On to Richmond (May 1, 1865)

A Currier & Ives print fro 1862 depicts Henry Halleck in a heroic pose (Library of Congress).

A Currier & Ives print fro 1862 depicts Henry Halleck in a heroic pose (Library of Congress).

The Army of the Potomac prepares to move north. George Meade wrote this letter from the Virginia town of Burkeville. No doubt Meade felt a degree of schadenfreude at the short life of the Military Division of the James (which will actually exist until June). He had complained bitterly when Henry Halleck took command of the division and relocated from Washington to Richmond, putting “Old Brains” directly over Meade. In August, Halleck will receive command of the Military Division of the Pacific and depart for San Francisco.

We are under marching orders for Alexandria, via Richmond, so the grand military division of the James, including the Army of the Potomac, has just existed about one week. I presume this army is ordered to Alexandria, as a preliminary measure to its disbandment.

I shall leave here to-morrow for Richmond, and after spending a day or two there, putting the army en route for Alexandria, shall proceed to that point, which I expect to reach before the middle of the month. I will write you from Richmond.

George and myself are both well, and greatly delighted with the idea of getting so near home as Washington, with the hope that, whatever turns up, I shall be able to spend a little time at home.

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. 277. Available via Google Books.

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