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George Brinton McClellan

George Brinton McClellan
Artist
Julian Scott, 1846 - 1901
Sitter
George Brinton McClellan, 3 Dec 1826 - 29 Oct 1885
Date
1888
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
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
NPG.65.35
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.
Provenance
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
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 112
Usage