"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, December 9, 2017

John Rodgers Meigs

Lt. (Brevet Major) Meigs' tomb in Arlington National Cemetery bears this high relief depiction by Theophilus Fisk Mills of Lt. Meigs lying in road where he fell. The inscriptions reads “Lt. John Rodgers Meigs, U.S. Eng’rs, Chief Engineer of the Shenandoah, Born 9th February, 1842, Killed 3rd October 1864.”

 “John Rodgers Meigs (February 9, 1842 – October 3, 1864) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was the son of Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs, the Quartermaster General of the United States Army. He participated in the First Battle of Bull Run, and later testified in the court-martial trial of an officer involved in the retreat from the battle. He attended the United States Military Academy, where he was an acting assistant professor of mathematics and graduated first in his class in June 1863. He was lauded by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton for strengthening the defenses of Baltimore, Maryland; was an engineer and acting aide-de-camp on the staff of Brigadier General (Volunteers) William W. Averell; was Chief Engineer of the Shenandoah Valley for the Department of West Virginia; and was Chief Engineer of the Middle Military Division and aide-de-camp to General Phillip Sheridan. The circumstances under which Meigs died led to the burning of Dayton, Virginia, in retaliation. His funeral was a public event attended by President Abraham Lincoln, Stanton, and numerous government dignitaries. A book of Meigs' letters were published in 2006 under the title A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country: The Selected Correspondence of John Rodgers Meigs, 1859-64.” -- Wikipedia
Montgomery Meigs had his son buried “in Mrs. Lee’s rose garden” and later had his own, and his wife's, elaborate grave, placed nearby. So the inscription behind Lt. Meigs' grave is that of his mother, Louisa Rodgers Meigs.

Louisa Rodgers Meigs Daughter of Commodore John Rodgers U.S. Navy and Minerva Denison his wife. Wife of Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs U. S. Army Born in Washington, 17th Aug 1816 Died there 21st Nov 1879. Loving Daughter Beloved Wife Fond Mother True Friend Faithful Christian Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
Kathryn Allamong Jakob, in Testaments of Time, 1998, captures the eeriness of this monument “Just 39 inches in length, the effigy looks distressingly like the body of a dead child, an effect heightened by the fact that Meigs, though 22 years old at his death, looked little older than a boy.”

This photo of John Meigs at West Point, is dated September 1859.

and this photo dates from 1864 the year he died. (both photos from Wikipedia.)

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