The Only Exception (November 20, 1864)

"Photograph showing Generals Wesley Merritt, Philip Sheridan, George Crook, James William Forsyth, and George Armstrong Custer around a table examining a document." Click to enlarge (Library of Congress).

“Photograph showing Generals Wesley Merritt, Philip Sheridan, George Crook, James William Forsyth, and George Armstrong Custer around a table examining a document.” Click to enlarge (Library of Congress).

Meade is steaming over Philip Sheridan’s promotion to major general in the regular army, and rightly so. Adding to his insecurity are his doubts about Grant role in this. Is the general-in-chief conniving against him? Is he being sincere? This issue will continue to gnaw at Meade.

General Grant promised me he would, when in Washington, use all his influence to have justice done to me, disclaimed any agency in Sheridan’s appointment, acknowledged I was entitled to it before, and ought now to be appointed his senior; and that if he found any difficulty in Washington (which he did not anticipate) he would have me relieved. He furthermore expressed regret at not having insisted on my appointment when Sherman was appointed, and assured me my not being assigned to the Middle Military Division was accidental, as he always intended I should go there, until it was too late. Finally, he assured me, on his word of honor, he had never entertained or expressed any but the strongest feeling in my favor, and that whenever speaking or writing of me, he had expressed his appreciation of my services. Now, I believe Grant, hence my eyes are not opened by Sheridan’s appointment. He was to return to Washington to-night, spend to-morrow and perhaps the next day there, and then return here. I shall await his return and hear what he has to say.

Every other officer in this army, except myself, who has been recommended for promotion for services in this campaign has been promoted. It is rather hard I am to be the only exception to this rule.

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. 244. Available via Google Books.

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