May 3

Montgomery Meigs

May 3, 1816 - Augusta

He was a Georgia native responsible for turning Robert E. Lee’s plantation into a national cemetery.

Montgomery Meigs was born in Augusta in 1816 and graduated from the U.S. Military academy at West Point. Meigs was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers and oversaw the construction of many of Washington’s most important buildings, including the wings and dome of the U.S. Capitol. He also engineered the Washington Aqueduct and the Cabin John Bridge, the longest single masonry arch in the world until the 20th century.

Despite his Southern birth, Meigs remained loyal to the United States during the Civil War. As Quartermaster general, he had the daunting task of feeding and supplying the Union armies. In June 1864, Meigs authorized burying soldiers at Arlington, the confiscated plantation belonging to Robert E. Lee’s wife. It became Arlington National Cemetery, sacred ground where more than 260,000 Americans from all wars since the revolution are now buried. One of those is Montgomery Meigs, born in Augusta on May 3, 1816, Today in Georgia History.