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Meade's Best Battle or Campaign?

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  • Meade's Best Battle or Campaign?

    (Once again.. I meant a poll but I accidentally hit enter on the keyboard. Human error)

    The man who beat Lee at Gettysburg, George Meade served well in subordinate roles as well before he assumed command of the Army of the Potomac in 1863, a command he held until the end of the war.

    What, in your opinion, is Meade's best battlefield performance or campaign, and why?

    1. Battle of Glendale
    2. Battle of Second Manassas
    3. Battle of South Mountain
    4. Battle of Antietam
    5. Battle of Fredericksburg
    6. Gettysburg Battle and Campaign
    7. Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns
    8. Overland Campaign
    Last edited by semperpietas; 23 Dec 12, 19:11.
    "Hit hard when you start, but don't start until you have everything ready." - Lt. Gen. James Longstreet

    Pyrrhus Travels West:
    Hanno the Infamous, General of Carthage, Rb Mhnt of Sicily

  • #2
    Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Meade's actions in several of those battles. I am less impressed with Meade's performance at Gettysburg(which was excellent) than I am with his performance over the next week following that battle. After the battle, Meade owned a victorious but battered army. He had to not only find Lee's route of retreat, but also re-equip and rearm and move out in 48 hours. Meade was able to keep on Lee's heels right up until Lee fortified his position along the Potomac.

    Most importantly I think, Meade was careful not to lunge at Lee blindly during pursuit and not fall to intense political pressure to attack lee on the river. Meade waited for his Corps to arrive and deploy. As he prepared to attack, Lee withdrew.

    I think sometimes its harder to maneuver an army and bring it to battle than to actually fight it. I'm not sure many other generals could have moved that army so quickly and skillfully while avoiding the desire to attack a withdrawing foe peicemeal when that foe is prepared for just that.

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    • #3
      I could not have said it any better, Mike. Well stated.
      "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

      Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Eric Wittenberg View Post
        I could not have said it any better, Mike. Well stated.
        Well, to be fair, you did: "one continuous fight". I should have cited to it frankly.

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        • #5
          Will have to go with Gettysburg Battle and campaign. Have to agree with Mike's statements. I would have went with the Overland Campaign except I believe Grant was calling the shots. It's a shame for Meade that he really does not get a lot of credit for a job well done in an almost impossible situation command wise.
          Is she crying? There's no crying in baseball.

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          • #6
            this is one of those questions that really doesn't have many choices for an answer besides Gettysburg.

            Meade was second fiddle or third bass the rest of the time.
            his name pops up but not as the protagonist.

            I would say he occupied the same position as Thomas, relative to the dynamic duo who received most of the ink
            Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason.

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            • #7
              I would have to go with Gettysburg. I'd have to admit I don't know of Meade's actions in some of the battles list above and as midaeu pointed out by the time of the Overland Campaign, Grant seems to of been calling the shots.
              "There is no justice among men."- Tsar Nicholas II

              “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.” - Otto Von Bismarck

              "It is always easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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              • #8
                Same here, but I think Meade wouldn't have had the casualties at Wilderness- he was much more familiar with it than Grant and his staff...
                I know it is a big what if, but if Meade would've had the extra help and manpower Grant did, he would have pushed Lee just as fast.
                I have always thought if Grant had just taken command of the army instead of Butler, he would have got there faster.

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                • #9
                  ..and left Meade to direct the AOP, Lee would have had no choice but to backtrack to Richmond.

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                  • #10
                    Good point. That would have been a great way to negate Butlers deficiencies without removing him from command.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mikeck View Post
                      Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Meade's actions in several of those battles. I am less impressed with Meade's performance at Gettysburg(which was excellent) than I am with his performance over the next week following that battle. After the battle, Meade owned a victorious but battered army. He had to not only find Lee's route of retreat, but also re-equip and rearm and move out in 48 hours. Meade was able to keep on Lee's heels right up until Lee fortified his position along the Potomac.

                      Most importantly I think, Meade was careful not to lunge at Lee blindly during pursuit and not fall to intense political pressure to attack lee on the river. Meade waited for his Corps to arrive and deploy. As he prepared to attack, Lee withdrew.

                      I think sometimes its harder to maneuver an army and bring it to battle than to actually fight it. I'm not sure many other generals could have moved that army so quickly and skillfully while avoiding the desire to attack a withdrawing foe peicemeal when that foe is prepared for just that.
                      Vote the same.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mikeck View Post
                        Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Meade's actions in several of those battles. I am less impressed with Meade's performance at Gettysburg(which was excellent) than I am with his performance over the next week following that battle. After the battle, Meade owned a victorious but battered army. He had to not only find Lee's route of retreat, but also re-equip and rearm and move out in 48 hours. Meade was able to keep on Lee's heels right up until Lee fortified his position along the Potomac.

                        Most importantly I think, Meade was careful not to lunge at Lee blindly during pursuit and not fall to intense political pressure to attack lee on the river. Meade waited for his Corps to arrive and deploy. As he prepared to attack, Lee withdrew.

                        I think sometimes its harder to maneuver an army and bring it to battle than to actually fight it. I'm not sure many other generals could have moved that army so quickly and skillfully while avoiding the desire to attack a withdrawing foe peicemeal when that foe is prepared for just that.
                        Do you give the same credit to McClellan during the Antietam campaign?

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                        • #13
                          Gettysburg simply because he shattered Lee's invincible reputation once and for all. The immense pressure of scoring a victory when all your predecessors were thrashed one after the other due to being incompetent is notable factor there as well. The follow up after the victory was good as well. It wasn't as aggressive as Lincoln wanted but it did the job of keeping Lee on the run.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikeck View Post
                            Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Meade's actions in several of those battles. I am less impressed with Meade's performance at Gettysburg(which was excellent) than I am with his performance over the next week following that battle. After the battle, Meade owned a victorious but battered army. He had to not only find Lee's route of retreat, but also re-equip and rearm and move out in 48 hours. Meade was able to keep on Lee's heels right up until Lee fortified his position along the Potomac.

                            Most importantly I think, Meade was careful not to lunge at Lee blindly during pursuit and not fall to intense political pressure to attack lee on the river. Meade waited for his Corps to arrive and deploy. As he prepared to attack, Lee withdrew.

                            I think sometimes its harder to maneuver an army and bring it to battle than to actually fight it. I'm not sure many other generals could have moved that army so quickly and skillfully while avoiding the desire to attack a withdrawing foe peicemeal when that foe is prepared for just that.
                            ...and where Lee positioned himself (btween the Rapidan and Rapp. rivers) meant Meade needed more men to pattrol and make crossings- men the AOP didn't have until next year when Grant arrived.

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