services was fully won, but that he was eminently qualified for the command such rank would entitle him to.1
was emphatically a Christian soldier, and never forgot his responsibility to a higher power.
Caring more for the approval of his conscience than for the applause of his countrymen, no consideration could ever swerve him from the course he knew to be right; and on more than one occasion he deliberately chose to endanger his own reputation, rather than risk unnecessarily the lives of his men. For he was a man who “gained strength by prayer, and knew no guide but duty.”
In speaking of him in this respect, we cannot better conclude than by quoting the following extract from the address delivered at his funeral, by Bishop Whipple
, of Minnesota
If I asked any of you to describe our brother's character, you would tell me that he had a woman's gentleness, with the strength of a great-hearted man. I believe it was the lessons of Christian faith, inwrought into a soldier's life, which made him know no guide but duty, which made him so kind to the helpless, which placed him foremost in all public works, and made his name a household wold in all your homes.
During the dark days of our civil war, I happened to be in Washington.
He telegraphed me to come and celebrate Easter in his camp, with the Holy Communion.
It was a strange place for Easter flowers and Easter songs, and the story of the Resurrection, but I do not recall a sweeter service, nor one more redolent of the peace of heaven.
Of the bronzed veterans who knelt beside the Lord's table, some, like Williams and Meade, are sleeping with the dead; others are scattered far, and busy in life's work.
That day I knew that we had in our camp centurions who feared God and prayed always.
The world loves to tell other stories of public men; and, perhaps, no eye but God's sees the record of the conflict of human souls in the battle of life.
Death came suddenly, without the sound of a footfall; there were a few days when friends waited on medical skill, but his heart was in the country whither he was going.
He looked to the Savior, the only one in heaven or earth who could help him. He asked for the Holy Communion, and by the Lord's table gathered manna for the journey; the words of penitence, and the look of faith, were blended with his dying prayers, and he fell asleep.
Our country had no greater soldier, no truer man, than George G. Meade
, the skilful general, the incorruptible patriot, the pure, honorable, chivalrous, Christian gentleman.
We need such men in the army and in the State
, always and everywhere.
Long may we cherish his memory, and honor his virtues.