Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade Equestrian Monument, Bronze sculpture by
H. K. Bush-Brown
Located on Hancock Ave. atop Cemetery Ridge. (see Google map link at bottom of page)
(hover over the lower right corner of photo and a magnifying glass icon will appear. Click on the icon to enlarge the photo)
Major General George Gordon Meade Equestrian Monument
Dedicated June 5, 1896
The first bronze equestrian monument dedicated on the battlefield at Gettysburg was in honor of the Northern Army commander Major General Meade. (On the afternoon of June 5,1896 the Hancock equestrian would also be dedicated. )
Legislation was brought before the Pennsylvania General Assembly and was approved by Governor Daniel H. Hastings for the erection of a monument to General Meade at Gettysburg. The state approved $30,000.00 for the bronze statue and an additional $8000.00 for the pedestal.
Total cost for the final monument was approximately $37,500.00
General Meade is represented as bareheaded, on a horse at rest with its head up, ears forward and reins loosely held. Both appear to be watching a distant battle.
When one stands at the base of the monument and studies the details of the bronze, the abilities of the sculptor H. K. Bush-Brown are apparent. Note the open coat and the detail of the hand as it grasps the binoculars.
Another detailed view of General Meade. The sculptor placed much detail in the belt and buckle as worn by the General.
Several small holes were placed in the bottom of the boot of the bronze. These holes were placed there to allow water that could accumulate inside to drain.
The sculptor has placed very ornate “eagle head” spurs on the General’s boot.
Most visitors when viewing the monument have no idea about the history of the horse the General is astride. It is assumed the horse represented is “Old Baldy” the horse ridden by General Meade during many battles of the Civil War. General Meade would purchase the horse in September 1861 for $150.00. The General named him “Baldy” because of the horse’s white face. Baldy would be wounded several times during the Civil War and on the 2nd day at Gettysburg when he was struck in the stomach. He would recover from the wound and Meade would ride Baldy until April 1864. Meade would write his wife, "Yesterday I sent my orderly with Old Baldy to Philadelphia. He will never be fit again for hard service and I thought he was entitled to better care than could be given to him on the march." Baldy would spend his remaining years in pasture. After the Civil War Meade would ride Baldy in several parades and Baldy would be the “riderless horse” at Meade’s funeral.
Old Baldy would pass away on December 16, 1882 at the age of 30. As unbelievable as it may seem, the head of Old Baldy was removed and sent to a taxidermist and mounted on a plaque. It is displayed today in the GAR museum on Griscom Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
General Meade and Old Baldy
The detail in the saddle blanket is incredible. These saddle blankets were padded and note how the sculptor gives the blanket this look. Also note the detailed stitching and the insignia noting a Major General.
Above is an original Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) medal from the Meade Post #1 located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the relief of Meade.
The attachment portion of the medal is adorned with the likeness of Old Baldy.
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