The Quartermaster

Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army

The Quartermaster

“The lively story of the Civil War’s most unlikely—and most uncelebrated—genius” (The Wall Street Journal)—General Montgomery C. Meigs, who built the Union Army and was judged by Abraham Lincoln, William Seward, and Edwin Stanton to be the indispensable architect of the Union victory.

Born to a well-to-do, connected family in 1816, Montgomery C. Meigs graduated from West Point as an engineer. He helped build America’s forts and served under Lt. Robert E. Lee to make navigation improvements on the Mississippi River. As a young man, he designed the Washington aqueducts in a city where people were dying from contaminated water. He built the spectacular wings and the massive dome of the brand new US Capitol.

Introduced to President Lincoln by Secretary of State William Seward, Meigs became Lincoln’s Quartermaster, in charge of supplies. It was during the Civil War that Meigs became a national hero. He commanded Ulysses S. Grant’s base of supplies that made Union victories, including Gettysburg, possible. He sustained Sherman’s army in Georgia, and the March to the Sea. After the war, Meigs built Arlington Cemetery (on land that had been Robert E. Lee’s home).

Civil War historian James McPherson calls Meigs “the unsung hero of northern victory,” and Robert O’Harrow Jr.’s biography of the victorious general who was never on the battlefield tells the full dramatic story of this fierce, strong, honest, loyal, forward-thinking figure. “An excellent biography…O’Harrow’s thorough, masterfully crafted, and impeccable researched biography is destined to become the authoritative volume on Meigs” (The Civil War Monitor).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451671933 | 
  • October 2017
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About the Author

Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Photograph by Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post

Robert O'Harrow Jr.

Robert O’Harrow Jr. is an award-winning reporter on the investigative unit at The Washington Post. O’Harrow is the author of No Place to Hide, Zero Day: The Threat in Cyberspace, and The Quartermaster, a biography of Montgomery C. Meigs. He was a contributor to the 2016 biography, Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power. He lives with his wife and son in Arlington, Virginia.