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452civil war history (Vol. Ill, p. 11) : "I confess I had not been as reserved as [die Secretary of State and Secretary of War]"—here Welles's original words "Seward and Stanton" appear in die margin as replacements for die bracketed phrase— "in expressing my opinions." Some of die editorial markings, diough proportionately a radier small number, are of real wordi from die historian's point of view. These designate Welles's afterthoughts which, if taken as genuine diary entries, give an erroneous idea of his knowledge and feelings on die dates concerned. To cite only one case, diough an important one, diere appear in die Morse edition under die date of April 13, 1865, as if diey were contemporary jottings, two radier full paragraphs in which Welles records a conversation widi Lincoln in regard to die convening of die "Rebel legislature" of Virginia. The significance of diese paragraphs, as indicating Lincoln's views on April 13, 1865, is drastically altered when we discover, from die markings in die Beale edition , diat die paragraphs were inserted after that time (probably not until 1870). By serving as a corrective guide in matters of this kind, die Beale edition, despite its peculiar form, becomes indispensable to all students of die period who cannot justify a trip to Washington to view die original manuscript. They are indebted to Professor Beale for a prodigious labor conscientiously performed . Richard N. Current University of Wisconsin Meade of Gettysburg. By Freeman Cleaves. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, I960. Pp. xi, 384. $5.00.) history has not been kind to george G. Meade, and tìiis diorough volume helps to balance die account. The result is not a partisan treatise, but it is by all odds die most favorableportrait of Meade of modem vintage. No sooner had die brand-new commander of die Army of die Potomac wrought die miracle of die first major victory over Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg dian die howls of critics began. Mr. Cleaves shows effectively diat a testy, ill-advised Lincoln, speaking in a moment of great national relief at delivery from die invader, did grave injustice to Meade. Criticism depicted Meade's council of war on die night of July 2 as die timorous act of a man ready to retreat; it condemned his failure to storm Lee's position in die rainstorm of July 4, before Confederate retreat had become obvious; it cried for Meade's scalp when Lee finally crossed die Potomac , shielded by his earthworks at Williamsport. Mr. Cleaves is an able ally and restores perspective to die events after Gettysburg. If, in die end, he reveals Meade's shortcomings, he makes it clear diat diey were such as could be expected of almost any general officer in our history. Meade, in short, was not a T. J. Jackson or a W. T. Sherman; he was an able, judicious, veteran officer, by no means timid, but determined Book Reviews453 to move widi due caution and widi respect for die opinion of his generals— who warned against frontal attack on Lee at die Potomac. Thus die controversial general emerges from die climactic days of his career in this highly interesting study. This is not a narrative, but batdesmoke seeps through, and die very look of Meade and his contemporaries as well—a tribute to the shrewd use of eyewitnesses by Mr. Cleaves. These touches lend life to die account and illuminate Meade's personality despite a lack of specific probing in diis area. Use of Meade's letters is revealing in diis respect, and one line from a letter to his wife may sum up Meade's story. "How I wish I could go home & be quiet with you & USe children. To accomplish diis object I would willingly let Grant gain victories, have all die credit & be made Presidi. Perhaps before long all diis will come about." The tangled affairs of command in die Army of die Potomac, abrisde widi conflicts between personalities, do not get full treatment here—and perhaps complete understanding today is impossible. The audior does make clear Meade's difficulties widi a parade of subordinates, diough never in too great detail, a temptation which must have been great...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 452-454
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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