Sat, 19 Feb|
Meade After Gettysburg
Andy Waskie follows up last year's popular appearance as General Meade with a look at his career following his greatest victory. Meade remained in command of the Army of the Potomac through to the end of the war. Many seem to forget this fact, however.
Time & Location
19 Feb 2022, 13:00 – 15:00 GMT
About the Event
Meade’s victory at Gettysburg was a remarkable achievement. In a matter of just a few days, he had taken command of the Army of the Potomac, 90,000 strong, and led it to victory in the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought in North America. Yet Meade was criticized after Gettysburg. Lee was able to escape back into Virginia, and the war continued.
In March 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and given command of all Union armies. Grant came to the Eastern Theatre to fight against Lee in Virginia, causing many to believe he replaced Meade. Instead, Grant simply oversaw Meade, giving him specific orders. Essentially, this minimized Meade's role in the 1864 fighting. That year, Grant used Meade's Army of the Potomac to bludgeon Lee in Virginia. In May and June, during the Overland Campaign, the two armies met in a series of fierce and bloody battles, losing over 80,000 casualties combined in a few weeks time. By mid-summer, the two armies settled into a siege at Petersburg, just south of the Confederate capital. The long Petersburg Campaign lasted into April 1865, when Grant and Meade finally broke through Confederate lines. Richmond soon fell, and on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. While Grant is credited with these victories, they would not have been possible without Meade's effective handling of the Army of the Potomac.
On May 23, 1865, Meade led the Army of the Potomac through the streets of Washington in the Grand Review. Thousands came to cheer the army and its commander to celebrate the end of the Civil War. Meade lived for several years after the war, dying in 1872 from complications of his old war wounds. He was buried in Philadelphia. While he was overshadowed by Grant in the last year of the war, Meade is still remembered today for his heroic leadership at Gettysburg, one of the most important Union victories of the war.
About the Speaker
Anthony (Andy) Waskie was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and pursued a Languages/History major at Bloomsburg University. He studied abroad at Salzburg, Austria, and at Charles University, Prague. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University and performed duty with the Army Reserves as a language specialist. He taught for thirty years in public education and is now professor of Languages and History at Temple University, where he co-founded the Civil War & Emancipation Studies program. As a Civil War historian, he has written a number of articles and research papers, as well as four books on Civil War Era History. His concentration is on Pennsylvania related subjects, the life and career of Gen. George G. Meade, and the history of the Civil War era veterans’ organizations, such as the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member of the Union League and founded the Union League Civil War Round Table in 2002. He is also the founder and president of the General Meade Society of Philadelphia, historian at the G.A.R. Museum & Library and Laurel Hill Cemetery. He serves on many history related boards and institutions in Philadelphia.
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