Jun 17, 2023
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE G. MEADE (AMERICAN, 1815-1872) GIFTED POST-CIVIL WAR 14K-18K YELLOW GOLD CROSS PENDANT, cross with bail to top and an attached hanging loop, front side with chased and engraved decoration featuring shamrocks, back engraved "Ella Hopkinson / from her / GOD FATHER/ Maj. Gen. Geo. G. Meade / Xmas / 1866." Unmarked, tested between 14K and 18K gold fineness, attached hanging loop tested as 14K gold fineness. Total weight: 7.6 grams. Circa 1866. 2" HOA, 1" WOA.
Catalogue Note: George Gordon Meade was born on December 31, 1815 in Cadiz, Spain to parents Richard Worsam Meade (1778-1828) and Margaret Coats Butler (1782-1852), the eighth of eleven children. His family returned to the states after being financially ruined by the Napoleonic Wars. In 1831, Meade attended the United States Military Academy (West Point), graduating 19th out of 56 in the class of 1835. He briefly served in the Seminole War before retiring to work as a civil engineer.
In 1842, Meade was reinstated to the army and appointed as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers, being assigned to lighthouse construction under Major Harman Bache. He also served in the Mexican-American War and was present at the battles of Resca de la Palma, Palo Alto, and Monterey. He continued topographical work until the outbreak of the Civil War.
On August 31, 1861, Meade was appointed as brigadier general of volunteers and assigned command of the 2nd Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves, initially working on the defenses of Washington, DC. He then joined the Army of the Potomac, serving under Gen. George B. McClellan on the Peninsula and participating in the Seven Days battles at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, and Glendale. He was seriously injured at Glendale and then, after recovering, lead a brigade in the corps of Irvin McDowell at the battle of Second Manassas. After temporarily replacing the division's commander John F Reynolds, Meade led during the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, eventually commanding the 3rd Division during the battle of Fredericksburg and V Corps at the battle of Chancellorsville.
In late June of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Meade to command the Army of the Potomac after Joseph Hooker resigned from the position due to his poor performance at Chancellorsville. Meade was shortly confronted by Confederate general Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, PA. During the battle of Gettysburg, Meade suffered great casualties during the three days but ultimately achieved a great victory as the Confederate army retreated back to Virginia. He received criticism for not defeating Lee's army at their weakened state, but he was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army.
When he was appointed lieutenant general and general-in-chief of the Union forces, Ulysses S. Grant made all command decisions in the movements of the army. Meade continued to lead the Army of the Potomac through the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and outside of Petersburg. He was promoted to major general under Grant after his successes during these battles, serving until the surrender of Lee's army in Appomattox. Meade continued to hold several military commands after the war and returned to Pennsylvania until his death on November 6, 1872 from pneumonia. He is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.
The identity of Ella Hopkinson is possibly Gabriella Butler "Ella" Hopkinson who was born on October 29, 1863 to parents Oliver Hopkinson Sr. (1812-1905) and Elisa Swaim (1826-1911) of Philadelphia. Her father was a Civil War Union Army officer, serving as Lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Delaware Volunteer Infantry, but was injured at the battle of Antietam causing him to resign. In July of 1863, Oliver Hopkinson was commissioned as Colonel and commander of the 51st Pennsylvania Militia, but mustered out by September 1863.
Ella was the granddaughter of Congressman Joseph Hopkinson and the granddaughter of Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson. She died on September 9, 1882 and is also buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Very good overall condition with minor wear, surface scratches, and nicks.
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