A Pleasant Journey (February 28, 1865)

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (Library of Congress).

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (Library of Congress).

George Meade writes home to his grieving wife once he has returned to the army after a short stop in Washington. The generals he mentions are Edward Ord, who had replaced Benjamin Butler in command of the Army of the James, and Frank Wheaton, who had a division in the VI Corps. The Secretary is Edwin Stanton.

After writing to you yesterday I saw the Secretary, who was as usual very kind. He apologized for ordering me away when he did, and said he had forgotten dear Sergeant’s sickness, and some telegrams coming from Ord he did not like, he thought, in Grant’s absence, I had better be there. He wanted me to stay in Washington over night, but I declined, when he directed a special steamer to be got ready to take me at seven in the evening. From the Department I went to the Capitol, where I saw Mr. Cowan and Judge Harris. They both said they would see that the same number of copies of the proceedings of the court of inquiry were ordered to be printed as had been ordered of the committee’s report.

I had a pleasant journey, there being no one on board but General Wheaton and myself. We reached City Point at 1 p.m. to-day. I spent two hours with General Grant, reaching my headquarters about half-past four this afternoon.

I find we have not been attacked, and Petersburg has not been evacuated, although I should judge there had been a stampede ever since I left, and that both contingencies had been expected. It has been raining, I am told, nearly all the time I have been absent, and the roads are in an awful condition.

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. 265. Available via Google Books.

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