Major General George Meade was given command of the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg when General Joseph Hooker abruptly resigned. Before that Meade had been in command of the army’s Fifth Corps.
The monument of General Meade seated on his horse, Old Baldy, was created by Henry K. Bush-Brown, who also created the equestrian statues of Generals Reynolds and Sedgwick at Gettysburg as well as the bust of Lincoln on the Lincoln Speech Memorial.
Old Baldy was a cavalry mount ridden by General David Hunter at the Battle of Bull Run. Despite being wounded there, he returned to service and was purchased by Meade in fall of 1861.
Meade rode Old Baldy at Gettysburg, where the horse was wounded on July 2nd by a ball that entered his stomach after passing through Meade’s trouser leg and within a half inch of his thigh. Old Baldy again survived, but by August of 1864 and after another wound he was considered unfit for service, and Meade sent him back to Philadelphia for a well-deserved retirement. Old Baldy did so well, however, that Meade resumed riding him after the war, and the horse survived the general by ten years, taking part in Meade’s funeral procession as the riderless horse. Old Baldy died in 1882.
From the tablet on the right side of the monument:
Major General George Gordon Meade
United States Army
Commander of the Army of the Potomac
Born-December 31 1815 Died-November 6 1872
From the tablet on the left side of the monument:
Cadet U.S.M.A. Sept 1,1831; Brevet Second Lieut. 3d U.S. Artillery July 1, 1835; Second Lieut. December 31, 1835; Resigned and honorably discharged October 26, 1836; Second Lieut. Topographical Engineers May 19, 1842; First Lieut. August 4, 1851; Captain May 19, 1856; “For fourteen years continuous service” Major July 18, 1862 (Merged into Corps of Engineers March 3, 1863); Vacated commission July 3, 1863 Brig.-General U.S. Army July 3, 1863; Major General August 18, 1864. Brevetted First Lieut. U.S. Army September 23, 1846, “For Gallant Conduct in the Several Conflicts at Monterey, Mexico,” Brig.-General U.S. Volunteers August 31, 1861; Major-General November 29, 1862; Vacated commission in volunteer service December 6, 1864. The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled resolved (joint resolution approved January 28, 1864) “That the gratitude of the American people and the thanks of their representatives in Congress are due, and are hereby tendered ** To Major-General George G. Meade ** and the officers and soldiers of that army (Army of the Potomac) for the skill and heroic valor which at Gettysburg repulsed, defeated, and drove back, broken and dispirited, beyond the Rappahannock, the veteran army of the rebellion.