A Strong Denial (April 1, 1864)

Daniel Butterfield has one of the most elaborate tombs in the Military Academy at West Point's cemetery. Unlike Meade, Butterfield did not go to school here (Tom Huntington photo).

Daniel Butterfield has one of the most elaborate tombs in the Military Academy at West Point’s cemetery. Unlike Meade, Butterfield did not go to school here (Tom Huntington photo).

Meade’s troubles in Washington continue, as he testifies before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War about Daniel Butterfield’s accusations that Meade had asked him to prepare orders for the retreat of the army from Gettysburg. While Meade was willing to admit he may have asked Butterfield to familiarize himself with the local roads in case a retreat became necessary, he strongly denied that he had anything else in mind. He vehemently refuted Butterfield’s implications that he had planned to retreat from Gettysburg. “I utterly deny, under the full solemnity and sanctity of my oath, and in the firm conviction that the day will come when the secrets of all men shall be made known—I utterly deny every having intended or thought, for one instant, to withdraw that army, unless the military contingencies which the future should develop during the course of the day might render it a matter of necessity that the army should be withdrawn,” he said.

I came up yesterday with Grant, am going to-day before the committee to answer Dan Butterfield’s falsehoods. Shall return tomorrow. I am all right, and every one is most civil to me. I will write more fully on my return.

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. 186. Available via Google Books.

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