The Vexed Question (December 4, 1864)

In this print, titled "Grant and his Generals," George Meade does make an appearance off to Grant's right (Library of Congress).

In this print, titled “Grant and his Generals,” George Meade does make an appearance off to Grant’s right (Library of Congress).

The “vexed question” of Meade’s promotion has been settled (although he will have to wait until February before the Senate gives its official seal of approval). In his notebook entry December 4, 1864, Theodore Lyman noted, “A telegraph came from [Secretary of War Edwin] Stanton announcing to the General that he had been made a Major General in the regular army, to rank next to Sherman. Whereat he was right content.” Meade is now the country’s ’s fourth highest ranked officer, with only Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Halleck, and William T. Sherman ahead of him.

I send you a telegram from the Secretary and my reply, which will show you the vexed question is at last settled. Much of the gratification that ought justly to accompany such a reward has been destroyed by the manner of doing it; so that what might have been a graceful compliment became reduced to a simple act of justice. Well, let us be satisfied with this, and believe it was more a want of knowledge how to do such things than any unfriendly feeling which caused it.

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. 249. Available via Google Books.

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? What could be better than Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg? (You can order the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.) Or maybe a 2015 George Gordon Meade calendar–the perfect way to commemorate the general’s bicentennial year! You can get the calendar right here.

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