*Includes Bibliographies of both Meade and Lee for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
"The fact of the matter is that George G. Meade, unexpectedly and against all odds, thoroughly outgeneraled Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg." - Stephen Sears
With the exception of George Washington, perhaps the most famous general in American history is Robert E. Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870), despite the fact he led the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia against the Union in the Civil War. Lee is remembered today for constantly defeating the Union’s Army of the Potomac in the Eastern theater from 1862-1865, considerably frustrating Lincoln and his generals. His leadership of his army led to him being deified after the war by some of his former subordinates, especially Virginians, and he came to personify the Lost Cause’s ideal Southern soldier. His reputation was secured in the decades after the war as a general who brilliantly led his men to amazing victories against all odds.
Ironically, one of the generals who often escapes the attention of Civil War fans who compile the lists of best generals is the man who defeated Lee to win the war’s most famous battle, George G. Meade (1815-1872). In late June 1863, Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac just 3 days before the start of the battle, and he was facing Lee, who had a nearly unblemished record in the East and was less than 2 months removed from a stunning victory at Chancellorsville.
Given the command situations on July 1, 1863, certainly nobody would have expected Meade to get the better of Lee as they faced off for the first time, but that's exactly what happened. Using a strong "fishhook" line on high ground that allowed him to shift soldiers along interior lines, Meade skillfully held off ferocious attacks on both of his flanks during the second day of the battle. And despite his successes and his legacy, Lee wasn’t perfect. On the final day, Meade accurately predicted Lee would attack his center, and Lee complied, ordering Pickett’s Charge despite the fact his principle subordinate and corps leader, General James Longstreet, advised against the charge. Feeling the need to try to strike a decisive blow, Lee went ahead with the assault, ending his army’s defeat at Gettysburg with a violent climax that left half of the men who charged killed or wounded.
The Commanders of Gettysburg comprehensively covers the crucial command decisions made by Meade and Lee at Gettysburg, but it also chronicles the lives and careers of both generals, from West Point to their first meeting during the Mexican-American War, their climactic clash at Gettysburg, and their service through the end of the war. Along with bibliographies and pictures of important people, places, and events in their lives, you will learn about Lee and Meade like you never have before, in no time at all