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A case study of General George Gordon Meade: A leadership perspective through the lens of good work

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Theodore George Jr Pappas
Abstract:
Just four days after being ordered to command of the Union's Army of the Potomac, George Gordon Meade defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg, a critical victory in the war. Nevertheless, he has been unjustly maligned, even though he rose to a high rank in spite of obstacles and controversy. Under constant attack and criticism by certain members of Congress and the press, Meade's reputation was so severely damaged that it still has not recovered in spite of recent research that largely vindicates Meade. The literature has focused on Meade's military decisions and ignores his leadership. To analyze and evaluate Meade's leadership as a commander, this case study derived a theoretical position from the Good Work Research Product, described by Gardner, Csikszentmihali, & Damon (2001) in Good Work: Where Excellence and Ethics Meet. Guided by their methodology, this study describes Meade's Civil War experience as he viewed it and reveals an extremely competent, ethical commander who suffered great emotional and psychological stress, more from the treatment of his superiors than from the strain of war. Shortly after Gettysburg, Lincoln erroneously decided that Meade did not want to engage Lee in another battle. Lincoln began to marginalize Meade and when General Grant arrived to travel with Meade's army, Meade's role became minimal. Meade's marginalization usually manifested itself in the form of nonsupport from Lincoln, General-in-Chief Halleck, and Grant. The marginalization of Meade drained his energy, weakened his will to serve, and impaired his judgment. He contemplated resignation on at least two occasions, but small displays of support rejuvenated the general and he remained in command until the end of the war. Meade deserves more credit than he has previously been allotted. He stopped Lee's string of decisive victories at a time when support for the war was waning in the North, allowing Lincoln to sustain the war and reunite the states. Meade also played a significant role in Grant's defeat of Lee. Despite the impediments to his leadership, Meade did "good work" and proved to be the right man at the right time.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter Page I The PROBLEM...........................................................................1

Statement of the Problem.........................................................13 Theoretical Framework.............................................................13 Purpose of the Study................................................................14 Research Questions.................................................................15 Limitations of the Study............................................................16 Methodology.............................................................................16 Significance of the Study..........................................................18 Definitions.................................................................................19 Chapter I Summary..................................................................20

II THE LITERATURE AND LIFE OF GENERAL GEORGE GORDON MEADE...................................................22

Overview of General Meade’s Life...........................................25 Spain to West Point............................................................25 Family and Marriage...........................................................31 The Seminole War to the Civil War.....................................34 The Civil War......................................................................38 Back to Philadelphia...........................................................51 Criticisms of Meade............................................................51 The Meade-Sickles Controversy...................................52 The Committee on the Conduct of War........................57 Historicus......................................................................60 Gettysburg and Lee’s Retreat.......................................62 Grant, Sheridan, and Meade........................................67 Meade According to His Contemporaries.....................74 Summary of the Meade Literature......................................81 The Good Work Research........................................................84 History and Mission of the United States Civil War Army.........88 The Eighteenth Century Army............................................89 The Early Nineteenth Century Army...................................91 Summary of the History and Mission of the United States Civil War Army..............................................................96 Leadership Theory....................................................................96 Chapter II Summary...............................................................101

III METHODOLOGY...................................................................103

Introduction to the Case.........................................................103 Statement of the Problem.......................................................105 Research Questions...............................................................106

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Research Design....................................................................106 Data Sources..........................................................................107 Procedures.............................................................................109 Historiographical Bias.............................................................115 Triangulation...........................................................................116 Selection of the Case.............................................................118 Chapter III Summary..............................................................119

