Meade of Gettysburg (Paperback)
University of Oklahoma Press, 9780806122984, 412pp.
Publication Date: January 25, 1960
List Price: 19.95*
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General George Gordon Meade is best known to history as the commander of the victorious Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the greatest battle of the Civil War. In his own lifetime meager credit was allotted him for his achievement at Gettysburg, for his long pursuit of General Robert E. Lee into Virginia, and for the furious marches his men were forced into both before and after Gettysburg, until, finally, -in the vicinity of Appomattox Courthouse, he again held the upper hand. And since his death in 1872, frequent criticism has been meted out to him for not following up the victory his troops accomplished. In this account of the man and his achievements, Freeman Cleaves has attempted to sift the truth from War Office archives and records, from private and public documents, to assess fairly the value of his services. The fourth-ranking officer in the Federal Army at the end of the Civil War, Meade was one of that small corps of professional soldiers who ably conducted campaigns both North and South. A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, he was a member of the far-famed Army Topographical Engineers, and served under General Taylor in the Mexican War. Plain-spoken, restless, and impatient, he was a familiar figure close to the front in many major Civil War battles, where his sound generalship won the respect of his troops and fellow officers, though Grant later, almost incomprehensibly, gave preferment to Sheridan. Here, then, is not only a picture of the man in full round, but also a stimulating account of the strategies behind the important Civil War battles in which Meade distinguished himself: the Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness Campaign. Every student of Civil War history will want to meet the man who stopped Lee. Freeman Cleaves, who is also the author of Rock of Chickamauga: The Life of General George H. Thomas (University of Oklahoma Press), was a member of the editorial staff of Financial World) but his avocation for many years has been research in American history, especially Civil War history. Mr. Cleaves was educated in Bates College, the University of New Hampshire, and Harvard University. "This study is the first full-length biography of Meade in a generation. Scholarly and judicious, the author confines his attention largely to the headquarters of the army, the men in the ranks, the people behind the lines and the politicians come in for scant treatment. The result is a penetrating study of Meade and of the other commanders of the Army of the Potomac. So skillfully is the story written that one experiences with Meade his triumphs and his frustrations."--World Affairs "In this book Mr. Cleaves does much to give George Gordon Meade his proper niche in history. It is the best book on Gen. Meade yet published. It is well-written, honest, good history and handsomely done up the University of Oklahoma Press."--Army Times "Meade of Gettysburg is no one-sided brief. Rather, it is a thoroughly researched, well-written, objective study of the man's entire military career, including his part in the Mexican War, his peacetime work with the topographical engineers, and his short postwar role as an army commander in the occupied South."--Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.