MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE G. MEADE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 03/06/1843 - HFSID 31356
Sale Price $2,337.50
MEADE SURVEYS THE MAINE/CANADIAN BORDER
GEORGE G. MEADE. Autograph Letter Signed: "Geo. G. Meade" as Leituant Topogrohical Enfgineers on North East Boundary Explorations, 4p, 15½x9½. Office N.E. Boundary Survey, 1843 March 6. To his brother-in-law Congressman Henry A. Wise. Begins: "Dear Sir". In full: "I enclose you the Bill for carrying into effect the Treaty of Washington - You will see the Second Section makes it lawful for the President to Employ one or more Topogl. Engineers to aid & assist in the Commissioners in executing the provisions of the Treaty - The point I raise is that the House intended Topogl Engineers should not only do the work but have the control - I infer this first because I am informed in the bill first reported to the Com. Of Ter. Affs. The Second Section provided for the appointments of an Engineer (ie Astronomer) & Assistants who had their compensations fixed This was stricken out in Conn -- & the Section employing Topgl. Engineers substituted -- Again the 6th section gives the salary of the Commissioner & his clerk and when the appropriation in amount is named it is said to be for the salaries above enumerated (ie comr. & clerk) for repairs & purchase of instruments Wages of persons employed &c.. making no mention of any other salaries as it out to have done if civilians are to be employed The second point I raise is that it would be to the advantage of the Government to employ their own executive officers The Topogpl. Engineers on the grounds of expediency economy & the well doing of the work - 1 Economy - only $15000 are appropriated in all $4,500 of this goes to the Salary of the commissioner & clerk & 500 addition will be required for their traveling expenses to & from leaving only $10,000 for the employment of hands the purchase of instruments - transportation of camp equipage & ... an amount barley sufficient with the most rigid economy & entirely insufficient if nearly the whole of is to be taken up in Salaries to Civil assistants - The Explorations of the N.E. Boundary in the 3 last seasons have cost over $150,000 which is to be attributed to the large number of civil assistants employed ----- 2 on the ground of expediency - It is presumed the British Govt. will send military men- It is therefore expedient he should do so - as it is well known military men always get along better with military men that with civilians. --- 3dly the well doing of the work - I would suggest the duties required are those not generally falling in the line of civil engineers (being astronomical) and that the Topographical Engineers proposed to be sent, are the same who have been employed for the last 4 years on the Texas Boundary & on the N.E. Boundary, and are not only fully aware of the duties but have been over the greater portion of the ground --- Finally - Granting it is optional with the executive to employ civilians or Topogl Engineer - I ask as an act of sheer justice, that we the executives officers of the Government who have been for the last 4 years been employed in these works in a subordinate capacity, should now have the opportunity of doing the same work, when we have the chance of being in a little higher stations - It will be no ___ence of emolument or profit - but it is a national work, one of honorable distinction and we think it laid after seeing so long an apprenticeship on it, we should be deprived of a chance of honorable distinction about to do the work for others to have the credit - What I wish you therefore to impress upon the President is that the Topogl. Engineers in accordance with the provisions of the Bill should be sent to do the engineering work & if civilians are necessary they should be subordinate to the Topgl. Engineers. But as there are 3 of us who have been & are ready to go up the work & as the British will have the same number - making 6 or 7 in all I should think they would be sufficient to execute all the work - Your earnest & early attention to this is most respectfully asked ---" The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 revealed the strength and versatility of George G. Meade's character and military capabilities as yet restricted as a Second Lieutenant in the Army's Topographical Engineers. In this March 1843 letter to his brother-in-law, Congressman Henry A. Wise (1806-1876), Meade requests complete military control of the Northeast Boundary Survey rather that allowing civilian completion of the project with the British. Wise, who proved a great influence upon President John Tyler, helped Meade acquire his present position through an Army reinstatement - Meade had resigned in 1836. Seven months before this letter, the northeastern border was established by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, signed in Washington on August 9, 1842. Meade had been working as a civilian surveyor with the government commission established to determine the Northeast Boundary between Maine and Canada and along the Great Lakes. His remarks about the British surveyors were due to the Treaty, negotiated by British Commissioner Alexander Baring, Lord Ashburton, and Senator Daniel Webster. The Treaty settled the half-century long dispute and outlined the specific boundary, thus ending this particular phase of Meade's work, which was often conducted at night using astronomer's techniques. The battle of the maps continued after the Treaty was presented to the local governments along the boundary. Meade remained to chart the Aroostook River, the former site of the Aroostook War (1838-1839) - a border clash - which precipitated the Treaty negotiations. Previously, Meade had been a civilian member of the Commission of Territory Affairs, which had conducted the surveys to establish the Texas boundary in 1840. Since Texas' independence in 1836, that nation sought annexation by the United States. The British were involved here, as well, because they did not want the U.S. to gain control of the Southwest, mainly owned by Mexico, which would not lose this territory until the end of the War with Mexico in 1848. Later in the year of this letter effective November 17, 1843, Meade would be transferred to Philadelphia where he worked on the Delaware Bay designing and building lighthouses. He remained there until 1845 when Texas became a state and southwest border altercations erupted with Mexico. Meade was assigned to the army of occupation there, which would engage in battle during the Mexican War. He was brevetted 1st Lieutenant for reconnaissance missions at Monterey. Following the War, Meade was reassigned to Philadelphia, where he belatedly made captain in May 1856. Based in Michigan from 1857, he headed the Northern Lake Surveys until 1861. During the Civil War as Brigadier General of Pennsylvania Volunteers, Meade would rise to the need on many occasions and was promoted to Commander of the Army of the Potomac (June 28, 1863). When his commanding officer was killed early in the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), Meade led his corps in, quickly familiarized himself with the situation and took a position on the line, not attempting to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army but hold them. For his heroic stance, quick thinking and difficult but successful repulsion of the enemy, Meade was promoted to Brigadier General of the Regular Army (July 3, 1863). He went on to work harmoniously with Ulysses S. Grant when he was promoted to Lieutenant General in command of all the Union forces in March 1864. Together they would meet and conquer the Confederate Army. Lightly creased with folds. Paper separation at folds. Lightly soiled. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 45¼x22¼.
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