Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

The Army of Northern Virginia Moves North

Who was General George B. Meade?

Meade was a little unusual in the Union Army in that he was born overseas. His father was serving as a merchant in Cádiz, Spain, when his son was born there in 1815. Meade was thoroughly American, however. He went to West Point, where he graduated in the middle of the class of 1838 and went on to a career in the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers (it was there that he met Robert E. Lee).

Meade had risen rapidly in the Army of the Potomac, but he had no outstanding success of which to boast; rather, one could say that he had not committed any untoward mistakes. Meade had been second or third in command for some time, and it came as a rude shock when he was awakened, on the night of June 28, and told that he was now the leader of the Army of the Potomac. His first response was that the command should go to Major-General John Reynolds, a good friend of his, and a man much loved by the soldiers. But there was nothing for it: he had suddenly become the commander.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App