The Fiendish and Malicious Attack (October 25, 1864)

Ulysses S. Grant (Library of Congress).

Ulysses S. Grant (Library of Congress).

A couple of days ago George Meade was telling his wife that he found an article about him in the New York  Independent to be “amusing” and probably not worth noticing. Maybe he really felt that way initially. In any event, it really did bother him, mainly because it questioned his standing in the eyes of Ulysses S. Grant. What did Grant think of him? It was a question that never ceased to trouble Meade, and one that Grant never quite answered to Meade’s satisfaction.

When I last wrote I told you of the fiendish and malicious attack on me in the New York Independent, Henry Ward Beecher’s paper. I enclose you the article. I also send you a correspondence I have had with General Grant upon the subject, to whom I appealed for something that would set at rest these idle and malicious reports, based on the presumption I had failed to support him and that he was anxious to get rid of me. His reply, you will perceive, which was made by telegraph, while it expresses sympathy for the injustice acknowledged to be done me, proposes to furnish me with copies of the despatches he has written in which my name has been mentioned.

The number and character of these despatches I am ignorant of; nor do I know whether I would be authorized to publish General Grant’s official despatches; but I shall await their receipt before taking any further action. This matter has worried me more than such attacks usually do, because I see no chance for the truth being made public, as it should be. However, I will not make any further comments, but leave these papers to speak for themselves. I wish you to preserve them with the other papers relating to my services.

Telegram from Grant mentioned in last letter:

Grant to Meade:

City Point, Oct. 24, 1864.

Your note by the hand of Lieut. Dunn is received. I have felt as much pained as you at the constant stabs made at you by a portion of the public press. I know nothing better to give you to use in answer to these charges than copies of every dispatch sent to Washington by me in which your name is used.

These will show at least that I have never expressed dissatisfaction at any portion of your services.

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. 236-7. Available via Google Books.

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