Its Usual Malice (February 11, 1865)

A Meade bronze at the Union League. I am assuming this is the work of Franklin Simmons.

A Meade bronze at the Union League. I am assuming this is the work of Franklin Simmons.

Once again, George Meade takes issue with the press, this time over an account of the fighting known today as the Battle of Hatcher’s Run. He would have been well advised, I think, to have avoided reading newspapers altogether.

The Willie to whom Meade refers is his wife’s brother. He will not survive the war.

I assume the sculptor Meade mentions is Franklin Simmons. Born in Maine, Simmons sculpted the equestrian statue of Gen. John A. Logan that stands in the circle in Washington, D.C., that bears the general’s name. He was also commissioned to do a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and met with the president about it on the day before Lincoln’s assassination. His bronze medallion of Meade (as well as those of other generals) is in the Union League in Philadelphia. There’s more about Simmons here.

I see the Tribune, with its usual malice, charges the recent movement as a failure, and puts the blame on me. I told Grant, before the movement was made, it would be misunderstood and called a failure. But he promised to telegraph to Washington what we intended to do, thinking by this to avoid this misapprehension. His telegram, if he sent one, was never published, nor has any of his or my telegrams to him about the affair been made public. Now, the facts of the case are that I accomplished a great deal more than was designed, and though the Fifth Corps at one time was forced back, yet we repulsed the enemy the day before, had been driving him all that day, and the next day drove him into his works, and on the whole the success was with us. It is rather hard under these circumstances to be abused; but I suppose I must make up my mind to be abused by this set, never mind what happens,

Willie’s regiment was in the thickest of the fight and suffered severely, but I believe behaved very well.

There is now here an artist in bronze, of the name of Simmons, who is sculpturing a life-size head of me, of which he intends casting a medallion in bronze. His work is pronounced excellent, and he promises to present you a copy, so you will have your Meade art gallery increased. Grant is still away.

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. 262-3. Available via Google Books.

paperback scanThe paperback edition of Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg is now available! You can purchase it through Stackpole Books, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. And don’t forget the 2015 George Meade seminar on February 15. Click here for more details.

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