The monument to Major General George Gordon Meade is south of Gettysburg on Cemetery Ridge. (Hancock Avenue at The Angle or Hancock Avenue at Ziegler’s Grove tour maps) The monument was dedicated by the State of Pennsylvania on June 5, 1896.
Meade was ordered to take 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.
About the monument
The monument features General Meade seated on his horse, Old Baldy. He is looking out over the field where Pickett’s Charge was turned back in what would come to be called the high water mark of the Confederacy. When the State of Virginia monument was built some twenty years later a mile away across the field, its statue of Robert E. Lee looks back at Meade. The two army commanders face each other across eternity.
Sculptor Henry K. Bush-Brown created the statue, which was cast in Philadelphia’s Bureau Brothers Foundary. Bush-Brown also created the equestrian statues of Generals Reynolds and Sedgwick at Gettysburg as well as the bust of Lincoln on the Lincoln Speech Memorial. Meade’s statue cost $37,500. It is over 11 feet tall and stands on a pedestal that is almost 8 feet high.
Old Baldy was a cavalry mount ridden by General David Hunter at the Battle of Bull Run. He was wounded there but returned to service. Meade purchased him in the fall of 1861.
Meade rode Old Baldy at Gettysburg. The horse was wounded on July 2nd by a ball that entered his stomach after passing through Meade’s trouser leg within a half inch of his thigh. Old Baldy again survived, but after another wound he was considered unfit for service in August of 1864, and Meade sent him back to Philadelphia for a well-deserved retirement. Old Baldy did so well in his retirement that Meade resumed riding him after the war. The horse survived the general by ten years, taking part in Meade’s funeral procession in 1872 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.
Location of the monument to George Meade at Gettysburg
The monument to Major General George G. Meade at Gettysburg is on Cemetery Ridge on the east side of Hancock Avenue. It is about 175 yards northeast of the Copse of Trees. (39°48’50.0″N 77°14’05.3″W)