Sheridan (August 10, 1864)

Philip Sheridan, the bane of Meade's existence (Library of Congress).

Philip Sheridan, the bane of Meade’s existence (Library of Congress).

The Phil Sheridan situation moves from the back to the front burner and Meade simmers with indignation.

The Washington papers of yesterday announce Sheridan being temporarily assigned to the military division which Grant told me was intended for me. Grant has been back two days, and has not vouchsafed one word in explanation, and I have avoided going to see him, from a sense of self-respect, and from the fear I should not be able to restrain the indignation I hold to be natural at the duplicity some one has practiced. In my last conversation with General Grant he distinctly told me that if a military division was organized I should have the command, and that it was designed to give Sheridan only the command of that part of the Army of the Potomac temporarily detached. This order is not consistent with that statement.

To-day I got through with my evidence before the court of inquiry. Burnside, in his cross-examination, through a lawyer, undertook to impeach my testimony, though he disclaimed any such intention; but I gave him as good as he sent. I hear he was about apologizing to me for his disrespectful despatch, and was then going to resign; but on returning from Grant’s headquarters, where he expressed this intention, he found my charges and letter, saying I had applied to have him relieved. I feel sorry for Burnside, because I really believe the man half the time don’t know what he is about, and is hardly responsible for his acts.

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. 220-21 Available via Google Books.

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