IV DATA ANALYSIS...................................................................120

Overview................................................................................120 Becoming a fighter: April 1861 to August 1862......................123 Detroit, Duty, and the Radical Republicans......................123 Meade enters the War Enthusiastically............................127 Meade’s Thoughts on War and the South........................130 Promotions, Politics, and Reputation................................135 A Taste of Command: August 1862 to November 1862.........146 Ready for Promotion and Command................................146 Ethics, Truth, and Justice.................................................152 The Need for Good Officers.............................................159 Meade Learns Lessons about Lee...................................163 Learning to Command: November 1862 to June 1863...........166 Rising to Corps Command...............................................166 Growing Disdain for the Washington Administration.........171 Earning a Reputation as a Fighter....................................173 Getting Closer to Command of the Army..........................176 Meade’s Need for Information..........................................185 Hooker Loses Support......................................................187 Hooker and Meade Quarrel..............................................190 Meade is Magnanimous...................................................193 Lee Invades the North......................................................197 Why Lincoln Chooses Meade: June 1863........................200 Meade’s Independent Command of the Army........................204 The First Four Days: July 28 through July 1, 1863............204 The Meade Controversies are Born: July 2, 1863.............222 Lee’s Retreat: July 4 to July 14, 1863...............................229 A Season of Frustration: July 15, 1863 to March 1864.....249 In Grant’s Shadow: March 1864 to June 1865.......................305 Grant and Meade Develop Mutual Respect......................305 Meade Defends Grant to Margaret...................................309 Meade, Sheridan, and the 1864 Campaign......................315 A Gift Refused Then Accepted.........................................319 Grant Takes Control.........................................................321 Cold Harbor: June 1864...................................................326 The Cropsey Incident.......................................................327 Growing Frustration: Serjie and Grant..............................330

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Questionable Judgment: The Battle of the Crater.............337 Missed Opportunity to Escape Grant’s Shadow................344 Converging Stressors Challenge Meade’s Will.................348 Grant Withholds Meade’s Promotion.................................353 Meade Regains His Will and Focus..................................357 Meade Hits a New Low: Beecher’s Attack........................360 Grant Secures Meade’s Promotion...................................365 Gibbon Leaves the Army...................................................367 Clarity and Judgment Return to Meade.............................370 Duty and His Son’s Death.................................................379 The CCW and the Crater Report.......................................381 Meade Leaves the War Disconsolate and Embittered......382 A Final Insult: March 1869................................................390

V FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS..............394

Findings..................................................................................394 Meade Does “Good Work”................................................394 Meade Leads and Follows................................................396 Domain and Field Conflicts Hamper Meade.....................400 Lee and Meade Stalemate...............................................402 Grant Needed Meade........................................................404 Meade’s Unique Skills, Abilities and Attributes..................405 The Dynamics of Meade’s Values and Beliefs...................406 Meade’s Personal Value and Beliefs..........................406 Meade’s Military Beliefs..............................................408 Meade and the Northern Press...................................411 Seeing Meade through His Eyes................................412 A Lack of Support Disenfranchises Meade.......................414 Conclusions............................................................................419 Unheralded Accomplishments..........................................419 Comparing Meade to Grant..............................................423 Meade’s Leadership.........................................................424 Leadership Lessons.........................................................425 Implications............................................................................427 Good Work and Leadership..............................................429 A New Perspective of Meade...........................................430 Final Thoughts..................................................................432

REFERENCES............................................................................................433

APPENDICES..............................................................................................442 Appendix A – Coding Guide...................................................442 Appendix B - Civil War Army Organization and Rank.............456

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Appendix C - Map of the Civil War Eastern Theatre of Operation.......................................................458 Appendix D - George Gordon Meade: Civil War Position and Rank...........................................................459

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page 1 Major General George Gordon Meade.......................................1 2 General Daniel Sickles...............................................................9 3 Proposed Pipe Creek Position..................................................56 4 General George Gordon Meade...............................................80 5 Good Work Theoretical Diagram..............................................86 6 Robert E. Lee.........................................................................102 7 Data Classification Matrix.......................................................113 8 Senator Chandler...................................................................125 9 Senator Wade........................................................................125 10 Margaretta Meade..................................................................132 11 Secretary of War Edwin Stanton............................................134 12 Major General Henry Halleck.................................................166 13 General Ambrose Burnside....................................................170 14 General Dan Butterfield..........................................................170 15 General Joseph Hooker..........................................................196 16 Gettysburg Battle Lines..........................................................224 17 General Grant at Cold Harbor................................................306 18 General Sheridan...................................................................317

