Written by the Adjutant of the post Albert C. Johnston
Adjutant Johnston had the distinction of disinterring "Old Baldy," General George G. Meade's gallant war horse, who was put on display in the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia
6 x 9 1/2, in ink, written on an imprinted letter sheet with the logo of Meade GAR Post 1, Philadelphia at upper left. A.L.S., A.C. Johnston, Adjutant of the Post. Also comes with a vintage postcard published by Blocher's, Gettysburg, Pa., of General George G. Meade, Commander of the Army of the Potomac during the battle of Gettysburg. General Meade sits proudly atop his gallant war horse, "Old Baldy." Erected by the State of Pennsylvania, on June 5, 1896, this iconic equestrian memorial is located on Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg National Military Park. Please note that the 1863 black & white image of "Old Baldy" is for display purposes only. It is not for sale.
George G. Meade Post, No. 1,
Department Of Pennsylvania, G.A.R.
No. 1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, April 15, 1889
Mr. John H. Geissinger,
On the above date you was duly elected a member of this Post. You will please report for Muster, on Monday Eve, April 22d at 8 o'clock.
Age toning with some edge and fold wear. Neatly written. The author of this letter has a very interesting background history.
Some trivia about Adjutant Albert C. Johnston:
Albert C. Johnston, a resident of Philadelphia, served in Co. H, 90th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil War.
The 90th Pennsylvania Infantry, saw action at 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Petersburg.
On Decoration Day, May 30, 1891, President Benjamin Harrison came to Philadelphia as the guest of the George G. Meade Post No. 1, G.A.R., to participate in their memorial ceremonies. President Harrison was greeted at the train station by a committee from the Post which included their Adjutant Albert C. Johnston.
"Old Baldy," General George G. Meade's gallant Civil War horse, and his connection to Adjutant A.C. Johnston:
"Old Baldy" was born and raised on the western frontier and at the start of the Civil War was owned by General David Hunter. His name during this period is unknown. It is said that he was wounded anywhere from 5 to 14 times during the Civil War, starting at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, where he was struck in the nose by a piece of an artillery shell. Soon after, in September 1861, he was purchased from the government by General Meade in Washington, D.C., for $150 and named "Baldy" because of his white face.
Despite "Old Baldy's" unusual, uncomfortable pace, Meade became quite devoted to him and rode him in most of his battles. The horse was wounded in the right hind leg at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, and at Antietam, he was wounded through the neck and left for dead on the field. He was later treated and the stubborn warrior miraculously survived. At Gettysburg, on July 2, 1863, "Old Baldy" was hit by a bullet that entered his stomach after passing through General Meade's right trouser leg. He staggered and refused to move forward, defying all of Meade's directions. Meade commented, "Baldy is done for this time. This is the first time he has refused to go forward under fire." "Old Baldy" was then sent to the rear for recuperation. In 1864, having returned to duty for the Overland Campaign, and the Siege of Petersburg, was struck in the ribs by a shell at the Weldon Railroad, and General Meade decided that "Old Baldy" should be retired. He was moderately active in retirement and General Meade rode him in several memorial parades. His last parade was as the "rider less horse" in the funeral procession of his old friend General George G. Meade, in Philadelphia. Meade, the 1835 West Point graduate, died in Philadelphia while still on active duty, on November 6, 1872. His elaborate funeral was attended by President Ulysses S. Grant, Generals' William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, Irvin McDowell and many other notable Civil War figures. A great equestrian statue of General Meade and his beloved "Old Baldy" can be seen on Cemetery Ridge, in the Gettysburg National Military Park. A similar statue honors him in West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. The United States Army installation, Fort Meade, in Maryland, is named for him. His legacy is commemorated today by the General Meade Society of Philadelphia.
"Old Baldy," Meade's gallant war horse was euthanized on December 16, 1882, at the age of 30, when he became too feeble to stand. On Christmas Day of that year, two Union Army veterans, Albert C. Johnston, (the above letter writer) and H.W.B. Harvey disinterred "Old Baldy's" remains and decapitated him, sending the head to a taxidermist. "Old Baldy's" head was mounted on a plaque and put in a glass case and displayed in the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia.