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George Brinton McClellan

George Brinton McClellan
Julian Scott, 1846 - 1901
George Brinton McClellan, 3 Dec 1826 - 29 Oct 1885
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 101.6 x 76.5 x 3.8cm (40 x 30 1/8 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 119.7 x 94 x 10.2cm (47 1/8 x 37 x 4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; bequest of Georgiana L. McClellan, 1953
Object number
Exhibition Label
After the Union army's defeat at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, President Lincoln appointed thirty-four-year-old General George B. McClellan to command federal operations in Virginia. Within weeks, "Little Mac" transformed the remnants of a demoralized volunteer army into a disciplined fighting machine and christened it the Army of the Potomac.
But achieving victory required engaging the enemy in battle, and in this McClellan procrastinated, much to Lincoln's exasperation. When he did lead his troops into battle, he was slow to advance and quick to retreat. Finally, after McClellan failed to pursue Robert E. Lee's army following the Union's victory at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, Lincoln relieved him of his command. McClellan reemerged briefly in national politics in 1864 as the Democratic Party's unsuccessful presidential candidate.
Georgiana Louise Heckscher [Mrs. George B. McClellan, Jr., 1863-1952], Washington, D.C., daughter-in-law of sitter; bequest 1953 to Smithsonian [NCFA]; transferred 1965 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 112