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MG Montgomery Cunningham Meigs

MG Montgomery Cunningham Meigs

Birth
Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, USA
Death 2 Jan 1892 (aged 75)
Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 1, Site 1-EH
Memorial ID 2287 · View Source
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Civil War Union Army Major General. He was born in Augusta, Georgia. He attended the University of Pennsylania, and then transferred to the United States Military Academy where he graduated 5th in the class of 1836. Commissioned into the Artillery, he held a degree in engineering and soon was transferred to the Corps of Engineers. In 1837 he accompanied Robert E. Lee to St. Louis, Missouri, to undertake navigational improvements of the Mississippi River. During the 1850's, he initiated and completed several engineering projects in Washington D.C., which greatly changed the city. He supervised the construction of the Washington Aqueduct that extended 12 miles from Great Falls on the Potomac River to a reservoir near Georgetown. The Cabin John Bridge, which he designed to carry Washington's main water supply and vehicular traffic, was until this century the longest single masonary arch in the world. He also oversaw the construction of the wings and dome of the United States Capitol Building. The best known architectural accomplishment of his, however, is the Old Pension Building in Washington's Judiciary Square. That building was intended originally as a pension distribution center for Union soldiers. The building has been used for inaugural balls and is officially classified a National Historic Monument. In October 1985, the building was rededicated as the National Building Museum. He also help design several other important buildings in Washington. He was made an infantry colonel on May 14, 1861, but protested that his talents lay elsewhere. The next day he was promoted to quartermaster general with the rank of Brigadier General, replacing Joseph E. Johnston, who had joined the Confederacy. In this position, he was in charged of equipping all Union forces for every need, except ordnance. He was known to have held a rather high opinion of himself and had a very violent, sometimes irrational temper. Even though he was a Southerner by birth, he considered the secessionists revolutionaries and the soldiers who fought for the South, traitors. He had an intense hatred for Jefferson Davis, his former mentor, Robert E. Lee, his former commanding officer, and his own brother, for fighting against the Union. It was this hatred for Lee that prompted him to recommend that Lee's home be made into a military cemetery. Thus he is known as the "Father of Arlington National Cemetery." His Civil War career was not without tragedy. His eldest son, John Rodgers Meigs, was killed in the Shenandoah Valley while serving on Major General Philip H. Sheridan's staff. Rumored to be a guerrilla murder, not a combat death, the loss provoked Sheridan to exact harsh revenge on valley residents. But to the Georgian Meigs the only real consolation was that his son died serving the Union. He retired from the Army in 1882, but remained in Washington civic affairs. It was during this retirement that he designed the Old Pension Building. He also served as a regent at the Smithsonian Institution, and was an early member of the National Academy of Sciences. He died in Washington, and was buried at Arlington, the cemetery he created.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2287
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for MG Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (3 May 1816–2 Jan 1892), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2287, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .