12. Major General George Gordon Meade Memorial
"The Meade monument, a gift of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, would be one of the last Civil War
statues to be erected in Washington. Six decades had passed since the war's end and although Meade
had commanded the Army of the Potomac, only a handful of his men still lived at the time of the
dedication, 1927, and of those, few could travel to the capital.
John W. Frazier, an aging veteran who had served under Meade at Gettysburg, was secretary of the
memorial commission. He was abusive and tactless and the tone of his letters to the arts
commission ranged from shrill to insulting. In one of his first letters he stated his disdain
for "culture", his deep hatred of the Grant Memorial, his distrust of the members of the Commission
of Fine Arts (charged with approval of the site and design), as well as his own ideas for the
The Chairman of the Arts committee passed Frazier's letter on to another commission member with the
notation 'to excite your hilarity'.
The monument consists of a dense group of eight figures, in the forefront is the uniformed, stern
figure of Meade. To the rear, with his back to Meade is War with a brutal face and cruel eyes. War
holds a two-edged sword and tablets inscribed with the names of Meade's battles. War is glaring back
into the past while Meade looks to the future.
The remaining six figures portray Loyalty, on Meade's right, Chivalry on his left, both of whom are
lifting the mantle of battle from Meade's shoulders. Next to Loyalty is Fame. Behind Fame and to
War's left is Energy. Next to Chivalry is Progress and next to Progress, to the right of War is
Military Courage. Some wags complained that the real attributes of Meade's personality -- moralizing
and arrogance -- were missing.
In 1969 the monument was dismantled and removed from it's original site on the Mall, near Grant, and
emerged in 1983 after fourteen years in storage at it's current site on Pennsylvania Avenue. Meade
now looks out onto Pennsylvania Avenue to the spot that marked one of his proudest days. At nine
o'clock on May 23, 1865, Meade rode down the avenue on his garlanded horse at the head of the Army
of the Potomac as the leader of the Grand Review of troops. As he passed, the enormous throng picked
up the chant of the Pennsylvanianz in the crowd, "Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Gettysburg."