George Gordon Meade (December 31, 1815 – November 6, 1872) was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer. During the Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to command of the Army of the Potomac just days before the Battle of Gettysburg. Naturally, he is best known for defeating Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg in July 1863.
Meade's Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. As a division commander he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam after “Fighting Joe” Hooker was injured in the morning of the Battle. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Ulysses S. Grant, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.
As a division commander, Meade wrote an official account of the Battle of Fredericksburg that became part of The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This edition of his account includes pictures of several important generals.