"Gen. Meade has my confidence as a brave and skillful officer, and a true man."
President Abraham Lincoln
July 21, 1863
The sculpture in front of you depicts Gettysburg's Union commander, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, at the climax of the battle here July 3. From this ridge near his headquarters he observed the closing moments of the battle and encouraged his troops.
Meade was a West Point graduate and a professional soldier. A stern disciplinarian with a temper, his soldiers nicknamed him "Ol Snappin' Turtle." Though not a favorite with reporters, he earned the respect of officers and men who served under him. Only three days after being appointed commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, he faced Robert E. Lee in perhaps the greatest battle of the Civil War.
Following the battle, President Abraham Lincoln expressed disappointment that Lee's defeated army was allowed to escape into Virginia. But Lincoln soon put criticism aside and expressed his gratitude to Meade. Congress also praised Meade and his men who "repulsed, defeated, and drove back...the veteran army of the Rebellion."