Welcome News (February 15, 1863)

After weeks of fruitlessly waiting for Hooker to give him permission to go home to Philadelphia on leave, Meade finally received the okay from Joseph Hooker to head north. That was good news for Meade but bad news for historians, as it means there is a gap in his correspondence until he returns to the army later in the month. I assume the General Morrell to whom Meade refers is Maj. Gen. George Morell, a New Yorker who commanded the 1st Division of the 5th Corps until he was replaced by Daniel Butterfield. Morell had been close to Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, one of George McClellan’s most loyal subordinates and the man Maj. Gen. John Porter had court martialed after Second Bull Run. This did not help Morell’s career.

I thought this afternoon I would not have to write to you, for I got a note from Hooker, saying he could spare me for seven days and telling me to apply. I immediately did so, sending in the same application which he had twice refused. At the same time I wrote to him, that I did not desire to go, if there was the slightest reason to believe I should be wanted. It will be too much happiness to get home for a few days and be with you and the dear children.

Maj. Gen. George Morell.

Maj. Gen. George Morell.

I have had an application from young [William] Jay, of New York, to come upon my staff, as an extra aide. He was appointed an additional aide-de-camp at the time the law authorized such appointments, and has been serving with General Morrell. That officer having been deprived of his command, Captain Jay has applied to me. I told him, if the War Department would assign him, I should be glad to have him.

Meade’s letter taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 1, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), pp. 354-355. Available via Google Books.

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