George Meade graduated from West Point in 1835, served in the Seminole War, and reached the rank of second lieutenant before working as a civil engineer for the United States government. Meade rejoined the army before the Mexican American War and remained as a topographical engineer, eventually becoming head of the entire survey of the Great Lakes. In 1861 he received command of a Pennsylvania brigade. In a series of increasingly important posts he fought in many important battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. After Joseph Hooker's abrupt resignation, Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac in June 1863, three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, where his victory over Robert E. Lee marked the turning point of the war, though many critics faulted Meade for failing to pursue the Confederate army after the battle. Ulysses S. Grant came east in the spring of 1864, and as commander of all Union forces made his headquarters within the Army of the Potomac. Though Grant's arrival diminished Meade's authority, he continued to serve with the same dedication that characterized his career.

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Gen. George Gordon Meade
1815 - 1872
Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), 1863
8.5 x 5.4 cm (3 5/16 x 2 3/16 inches)
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.