January 2 – Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (1892)

The Army’s general order upon the death of Montgomery Meigs stated, “There are few whose character and career can be more justly commended or whose lives are more worthy of respect, admiration, and emulation.” Meigs is considered the master organizer that helped the Union win the Civil War. Following Lincoln’s appointment of him as Quartermaster General, Meigs orchestrated equipping an army of 20,000 at the onset of the war to an army of 600,000 in 1863. As an engineer, Meigs was responsible for such DC improvements as the Washington Aqueduct, which brought fresh water to the city for the first time, the House and Senate extensions and the dome of the U.S. Capitol, and the Pension Building (today’s National Building Museum).

During his life, Meigs kept a shorthand diary of his public and private life. His church affiliation seems to vacillate between St. John’s, Lafayette Square and Epiphany. On a Sunday in January 1857, Meigs writes, “Mr. Hall preached this morning, the new pastor of Epiphany, Mr. French’s church. He is a good preacher. I should think a good man, earnest in his style, as he preached for an object, not to make fine words.” Several weeks later, Meigs records, “We had a communion service this morning. I feel my own unworthiness. I partook of it with a hope that I might be made more careful and more effective to my duties toward my God than I am.” The entry on April 18, 1858 states, “we have taken a pew in Mr. Hall’s Church of Epiphany.” (The term “taken a pew” refers to the practice at the time of renting a pew for a family’s use as a means of providing income for the church.) This is a month before his oldest two children were confirmed at Epiphany. In 1864, Meigs’ third son was confirmed at Epiphany, just weeks after his first son had been killed in the war.

< Previous                                                                                                                                                               Next >

No comments yet

Add comment