Continuing Silence (December 11, 1863)

In this image taken at Cold Harbor in 1864, Winfield Scott Hancock (seated) poses with (left to right) Francis Barlow, David Birney, and John Gibbon. Prior to Ulysses S. Grant's promotion to general-in-chief, Birney had supported efforts to get Joe Hooker returned to command of the Army of the Potomac (Library of Congress).

Two officers Meade mentions in his December 11 letter appear in this image taken at Cold Harbor in 1864. Winfield Scott Hancock (seated) poses with (left to right) Francis Barlow, David Birney, and John Gibbon. Prior to Ulysses S. Grant’s promotion to general-in-chief, Birney had supported efforts to get Joe Hooker returned to command of the Army of the Potomac (Library of Congress).

Time passes and still Meade hears nothing from Washington after his failed Mine Run Campaign. As he frets, Meade speculates about potential successors. Joe Hooker, of course, was his predecessor as commander of the Army of the Potomac and there was a movement afoot to have Fighting Joe return to command. Thomas is George Thomas, who had received the nickname of “The Rock of Chickamauga” after his stand at that September battle helped prevent the complete rout of William Rosecrans’ army. Gibbon is John Gibbon, who commanded a division of the II Corps (and at times the entire II Corps) at Gettysburg. Winfield Scott Hancock had been the II Corps commander when not in charge of other corps as well as his own. Like Gibbon, he had been wounded on the third day at Gettysburg.

I have not heard a word from Washington, but from what I see in the papers, and what I hear from officers returning from Washington, I take it my supersedure is decided upon, and the only question is who is to succeed me. I understand the President and Secretary Chase are very anxious to bring Hooker back; but Halleck and Stanton will undoubtedly oppose this. A compromise may perhaps be made by bringing Thomas here, and giving Hooker Thomas’s army.

I have very kind letters from Gibbon and Hancock, both hoping I will not be relieved, and each saying they had not lost a particle of confidence in me. Many officers in the army have expressed the same feeling, and I really believe the voice of the army will sustain me. This, though, goes for nothing in Washington. I will not go to Washington to be snubbed by these people; they may relieve me, but I will preserve my dignity.

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), pp. 160-1. Available via Google Books.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: