Montgomery Meigs

A photograph of a older man, standing in a military uniform

Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpbh-03111.

Montgomery Meigs (1816–1892) was appointed quartermaster general of the Union army by President Abraham Lincoln in May 1861. Prior to the war, Meigs attended the U.S. Military Academy before overseeing several military engineering projects. Notably, Meigs supervised the construction of the Washington Aqueduct, which supplied the capital with water, and worked with Robert E. Lee on a Mississippi River project. During the war, his department was responsible for procuring all Union military supplies except food and weapons, and transporting everything (including food and weapons) to where it was needed. Meigs, a veritable genius at organization, lived up to the expectations of the commanders in the field. Secretary of State William H. Seward stated of Meigs: “without the services of this eminent soldier the national cause must have been lost or deeply imperiled.” Lincoln often consulted Meigs, who served in the honor guard at the slain president’s funeral.