George Gordon Meade

QUESTION:  What was General Meade's nickname?
A)  "Falcon of Philadelphia"
B)  "Old Snapping Turtle"
C)  "Sly Fox"
D)  "Jumping Monkey"

Yesterday, we introduced a new subject to our blog - copies of lithographs displayed in our Toy Box honoring famous Americans. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston was our first, so it seemed only natural to turn to the north today, with Union General George Gordon Meade. Twelve years younger than Johnston, Meade was born in 1815, in Cadiz, Spain to the son of a wealthy Philadelphia-based merchant. Upon returning to the United States after his father's fortunes were lost with the Napoleonic Wars, Meade entered the United States Military Academy - another West Point boy. Meade was quickly appointed to Florida, to fight in the Second Seminole War against the Native Americans. But he resigned his commission soon after to marry and get a job.  Civilian life didn't pay the bills, so he returned to service during the Mexican War, then designed lighthouses for the Corps of Topical Engineers, including those at Barnegat and Absecon in New Jersey. 

When the Civil War began, Meade was promoted to Brigadier General, fighting admirably with McClellan's Army of the Potomac. He led the only successful breakthrough at the Battle of Fredericksburg under McClellan's replacement, Ambrose Burnside.  In part because of this success, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Meade to lead the Army of the Potomac only three days before the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg. Although Meade was praised for the Union victory there, he was also criticized for not pursuing the fleeing Confederates as they returned south of the Mason-Dixon Line. He remained in control of the Army of the Potomac for the duration of the war, but was often outshone by his boss, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant.  After the war, Meade became commissioner of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia and remained there until his death. He is now buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery, an outstanding destination.

ANSWER:  B)  "Old Snapping Turtle"