Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, January 5, 1862

CAMP PIERPONT, VA., January 5, 1862.

I fully expected before to-day we would have received the orders that we had hints about, but as yet nothing has been received. Possibly McClellan's sickness may have postponed them, for it is now pretty well known that he has been, if he is not now, quite sick, with all the symptoms of typhoid fever. His employing a Homoeopathic doctor has astonished all his friends, and very much shaken the opinion of many in his claimed extraordinary judgment.

The weather continues quite cold; we have had a little snow, but the ground is frozen hard and the roads in fine order. I have seen so much of war and its chances that I have learned to be satisfied with things as they are and to have no wishes. Were it not for this philosophy, a movement would be desirable, for I am satisfied this army is gaining nothing by inaction, and that volunteers, beyond a certain point, are not improvable. And as this war will never be terminated without fighting, I feel like one who has to undergo a severe operation, that the sooner it is over the better. An officer from town this evening says the report there is that McCall's Division is to join Burnside's expedition,1 but I think this is a mere street rumor. They would not put an officer of McCall's years and service under so young a man as Burnside. I think, however, that if the Burnside destination is correctly guessed, viz., up the Potomac, that it is highly probable that simultaneous with his attack of the river batteries a movement of the whole of this army will be made on the Centreville lines, to prevent any detachment of their forces to reinforce the batteries and their guard. Should Burnside be successful and find a point where we could advance in their rear, then a large force will be sent in that direction, while the balance attack them in front. This is all surmise and is entre nous, but I have a notion it is McClellan's plan just now.

1 Brigadier-General Ambrose E. Burnside, commanding expedition to Roanoke Island, N. C.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 242

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