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CHAPTER I

THE PROBLEM “George who? Everyone knows who Grant was. Even grade-schoolers recognize Lee’s picture. But Major General George Gordon Meade is another story” (Haggerty, 2002). So begins Charles Haggerty’s discussion of General George Gordon Meade’s relegation to a Civil War footnote. Meade’s reputation as a general is indeed an enigma. Noted Gettysburg historian Edwin Coddington calls it “The strange reputation of General Meade” (1961).

Figure 1. Major General George Gordon Meade.

(Library of Congress)

2 As commander of the Army of the Potomac, Meade defeated Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at the battle of Gettysburg and temporarily was heralded as a hero. General Meade had worked his way through the ranks of the Army of the Potomac, earning the position due to his experience and effectiveness in battle. He was West Point trained and a career Army man. Meade was a Captain in the Topographical Engineers, commanding a survey of the Great Lakes, when the Civil War erupted. He immediately requested reassignment to the war effort and on August 31, 1861 was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers and assigned to command the 2 nd Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves. Meade saw action at Gaines Mills on June 29, 1862 and then was severely injured in the Battle of Glendale on June 30. Returning to duty in August, he led his troops in the Second Battle of Manassas and commanded the Pennsylvania Reserves in the Battle of South Mountain on September 14. Meade was building a reputation as a fierce fighter and effective officer. At Antietam he temporarily took command of the First Corps when Hooker was wounded. He led the only division to break through General Stonewall Jackson’s lines at Fredericksburg, only to retreat when his advance was not supported. But this performance would result in his promotion to Major-General of Volunteers, effective November 29, 1862. On December 23 he was given command of the Fifth Corps, which he led through the Chancellorsville campaign (April 27-May 5, 1863). After the defeat at Chancellorsville, General Hooker argued with General Halleck and offered his resignation as the commander of the Army of the

3 Potomac. President Lincoln unexpectedly accepted it and selected Meade to replace Hooker. On June 28, 1863 Meade was ordered to command of the Union’s Army of the Potomac (Sauers, 2003a). Having neither sought nor desired the command, he accepted it as a matter of duty (Meade, 1913/1994). Hooker and the army had pursued Lee into Pennsylvania, where the Confederates were foraging for much needed subsistence supplies (Brown, 2005). When Meade assumed command, he was unsure of where his scattered troops were, or what General Robert E. Lee’s intentions were, although it appeared that Harrisburg was the likely objective (New York Observer, July 2, 1863). General Meade decided to turn Lee’s advance by directly pursuing and engaging him. He encountered Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at the crossroads community of Gettysburg, just four days after taking command of the army. Meade quickly converged his scattered troops just outside of town and engaged Lee’s troops in the bloodiest three days of the war. Meade performed well, establishing a strong position on Cemetery Hill and effectively moving troops to counter Lee’s assaults (Sommers, 2009). The battle resulted in Lee’s first defeat and Meade was bathed in glory. However, shortly after the battle, President Lincoln became disenchanted with Meade, feeling that Meade should have struck a decisive, war-ending blow to Lee’s army and that Meade had squandered a precious opportunity (Williams, 1952). Not everyone shared Lincoln’s opinion of the fledgling commander. On July 18, 1863, an article in the Scientific American praised Meade’s skill as a

