The Union victor at Gettysburg, George Meade rates as a solid, if unspectacular, commander, cautious and careful in the field despite his ungovernable temper. Born in Cadiz, Spain, Meade grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from West Point in 1835.
In 1862 and 1863, he performed capably as a division and corps commander at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. In June 1863, Meade was chosen by Lincoln to replace Hooker as a commander of the Army of the Potomac, a position he quickly accepted. Praised for his efficient handling of troops at Gettysburg, he has been faulted for failing to pursue the wounded and vulnerable Army of Northern Virginia after the battle.
Meade remained in nominal command of the Army of the Potomac after Grant came east in 1864. However, he played a secondary role to that of Grant's protégé Sheridan in the pursuit to Appomattox in April 1865, the campaign that brought the long war to an end. In 1872 Meade succumbed to a wound that he had received a decade earlier.