The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 John Rodgers Meigs

John Rodgers Meigs

Birth
Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Death 2 Oct 1864 (aged 23)
Virginia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 1, Site 1-SH
Memorial ID 4472 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Civil War Union Army Officer. His father was Major General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, who was also in the Civil War. On his mother's side, he was the grandson of Commodore John Rodgers, the naval hero of the War of 1812. The Revolutionary War hero Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, Sr. was his great-great-grandfather. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1859. He was excelling in science and mathematics when he took a leave of absence to be an aide-de-camp to General Philip H Sheridan at the First Battle of Bull Run. He returned to the academy and was able to finish number one in his class despite the absence. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Engineers, following in his fathers footsteps. His first action in the war was to pursue the Confederate Army after the Battle of Gettysburg. Following this he was on the staff of Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Kelley in West Virginia where he fought in the Battle of New Market. He campaigned with Major General David Hunter and Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan appointed him as Chief Engineer in August 1864 and promoted him to brevet captain and major for his gallantry at the battles of the Third Battle of Winchester and Fisher's Hill. He is most remembered for the controversy that surrounded the events on October 3, 1864. It was a rainy night and Meigs and two of his men were returning to headquarters when they overtook three Confederate cavalrymen. Meigs called them to a halt, but one of the Confederates demanded that Meigs and his men surrender. The two groups exchanged gunfire that resulted in the death of Meigs. The Confederates captured one of the two remaining enlisted men and the other escaped back to Sheridan's camp. He told General Sheridan that Meigs had been given no chance to defend himself and was murdered in cold blood. Sheridan was so infuriated that he ordered the whole town of Dayton, Virginia to be burned to the ground. Sheridan later learned that it had been a fair fight and rescinded the order, but thirty homes and barns had already been destroyed. Primarily because of the prominence of Meigs family his death became a source of news and great controversy. His father believed that his son had been murdered and placed a $1,000 reward on the killer's head. He hired a private detective whose investigation continued after the end of the war. Montgomery Meigs originally had his son buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, DC, but later moved him to Arlington Cemetery which he had helped institute. His monument in Arlington is an exact replication of the way his body was found as it was lying in the road.

Bio by: Tom Todd



Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was John Rodgers Meigs?

Current rating:

32 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Feb 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4472
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Rodgers Meigs (9 Feb 1841–2 Oct 1864), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4472, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .