Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, March 28, 1862

Friday, March 28, 1862.

I think I wrote you that on Tuesday we had a grand review of the whole of the First Army Corps. Yesterday we had another, for the benefit of Lord Lyons and some English officers, to which, although the generals of McCall's Division were invited to be present, the division did not appear. General McDowell's reason for its exclusion was that the ground was limited, and that he found it took too much time to review three divisions, and therefore he only ordered two on the ground. Our fellows, though, are of the opinion that he did not consider them sufficiently presentable for his English friends; and some little feeling has been excited by his course, particularly as he has had the bad taste to come out to-day with an order extolling the troops for their yesterday's appearance, and announcing that the English officers pronounced them equal to any troops in the world. I was quite satisfied with the inspection of the appearance and movements of the men, that our Pennsylvania ragamuffins are fully equal to them, though in some few instances, like Phil Kearney's brigade (who had spent a mint of money on them), their uniforms were in rather better order. Our fellows console themselves with the reflection that the only troops in the First Army Corps that have beaten the enemy in a fair field, with equal numbers, are the Pennsylvania ragamuffins, whereas of the divisions deemed worthy to be presented to the Englishmen the greater portion were regiments who either did nothing or else behaved shamefully at Bull Run.

At the review yesterday McClellan appeared on the ground, and though he did not review the troops, yet he rode around after McDowell and his cortege. It would have done your heart good to have heard the shouts the men gave and the enthusiasm they exhibited when they saw him. I really believe he has the hearts of the soldiers with him.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 254-5

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