4 general and suggested that the Army of the Potomac had at last found a worthy leader. All the accounts which we have read satisfy us that for skillful generalship and dauntless bravery, no other battles since the war began can compare with these. Under the most trying and extraordinary circumstances, General Meade has exhibited the highest strategic and tactical skill, and has risen to the rank of a great “military captain”.... We rejoice, in common with all loyal hearts, in the apparent fact that, after a series of bloody reverses and few successes, this Potomac army has at last found a true military leader-one who seems to understand his business.... General Meade is a thorough soldier without political aspiration. He has a well-poised mind; and above all he is a high-toned Christian gentleman, well worthy of the confidence and support of every lover of his country (p.35, retrieved from Proquest Historical Newspapers database on August 22, 2009). But less than a month later, on August 14, 1863, an article in the Liberator accused Meade of disobeying orders from his superiors to attack Lee. By this time, Lee had successfully crossed the Potomac and returned to Virginia. Crediting the Washington reporter of the New York Times, the Liberator stated that General Halleck specifically instructed Meade to attack Lee. It erroneously submits the substance of Halleck’s order as, “It is proverbial that councils of war never fight. Attack the enemy at once and hold your council of war afterwards (August 7, 1863, p. 127). In fact, Halleck did instruct Meade to ignore his war

5 council and trust his own judgment, but he never ordered an attack (OR; 27, pt. I, p. 404). Then an August 14, 1863 Liberator article asserts that Meade was not the man to command the army. Thus, the debate between leadership and failure would begin and plague Meade for the next 150 years. Meade’s worthiness as a commanding general is still debated. Noted Civil War historian Richard Sommers (2009) takes an unusual position. He places Meade in the top one hundred generals from the 1700s until the present solely on his brilliant victory at Gettysburg. Yet he also contends that Meade would never have won the war for the North. Sommers believes that Meade only minimally possessed the boldness, tenacity and strategic insight of great generals. Sommers and T. Harry Williams (1952) agree that Meade was an above-average tactician but lacked any strategic vision. Williams characterizes Meade as timid, lacking the hardness to fight a modern war, resistant to any goading by Lincoln to fight, and overly cautious. He also characterizes him as competent and a man of character. While Meade’s efficacy is still debated, historians generally agree that Meade is largely forgotten, unrecognized and still receives little credit for any accomplishments of the army under his command. The discussion regarding the quality of Meade’s work shares the spotlight with the discussion of why he has been forgotten. Brevet Brigadier-General Francis A. Walker (1887/1985) of the Union army sees several causes for Meade’s anonymity. The first of these is where Meade was physically positioned during the opening skirmishes of the battle.

6 Meade was ordered to command only three days before the battle erupted. He had just regrouped the army and started his search for General Lee’s army. On the night of June 30, 1863 he held his headquarters at Taneytown, waiting for contact with the enemy in order to know in which direction to proceed. Thus, with Meade’s headquarters being some distance from the origin of the battle, others, such as Buford, Reynolds and Hancock appropriately received the attention and credit for the beginning of the battle. In addition, the positioning of the Union troops formed a “...convex line, (which) broke up the battles of the 2 nd and 3 rd of July into a series of actions, regarding which it was inevitable that attention should be fixed especially upon those who commanded at the points successively assaulted” (Walker, 1887/1985, p. 406). Also diverting attention from Meade was the Union loss of so many prominent officers, such as corps commanders Hancock, Sickles, and Reynolds and division commander Gibbons. “Such an unusual succession of casualties could not fail to have an effect in distracting attention from the commander-in-chief” (Walker, 1887/1985, p. 406). Finally, and maybe most significantly was Meade’s “...disinclination to assert himself against hostile criticism.... he took little pains to vindicate himself against aspersion...” (Walker, 1985, p. 407). Indeed, Meade never spoke publicly about any charges made against him, although his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of War was made public. Meade’s reluctance to respond to criticism may have been due to his distrust of the press and his belief

