GENERAL MEADE’S VICTORY AT GETTYSBURG. Last night, we watched the fireworks at Rowayton from Pinkney park (the home of Shakespeare on the Sound), with glimpses and echos of fireworks in neighboring towns. We kept returning to reflections on how lucky we and the country have been and how narrow the escapes. It’s the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, together considered the turning points of the Civil War. Fresh in my mind was a recent tribute to General George Meade, who won the Battle of Gettysburg, and then faded into relative obscurity. This article by Ralph Peters in the New York Post calls Meade “the hero of Gettysburg” and “the most underrated soldier in our history”. Meade was awakened in the middle of the night three days before the battle of Gettysburg began and found, to his surprise, that he had been named to command the Army of the Potomac, an army which Peters calls a “dispersed, defeated army”, an army which had lost battle after battle to Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. After the victory at Gettysburg, Meade was subjected to harsh criticism for not having pursued Lee’s army. Lincoln wrote a letter—never sent—which expressed his disappointment that Meade had not pursued Lee, but he refused Meade’s offer to resign. Meade served as the commander of the Army of the Potomac until the end of the war, although Grant became the commander of all the Northern armies. This wikipedia article shows that Meade was the commander in only one major battle: Gettysburg.

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  1. Nick says:

    The choice of taking battle at Gettysburg was also accidental – it was fortunate that some of the first Union generals on the scene were some of their more competent ones so that they could choose such excellent ground on which to entrench.

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