Son George (June 3, 1863)

Young George Meade, as he appeared when he belonged to the 6th PA Cavalry (US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, via Maj. William McKern).

Young George Meade, the general’s son, as he appeared when he belonged to the 6th PA Cavalry (US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, via Maj. William McKern).

General Meade’s second oldest son, George, was born on November 2, 1843. The son followed his father to West Point, although with less happy results: he flunked out of the military academy in 1862 after receiving too many demerits. He accepted a commission as a lieutenant in the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, an elite Philadelphia regiment known as Rush’s Lancers. The regiment received its name from its commander, Co. Richard Rush, and the long spears they carried, an archaic bit of cavalry gear that Gen. Meade called a “turkey-driving implement.” Meade reassured Margaret that their son would have “a comparatively pleasant time” in the cavalry as “we have not lost over a dozen cavalry officers since the war began.” Before the Fredericksburg campaign, Brig. Gen. George Bayard, who commanded the cavalry for Ambrose Burnside’s Left Grand Division, offered to add George to his staff, but Meade declined the offer. “I certainly believe it is better for a young officer to serve with his regiment before accepting a staff appointment,” he said. After the Chancellorsville campaign, though, Meade did add George to his own staff and doubtless found it comforting to have his son nearby.

George made his appearance this morning; he seems quite delighted with the change in his position, and particularly tickled at being made a captain. Lieutenant Colonel Webb (son of James Watson Webb), who is on my staff, has just returned from a short leave in New York. He says every one in New York is talking of the fight at Chancellorsville, and is well posted up in all its details.

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. 382. Available via Google Books.

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