September 16, 1863

Meade and his staff pose forphotos at the Wallach House in Culpeper, where the Army of the Potomac established its headquarters (Library of Congress).

Meade and his staff pose for a photo at the Wallach House in Culpeper, where the Army of the Potomac established its headquarters (Library of Congress).

Meade continues to fume over the newspaper article that said he had endorsed Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin in his speech when he received his presentation sword from the Pennsylvania Reserves. (See the entry for August 31.) He establishes headquarters at Culpeper Court House.

The enclosed correspondence will explain itself. The day I received Mr. Young’s letter, there was visiting at my camp the Hon. John Covode, of Pennsylvania, and Colonel Puleston, a friend of Governor Curtin. Both these gentlemen were present at the presentation and heard my remarks; both are ardent Republicans, yet they admitted they did not hear me make any reference to election day; on the contrary, admired the skill with which I praised Curtin without alluding to his political position. I do not know what Mr. Young will say or do, but it is his fault, or rather that of his reporter, and not mine, if he has been placed in a false position.

The enemy seem disposed to keep quiet the other side of the Rapidan, and to let me hold the country between that river and the Rappahannock, which I took from them on Sunday, including Culpeper Court House. I have now got as far as Pope was last year when he fought the battle of Cedar Mountain. I trust I will have better luck than he had. I am now waiting to know what they in Washington want done. Lee has certainly sent away a third of his army, but he has enough left to bother me in advancing, and though I have no doubt I can make him fall back, yet my force is insufficient to take advantage of his retiring, as I could not follow him to the fortifications of Richmond with the small army I have.

At the time Mr. Covode was here, he was accompanied by a Judge Carter, of Ohio, recently appointed Chief Judge of the new court created in the District of Columbia by the last Congress. These gentlemen spent the night with me, and I had a long talk on national affairs, and I saw what I was before pretty well convinced of, that there was not only little prospect of any adjustment of our civil war, but apparently no idea of how it was to be carried on. The draft is confessedly a failure. Instead of three hundred thousand men, it will not produce over twenty-five thousand, and they mostly worthless. There is no volunteering, and this time next year the whole of this army of veterans goes out of service, and no visible source of resupply. And yet no one seems to realize this state of affairs, but talks of going to war with England, France, and the rest of the world, as if our power was illimitable. Well, Heaven will doubtless in good time bring all things right.

Meade’s correspondence taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 2, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), p. 149. Available via Google Books.

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