Solomon Meredith


Solomon Meredith was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, May 29, 1810. At the age of nineteen he moved to Wayne County, Indiana, where by working as a farm laborer he was able to pay for a fair education for himself. A natural leader of men, Meredith became sheriff of the county at the age of twenty-four, serving two terms, and then was elected for four terms in the legislature. In 1849 he was appointed United States marshal for the district of Indiana. As a well-known peace officer and lawmaker, his selection by Governor Oliver P. Morton to be colonel of the 19th Indiana was not surprising. This brigade saw its first heavy action in the course of the Second Manassas campaign, during the attack of Stonewall Jackson's Confederates on Rufus King's Union division: the 19th Indiana suffered about 220 casualties and Meredith himself was severely wounded. He was promoted brigadier general on October 6, 1862. At Chancellorsville his brigade of one Michigan, two Indiana, and three Wisconsin regiments, called during the war, the "Iron Brigade," was in Wadsworth's division of Reynolds' I Corps. Meredith's and Cutler's brigades opened the infantry action at Gettysburg, but Meredith was again wounded on the first day of fighting and incapacitated until November. Early in 1864 he was assigned to command of the post of Cairo, Illinois, and in September of that year to the post at Paducah, Kentucky, where he remained until the end of the war. On August 14, 1865, somewhat belatedly, he was brevetted major general of volunteers. His service record in the Civil War years was most distinguished, despite the fact that he was older by a decade, and in many cases by a generation, than most of his colleagues. (His three sons were all in the army during the war, two of them losing their lives.) From 1867 until his retirement in 1869 General Meredith served as surveyor general of the Montana Territory. After retiring to his farm, Oakland, near Cambridge City, Indiana, he devoted himself to raising prize livestock. He died there on October 2, 1875, and was buried in Riverside Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.