7 that the public did not understand the true nature of the conduct of war (Meade, 1913/1994). Walker goes on to very clearly support his commander stating: It is my purpose to show that at Gettysburg the Army of the Potomac had a commander in every sense; that, in spite of misadventures and miscarriages, the action was fought according to his plans and under his direction as nearly as usually happens in war; and that his presence and watchful care, his moral courage and tenacity of purpose, contributed largely to the result. (p. 407) He adds that he agrees with Army artillery chief Henry Hunt’s view that General Meade was right in how he handled the Battle of Gettysburg and the pursuit of Lee. Walker’s strong support of General Meade may be absolutely correct, but the bias of general Walker should be considered. A century and a half later Haggerty (2002) presents a different perspective. He asserts that although Meade is relatively unknown today, it is more significant that Meade was “forgotten, overlooked, and ignored in his own time” (¶5). He attributes this to several factors that developed over the course of the war, the first occurring at the outbreak of the war. While still in Detroit, then Captain Meade refused to attend a public meeting and renew his oath of allegiance to the United States as requested by the Detroit citizenry. This action invoked the wrath of United States Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan. As a key and influential member of the Committee on the Conduct of War, Chandler

8 would use the committee to damage Meade’s reputation (See Chapter 2 for more information). Gettysburg was both the boon and the bane of Meade’s career. Despite the successful repulse of Lee’s army, President Lincoln was critical, expecting a decisive offensive action at Gettysburg once Lee gave up the attack. When that did not occur, he immediately became concerned that Meade was too slow and cautious in his pursuit of Lee (Burlingame & Ettlinger, 1997). After Lee withdrew from the field at Gettysburg, Meade did remain with most of the army for a day in order to rest and reorganize. This decision is Haggerty’s (2002) second issue. While Meade is portrayed as not pursing Lee, he indeed vigorously, but cautiously, and with deference to the condition of the army, did pursue Lee (Wittenburg, et al., 2008). The pursuit of Lee would again result in damage to Meade’s reputation when Lee did cross the Potomac and return to Virginia on July 14, 1863. Although Lee was trapped at Williamsport against the high waters of the Potomac, he had chosen his position well. Meade faced a fortified enemy prepared for battle. Any offensive by Meade would be at a great risk to the army, and Meade refused to attack, allowing Lee to escape during the night. The decision not to attack at Williamsport, another of Haggerty’s factors, is still controversial (see Chapter Two for more information on the fourteen days following Gettysburg). General Dan Sickles, who would criticize Meade until his own death in 1914, promoted the most significant and persevering criticism of Meade’s

9 generalship. Commanding the Army of the Potomac’s Third Corp at Gettysburg, he moved his men forward of the Union battle line, forming a salient and disconnecting from his intended position and the rest of the Union line. The move violated orders from Meade and placed the army in serious jeopardy. Quick work by Meade and G. K. Warren provided support for Sickles, possibly saving the day for the Union. To protect his own reputation, Sickles attacked Meade’s competency, stating that Meade wanted to retreat from Gettysburg. Sickles insisted that his action initiated the battle on the second day of Gettysburg and forced Meade to fight. Sickles lost a leg at Gettysburg, and was in Washington to recoup. The blood on the battlefield was scarcely cold when he was telling his version of events to President Lincoln and the Committee on the Conduct of War (see Chapter Two for details).

Figure 2. General Dan Sickles. (Library of Congress)

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Haggerty (2002) also identifies two letters written by “Historicus”, the first appearing in the New York Herald on March 12, 1864 as factors in Meade’s demise. These letters essentially demean Meade and give credit for the victory at Gettysburg to Sickles. While the author was never identified, General Meade and others have concluded that the person responsible for the letters was Dan Sickles. Sickles and “Historicus” probably did more damage to Meade’s reputation during Meade’s time than any other of Haggerty’s factors. General Meade would probably agree with Haggerty (2002) that one of the factors that reduced Meade’s recognition was his treatment of newspaper correspondent Edward Cropsey. Cropsey wrote an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer that Meade felt was a lie and demeaning. With Grant’s silent consent, Cropsey was banned from camp, exiting on a donkey and wearing a sign that read “Libeler of the Press”. Other correspondents reacted by refusing to mention Meade’s name in the press, unless it was to denigrate him (see Chapter Two for more information). While Haggerty (2002) and Walker (1887/1985) attribute Meade’s reputation to factors during his time, Coddington (1961) considers that at least some of the dilemma of Meade’s reputation lies within historiographical approaches. He states that how Lee lost the Battle of Gettysburg is well known, but little attention has been given to how Meade won it. Additionally, the many attacks of Meade over the years have clouded his reputation. His performance at Gettysburg was never the subject of a military tribunal, but was instead investigated by Washington politicians through the Joint Committee on the

