G. Meade

George Meade Quotes

Last Updated March 29, 2011

With quotations by Meade first followed by others in order of the person making the quote

George G. Meade Quotes

Last Updated  March 29, 2011

With quotations by Meade first followed by others in alphabetical order of the person making the quote

“I expect to be deprived of my command; but my men’s lives are too valuable to be sacrificed for popularity.  I could not do it.”

George G. Meade

Dec 10 1863

Meade as quoted by Charles Wainwright in his journal on Dec 10 1863

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998., 308

“I must insist on being spared the inflictions of such truisms in the guise of opinions as you have recently honored me with, particularly as they were not asked for.”

George G. Meade

Oct 18 1863

Meade to Halleck

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 100

“of dollars and cents-that is of resources…in which the North, being the biggest cat and having the longest tail, ought to have the endurance to maintain the contest”

George G. Meade

Nov 24 1861

Meade describing the economics of the war in a letter to his wife

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 465

“a barrage of profanity “almost makes the stone creeps”

a lieutenant

Dec 13 1863

a lieutenant describing Meade’s profanity at Fredericksburg

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 53

“a damned goggle-eyed snapping turtle”

a soldier

a soldier describes Meade

From Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies – A Life of General Henry W. Halleck by ohn Marszalek.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,  2004. 176

“conservative and cautious to the last degree, good qualities in a defensive battle, but liable to degenerate into timidity when an aggressive or bold offensive becomes imperative.”

a soldier

Jun 30 1863

a soldier describes Meade

From Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies – A Life of General Henry W. Halleck by John Marszalek.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,  2004. 176

“had worked himself into a towering passion”

a staff officer

Meade around Spotsylvania

From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. 346

“General Meade is in the habit of violating the organic law of the army to place his personal friends in power.  There has always been a great deal of favoritism in the Army of the Potomac.  No man who is an anti-slavery man or an anti-McClellan man can expect decent treatment in that army as at present constituted. “

Abner Doubleday

Mar 1 1864

Doubleday on Meade supplanting him at Gettysburg in testimony before the Joint Committee

From Abner Doubleday A Civil War Biography by Thomas Barthel. Jefferson:  McFarland & Co., 2010. 182

[Meade] will fight well on his own dunghill

Abraham Lincoln

Jun 1863

Lincoln referring to fact that Meade was from Pennsylvania and battle would be fought there

From Fighting Joe Hooker Walter H. Hebert. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. 245

“I am sorry to lose General Meade from this corps, for I look upon him as one of our very best generals;”

Charles S. Wainright

Dec 25 1862

Wainwright on the appointment of Meade to the command of the Fifth Corps

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 147

“He is a West Pointer and major of Engineers; a fine soldierly, somewhat stiff-looking man, and the most thoroughbred gentleman in his manners I have yet met within the army.  I do not know whether he will retain command of the corps, but doubt it as there are so many senior to him.”

Charles S. Wainright

Sep 21 1862

Wainwright’s early impression of Meade who temporarily commands First Corps

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 105

“From what I had seen of Meade during the three days I was at Chancellorsville, and from my previous knowledge of him, I had given him the preference, and was glad to find that there were others, good judges, who agreed with me.”

Charles S. Wainright

May 6 1863

Wainwright speculation on the replacement for Hooker after Chancellorsville

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 207

“Meade talked very plainly, and getting mad, damned Hooker very freely; so much so that he, Webb, cleared out and called off the rest of the staff, fearing that a court martial might ensure.  He says that Meade’s temper is intolerable.”

Charles S. Wainright

Jun 12 1863

Wainwright reporting of a confrontation between Hooker and Meade as reported by Alexander Webb

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 224

“Meade was my candidate for Hooker’s successor….believing him to have the longest and clearest head of any general officer in this army.”

Charles S. Wainright

Jun 28 1863

Wainwrights’s view on Meade as the successor of Hooker

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 227

“Perhaps I am wrong in doing so now, but I do feel most decidedly that he has been over cautious today.”

Charles S. Wainright

Nov 8 1863

Wainwright on Meade’s actions at Brandy Station

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 300

“Meade does not mean to be ugly, but he cannot control his infernal temper.”

Charles S. Wainright

Dec 2 1863

Wainwright on Meade’s temper

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 306

“Meade was one of our most dreaded foes; he was always in deadly earnest and he eschewed all trifling.”

D.H. Hill

Hill referring to Meade at the Battle of South Mountain.  Hill, Daniel H.  “The Battle of South Mountain or Boonsboro”  Battles and Leaders 2:574

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 39

“With his saber drawn, he rode among his units, exhorting the men despite the severe, though not mortal, wounding of his favorite horse, Baldy, and a deep bruise on his thigh caused by a piece of Confederate grapeshot.”

Ethan Rafuse

From his book George G. Meade and the War in the East describing Meade at Antietam

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 43

“You astound me with the rumor that Genl. Meade is to be removed.  Great Scott!  What do the authorities want?…Candidly, we feel every confidence in Meade, and if anyone succeeds him but McClellan, the dissatisfaction will be intense.”

Francis A. Donaldson

Oct 22 1863

Donaldson in a letter to his brother.  Donaldson, Inside the Army of the Potomac:  The Civil War Experience of Cpatain Francis Adams Donaldson, ed J. Gregory Acken (Mechanicsbur, PA:  Stackpole. 1998) 371

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 101

“rather a ‘smooth bore’ than a rifle”

Gideon Welles

Welles describing George Meade

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 465

“the personification of earnest vigorous action…He sent rousing dispatches to all points of the line, and paced up and down upon the field as he watched the progress of operations…and if he was severe in his reprimands and showed faults of temper he certainly displayed no faults as a commander.”

Horace Porter

Jun 16 1864

Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 209

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 137

“decidedly peppery, and went far toward confirming one’s belief in the wealth and flexibility of the English language as a medium of personal dispute.”

Horace Porter

Jul 30 1864

Argument between Burnside and Meade after the debacle at the Crater.  Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 267

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 142

“I doubt him.  He is an engineer.”

John Hay

Jul 14 1863

Hay’s concern about Meade’s apparent failure to pursue and attack Lee after Gettysburg

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983. 468

“Meade, will commit no blunder in my front, and if I make one he will make haste to take advantage.”

Robert E. Lee

Lee upon learning of Meade’s assumption of Army command.  Emory M. Thomas, Robert E. Lee:  A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995) 293

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 71

“What are you doing with all that grey in your beard?”

Robert E. Lee

April 1865

Lee to Meade at Appomattox.  Lyman  Meade’s Headquarters

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003. 164

“General Meade has more than met my most sanguine expectations.  He and Sherman are the fittest officers for large commands I have come in contact with.”

U.S. Grant

May 13 1864

Grant in a letter to Halleck on May 13 1864

From A Diary of Battle The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainright 1861-1865 by Charles S. Wainwright edited by Allan Nevins. New York:  De Capo Press, 1998. 372

“Meade and I are in close contact in the field: he is capable and perfectly subordinate, and by attending to the details, he relieves me of much unnecessary work, and give me more time to mature my general plans.”

U.S. Grant

May 13 1864

Grant to Edwin Stanton, in Grant Memoirs 2:478

From George Gordon Meade and the War in the East by Ethan S. Rause.  Abilene:  McWhiney Founation Press, 2003.

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