Courtesy Call (March 30, 1863)

When Meade’s fellow generals passed through Philadelphia they often paid visits to Margaret Meade. Her husband always appreciated such courtesy and often mentioned the visits in his letters. Here he’s writing about William Franklin, the embattled former head of the VI Corps, who had become the target of a Congressional inquiry over his actions at Fredericksburg.

An Alfred Waud drawing of General William Franklin (Library of Congress).

An Alfred Waud drawing of General William Franklin (Library of Congress).

I am truly glad to hear Franklin called to see you. I am sure you will bear testimony to the respect and good feeling I have always expressed towards Franklin, and my earnest desire to avoid being drawn into the controversy between himself and Burnside. I think Franklin missed a great chance at Fredericksburg, and I rather infer from his letter that he thinks so now; but I have always said he was hampered by his orders and a want of information as to Burnside’s real views and plans. A great captain would have cast them aside and assumed responsibility. At the same time I must say that he knew and I know that if he had failed, then his going beyond his orders would prove utter ruin.

Deserters from the other side say the men are really suffering from the want of sufficient food, but that their spirit is undaunted, and that they are ready to fight. The morale of our army is better than it ever was, so you may look out for tough fighting next time.

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), p. 362. Available via Google Books.

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