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Conduct of War (CCW). The political nature of the generals in the Army of the Potomac fanned both the discontent with Meade and the CCW’s efforts to have Meade removed from command. Coddington cautions that even the testimony of people friendly to Meade is tainted by the “loaded” questions of the committee. He urges that historical sources be evaluated for their objectivity, with special consideration being given to those sources that have no emotional connection to Meade, Sickles, or the CCW. Richard Sauers, author of a Meade biography and Gettysburg: The Meade-Sickles Controversy (2003a) agrees that historiography in the cases of Meade and Gettysburg is suspect. He submits that shoddy scholarship by both amateur and professional historians has resulted in an over-dependence on published works written between 1863 and circa 1920. These accounts sometimes stretch the truth, sometimes are outright wrong, or reflect an emotional defense of a commander. This has resulted in a distorted truth about Gettysburg that has been accepted until recently. While there is disagreement about Meade’s reputation, even disagreement about why his reputation is tarnished, there is no disagreement about his reputation as a man. Meade was viewed as a Philadelphia gentleman (Stowe, 2005) and was generally considered to be a man of impeccable character. Theodore Lyman, Meade’s aide-de-camp and personal friend, said, “I never saw a man in my life who was so characterized by straightforward truthfulness as he is” (Lyman and Agassiz, Ed., 1922, p. 25) and “I shall always be astonished at the extraordinary moral courage of General Meade” (p.57).

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At the unveiling of the General George Gordon Meade statue in Washington, D.C., General John Gibbon (1887/1985) said that Meade: ... will be remembered with admiration, not only for his military achievements, which, unsurpassed by those of any other man... but also for the purity of character, for his unselfishness, for his freedom from jealousies and envies so common among distinguished soldiers, for patient and uncomplaining endurance of injustice, for his courage, which was of that high order that dared to do right at the risk of his own reputation, for his modesty, that made him ever ready to praise others, while during his whole career he never wrote or spoke one boastful word of himself, and for his supreme devotion to duty. (pp. 10-11) The mixed perspectives of Meade’s performance as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac have left the nature of General Meade’s generalship unsettled. As noted by Edwin Coddington (1961) and Richard Sauers (2003a), there has been scant research and historical narrative regarding the generalship of General Meade. “Historians are divided over his wartime performance and thus the reader will find a wide range of interpretations of Meade’s character and generalship” (Sauers, 2003b, p. xi). Was he incompetent, brilliant or something in between? Was this a man of great character? Has history treated him fairly or has he been unjustly relegated to be a historical footnote?

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Statement of the Problem This study will focus on the quality of General Meade’s work as the commander of the Army of the Potomac through the lens of good work. It looks to see if General Meade performed good work and fulfilled his responsibilities to his constituent groups as well as how he general handled ethical questions within the realm of his profession. Finally, the study looks at how the factors of good work aligned to impact Meade’s work and leadership. Theoretical Framework This study is based on the theoretical position that General Meade did “good work”. Good work is work that is of “expert quality and benefits the broader society “ (Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, & Damon, p. IX). Good work is also ethically done and is engaging. This position is based on the book, Good Work; When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, & Damon, 2001), a ten-year study by the authors exploring the nature of good work. Their research spawned a focused perspective of responsibility and good work which is presented in Responsibility at Work; How Leading Professionals Act (or Don’t) Responsibly (Gardner, Ed., 2007), a collection of writings based on research relating to responsibility in the concept of good work. The core of good work is working responsibly, and this study’s position contends that the central element in General Meade’s good work was his ability and desire to fulfill his responsibilities. The concept of “good work” offers a new perspective for evaluating Meade’s generalship. Coddington suggested that Meade has been slighted

