Fathers and Sons (May 17, 1865)

Meade wrote his letter  of May 17, 1863 to his oldest son, John Sergeant. We hear more about his son George than we do of John Sergeant, mainly because the eldest son’s health kept him out of the military. Over the next year and a half Meade’s letters home to his wife will become increasingly concerned about John Sergeant, because the boy suffered from tuberculosis and would suffer declining health until his death in February 1865.

There is nothing specially new here. We have lost many men by the casualties of the recent battle, and many more since by reason of the expiration of service. In the meantime, the enemy have been largely reinforced from the army recently on the Blackwater. Under these circumstances I don’t see how we can advance without additional troops, and as yet I do not hear of any coming. Still, the talk is that we are to move very soon. Yesterday I went to see General Stoneman and Lieutenant Colonel Smith, to thank them for their kindness to George, which I did, and said a great many fine things on the part of your mother. Stoneman said he was afraid George would have considered him rough and harsh, as he had to change him in a dark, rainy night from a buggy to a wagon, in a great hurry, and had to speak very sharply. I told him that George remembered nothing but his exceeding kindness.

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. 376-7. Available via Google Books.

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