Richard Kidder Meade was born July 14, 1746 into the respectable family of David and Susannah Meade of Nansemond County, Virginia.  As a youth, Richard Kidder Meade received a classical education in London, England, first at James Graham’s school and then at Fuller’s Academy.  In 1767, he married and embarked upon the life of a farmer in Prince George County, Virginia.  However, this was not to be.  By the end of 1771, all three of his children had tragically passed away and his wife died in January of 1774. 

As the Old Dominion prepared for the coming conflict with Great Britain, Richard Kidder Meade was elected to the Prince George County Committee of Intelligence on May 8, 1775.  He was also principally involved in the aftermath of the “Gunpowder Incident” in Williamsburg in the early summer of 1775.  Thereafter, he was appointed a Captain of the “2d Battalion of Virginia forces, while on Provincial Establishment” on October 24, 1775.  Captain Meade and his company were introduced to the “Horrors of War” at the Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775.  Recognizing the victory for the colonists was only the beginning of a larger conflict, Meade vowed to “see this present matter at an end, or die…”  His regiment was adopted into the Continental Army in March of 1776 and was stationed in the vicinity of Hampton Roads to guard against enemy incursions. As regiments filled in Virginia, Richard Kidder Meade’s seniority qualified him for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the autumn of 1776, to serve as the 14th Virginia Regiment’s executive officer.  But before he could settle into his new position, he would be “appointed Aide-De-Camp to the Commander in Chief” in the general orders for March 12, 1777 and immediately employed at headquarters.  For the next three and a half years, Richard Kidder Meade steadily served in the military family of General George Washington, through the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777,  the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 and the brutal winter of 1779-1780 at Morristown, New Jersey.  By the end of September 1780, he had grown weary of war and, after supervising the hanging of Major John André on October 2, 1780, Richard Kidder Meade left military service and returned to Virginia. 

In December of 1780, Richard Kidder Meade married the lady who occupied his thoughts over the past year, Mary Fitzhugh Grymes Randolph.  Having sold his property in Virginia’s Southside, he relocated to Frederick County, Virginia, to farm and start a family.  One of his sons, the Reverend William Meade, tells of the last meeting of his father and George Washington: “They met in one of the fields, near a pair of draw-bars. Each, recognizing the other, dismounted and shook hands over them, the General insisting that he would pull down his own bars, and my father [saying] that he would be his aid still.”  After raising a large family, Richard Kidder Meade died on February 9, 1805.

 

Samuel K. Fore

Harlan Crow Library

 

Bibliography:

Campbell, Charles, ed.  The Bland Papers: Being a Selection from the Manuscripts of Colonel Theodorick Bland, Jr. of Price George County, Virginia… Petersburg: Printed by Edmund & Julian C. Ruffin, 1840.

Lefkowitz, Arthur S. George Washington’s Indispensable Men: The 32 Aides-de-Camp Who Helped Win American Independence. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2003.

Meade, [William], Bishop. Old Churches, Ministers & Families of Virginia.  Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1861.

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