Our town's getting exactly what it obviously needs least: another statue of a Civil War general.

Well, maybe not another statue. It's getting one back. A marvelously allegorical monument to Gen. George Gordon Meade, pictured above, has recently sprouted in front of the United States Courthouse near the foot of Capitol Hill.

A lifelong Washingtonian called my attention to it, wondering where it came from. He shouldn't be surprised. It stood from 1927 to 1969 at Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and was put into storage to permit construction of the reflecting pool atop the I-395 freeway tunnel that crosses the Mall.

Meade was the Union commander at Gettysburg who turned back the Confederate invasion in 1863. He was a native of Pennsylvania, which contributed the statue to the nation.

The sculpture has lots of figures and wings and stuff that one leaves to sculptor Charles A. Grafly to describe (in a letter to the Fine Arts Commission in 1927):

"At the focal point in the circle stands the figure of Gen. Meade, his work accomplished, ready to step forth from the cloak of battle into a future era of Progress. Behind him is the grim figure of War, against the sweep of whose long wings are outlined the qualities of generalship--Energy, Military Courage, Fame, Progress, Chivalry and Loyalty--so placed that the urge is onward and forward from the grim determination of Military Courage and Energy to the figures of Chivalry and Loyalty, who, at the left and right of Meade, busy themselves with his cloak and the standard of his achievements . . . The command is 'Forward.' "