About the National Archives

Welcome for "The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln’s General, Master Builder of the Union Army"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
October 28, 2016


Good afternoon. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m happy to welcome you to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives, whether you are here in the theater or joining us on YouTube and C-SPAN.

Today we’re pleased to have Robert O’Harrow, Jr., with us to talk about his new book, The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln’s General, Master Builder of the Union Army.

General Meigs’s name may not be as familiar as Grant or Sherman, but he was instrumental to the victories won by those generals. But before we dig into the full story of “the master builder of the Union Army,” I’d like to tell you about two programs that we’ll be hosting next month.


On Thursday, November 3, at 7 p.m., Adam Rothman, professor of history at Georgetown University, will discuss the university’s roots in the slave economy of early America and their implications for today. This program is presented in partnership with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., as the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Lecture to open the 43rd Annual Conference on D.C. History.

And on Wednesday, November 9, at noon, in commemoration of Veterans Day and the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, we will show the film The Luft Gangster: Memoirs of a Second Class Hero, which tells the story of Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson. The film’s director, Mike Rott, will introduce the film and answer audience questions.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events in print or online at Archives.gov. There are copies in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet so you can receive it by regular mail or email. You’ll also find brochures about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

Montgomery Meigs’s documentary legacy is powerfully represented across several record groups here in the National Archives. Fortunately for us, we do not have to personally follow the winding paper trail to learn about the life and works of General Meigs. We have Robert O’Harrow’s new biography to bring the details together in one place.

To give us a flavor of the archival connections to General Montgomery Meigs, and to introduce today’s speaker, I would like to bring up Trevor Plante to the stage. Trevor is the Chief of the Reference Services Branch in this building. He oversees the day-to-day operations of our reference staff and the research rooms at the National Archives Building. Trevor is a supervisory archivist who specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century military records. He is an active lecturer at the National Archives and a frequent contributor to Prologue, our quarterly magazine. He has appeared on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, and has been a guest on NPR, and Federal News Radio. He was also featured in “First Person Singular” in the Washington Post Magazine.

Ladies and gentlemen: Trevor Plante.