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because historians have focused on how Lee lost at Gettysburg and have ignored how Meade won. Similarly, a shift of perspective may be helpful in viewing General Meade’s behavior. Historians have frequently judged General Meade by speculating on whether or not he would have won the war, a narrow perspective of a complicated task. The ‘good work” perspective takes a broader view. If, after enduring the pressures and challenges of command for almost the entire war, General Meade had done “good work”, if he had fulfilled his responsibilities, then he possibly should be given more credit and recognition than he has previously received and there may be lessons for people who want to do good work in how he accomplished his good work. This research is informed by the findings of the Project on Good Work. Conducted by noted psychologists Howard Gardner, Mihayli Csikszentmihalyi, and William Damon, the project findings describe the elements of “good work”, provide criteria for decision-making in ethical dilemmas, and describe the responsibilities that accompany good work (Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, & Damon, 2001). This framework provides the opportunity to develop a perspective of Meade’s performance that is detailed, structured, and evaluative but unhampered by the complexity created by introducing leadership theory. Described in detail in Chapter Two, this theoretical framework shapes this study’s research questions. Purpose of the Study The Civil War demanded many skilled leaders. Many of these leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, have been

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extensively studied for various reasons, including the leadership lessons derived from their experiences. Other leaders, such as General George Gordon Meade, have received less attention but are worthy of study. This study is designed to first determine whether or not General George Gordon Meade engaged in “good work” during his command of the Army of the Potomac and if so, what lessons might be learned from his experience. Given that the literature has largely ignored many aspects of Meade’s generalship, that he rose to a high rank in spite of obstacles, and that he was known to be a moral person, it is possible that there are valuable insights for leaders in Meade’s experience. This study is designed to discover the lessons of Meade’s generalship that have not yet been uncovered. Research Questions The following research questions are addressed by this study: 1. What evidence exists that General George Gordon Meade, while the commanding officer of the Union’s Army of the Potomac, from June 28, 1863 until June 1865, performed “good work”, work that was of high quality, ethically done, socially responsible and engaging? 2. During his tenure as the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac, what evidence indicates that General Meade fulfilled his responsibilities to his family, friends and colleagues, to his mission, to his personal goals, to the Army, and to the nation?

Full document contains 472 pages
Abstract: Just four days after being ordered to command of the Union's Army of the Potomac, George Gordon Meade defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg, a critical victory in the war. Nevertheless, he has been unjustly maligned, even though he rose to a high rank in spite of obstacles and controversy. Under constant attack and criticism by certain members of Congress and the press, Meade's reputation was so severely damaged that it still has not recovered in spite of recent research that largely vindicates Meade. The literature has focused on Meade's military decisions and ignores his leadership. To analyze and evaluate Meade's leadership as a commander, this case study derived a theoretical position from the Good Work Research Product, described by Gardner, Csikszentmihali, & Damon (2001) in Good Work: Where Excellence and Ethics Meet. Guided by their methodology, this study describes Meade's Civil War experience as he viewed it and reveals an extremely competent, ethical commander who suffered great emotional and psychological stress, more from the treatment of his superiors than from the strain of war. Shortly after Gettysburg, Lincoln erroneously decided that Meade did not want to engage Lee in another battle. Lincoln began to marginalize Meade and when General Grant arrived to travel with Meade's army, Meade's role became minimal. Meade's marginalization usually manifested itself in the form of nonsupport from Lincoln, General-in-Chief Halleck, and Grant. The marginalization of Meade drained his energy, weakened his will to serve, and impaired his judgment. He contemplated resignation on at least two occasions, but small displays of support rejuvenated the general and he remained in command until the end of the war. Meade deserves more credit than he has previously been allotted. He stopped Lee's string of decisive victories at a time when support for the war was waning in the North, allowing Lincoln to sustain the war and reunite the states. Meade also played a significant role in Grant's defeat of Lee. Despite the impediments to his leadership, Meade did "good work" and proved to be the right man at the right time.