George Meade

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George Gordon Meade.jpg
George Gordon Meade

Major General, USA

Born December 31, 1815
Cadiz, Spain
Died November 7, 1872 (aged 57)
Delancey Place, Philadelphia,

George Gordon Meade, known among his troops as "the goggle eyed snapping turtle," was one of the more successful union generals of the Civil War. He is most famous for leading the Union Army of the Potomac to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg, but then failing to pursue General Robert E. Lee's army after trapping them.

Early life

George Gordon Meade was born in Cadiz, Spain on December 31, 1815. At the time his father was working as an agent for the U.S. Navy. While Meade was still young his family returned to the States settling in Philadelphia. The remainder of Meade's youth was spent in moving between Baltimore and Washington as his father attempted to avoid financial ruin. Finally, in 1831 he became a cadet at West Point.

Military career

Meade graduated nineteenth in his class of 1835 and became a Lieutenant in the artillery. He was stationed in Florida where he came down with a fever as was reassigned to Massachusetts. He quickly became disillusioned with the army and in 1836 he resigned. After marrying, however, he again joined the army in 1842 and eventually fought under Winfield Scott in the Mexican War.

When the Civil War broke out he became a brigadier general in the volunteers. In 1862 his brigade was assigned to the Army of the Potomac where he saw hard fighting and received two wounds. After returning to the army he fought at such notable battles and Second Bull Run, and Antietam, and was eventually promoted to major general.

When the Confederate army under General Lee invaded Pennsylvania in 1863 Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac which, three days later, he led to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Meade retained command of the Army of the Potomac for the remainder of the war, though for most of the time he was under the direct supervision and command of General Grant. After the war he was given command of some of the military districts into which the south was divided. He died on November 7, 1872, of a combination of war wounds and pneumonia.

Camp Meade, later Fort George G. Meade, in Maryland was named after General Meade.