Great West Point Letter from the Son of General George Meade on the Verge of the Civil War!  - He would soon join the 6th Pa. Lancers and then go on his father's staff.  Many in his class had left to go South: "THERE IS BUT 38 MEN LEFT IN MY CLASS OUT OF 87, THAT IS RATHER A FALLING OFF FOR ONE YEAR"
Our letter is written by George Meade Jr. “Cadet U.S.M.A.”  This 3 page letter is written in nice dark ink and includes a fine patriotic cover with “West Point, N.Y. May 6, 1861” cancellation.  The stamp which was up in the right hand corner is no longer there. 

In this letter, George is writing his friend John W. Chester.  George gives some interesting information about their graduating class:


What George is referring to is that many in his class left to join the Confederacy… and of course some to their home state, northern regiments that were forming.  In the letter, he states that, “George was up here for a few hours, but I suppose you have seen him since, do you ever hear from anyone in Detroit?”  Now here is a question for you… who is the George?  If it was his father, wouldn’t he say “Father” was up here?  So, put that with the statement about Michigan, and can you think of another George from Michigan?  (Who knows… Custer and Meade Jr. were friends and Custer had just been in the class of 1861!) 

We attended the auction of George Meade’s “memorabilia” about 15 years ago.  It was held in Pennsylvania and there were some very cool items for sale… like some of the pennants off of 6th Pa. lances!  This letter did not come from that auction.  The finest collection of CDV’s from the Civil War was assembled by George Meade Jr.  They were reproduced in book form by the Philadelphia Civil War Library Museum back in 1996.  If you happen to be one of the lucky owners of that reference work, this letter would be a wonderful piece to put with it. 

#EL66 - Price $195


West Point May 5th

Dear Johnny,

        I received your very acceptable letter, a day or two ago, and as this is Sunday night and we haven’t much to do, I thought I would drop you a line or two and particularly as to your coming here.  The 1st class have been put through their final examination and are now only awaiting orders to leave here forever and the 2nd class commence their final examination next week and they are to be shipped as soon as possible which will leave four vacancies at Michigan, why can’t you get one? Never (mind) if you don’t live in the same district, ¾ of the men who come here don’t live in the district from which they are appointed.  Williams place has been filled by Whittemore, Lord only knows who he is, I don’t.  Our class will be 3rd class men now, in less than ten months and as they are going to change the course to 4 years, I hope we won’t have to stay here all our life.  George was up here for a few hours but I suppose you have seen him since.  Do you ever hear from anyone in Detroit?  I suppose you know all the Meade’s have taken them from the goodly city.  I hear from Hunter Neill occasionally, he must be having a good time by himself.  Capt. Benton has been ordered to Washington.  You might stop here on your way home, in your summer’s leave of absence, for of course you go through N.Y.  There is but 38 men left in my class out of 87.  That is rather a falling off for one year.  I must stop now for the good reason that I have nothing more to say.  Remember me to any one at your place that I know.

  Your obdt. Friend,
            George Meade
             Cadet U.S.M.A.

P.S. What is the number of your box?


(Copy of photo included; taken from book title above)