|The picture shows a front and back view of this 1896 Major General George McClellan Advertising Premium Celluloid Pin Back Button. This pinback button was part of an 1896 collection of pinback buttons that we had acquired. It may have been used as a premium from a tobacco, cigarette, candy, or gum company as many like this were at that time. This pinback button has an image of Major General George McClellan. There is a paper insert in the back. The front, edge, and back of this pin are marked as follows:|
MAJ. GEN. GEO. B. McCLELLAN
THE WHITEHEAD & HOAG CO.
PATENTED JULY 17, 1894
APRIL 14, 1896
JULY 21, 1896
PAT. JULY 21, 1896
The pin back button measures 7/8'' wide. It appears to be in excellent condition with light age discoloration as pictured. Below here, for reference, is some additional information about Major General George McClellan:
George B. McClellan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Brinton McClellan
24th Governor of New Jersey
In office: January 15, 1878 - January 18, 1881
Preceded by: Joseph D. Bedle
Succeeded by: George C. Ludlow
Born: December 3, 1826 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: October 29, 1885 (aged 58) Orange, New Jersey
Political party: Democratic
Spouse: Ellen Mary Marcy McClellan
Profession: Soldier (General)
Nickname(s): Little Mac, The Young Napoleon
Allegiance: United States of America Union
Service / branch: United States Army
Years of service: 1846 - 1857, 1861 - 1864
Rank: Major General
Commands: Army of the Potomac
Battles / Wars: Mexican – American War, American Civil War, Battle of Rich Mountain, Peninsula Campaign, Seven Days Battles, Maryland Campaign, and Battle of Antietam
George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 - October 29, 1885) was a Major General during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the General in Chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well trained and organized army for the Union. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these attributes may have hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.
McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee's smaller army and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee's invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. As a result, McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, first as General in Chief, then from the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, ''If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.'' Despite this, he was the most popular of that army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well being as paramount concerns.
General McClellan also failed to maintain the trust of Lincoln, and proved to be frustratingly derisive of, and insubordinate to, his Commander in Chief. After he was relieved of command, McClellan became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election. His party had an anti war platform, promising to end the war and negotiate with the Confederacy, which McClellan was forced to repudiate, damaging the effectiveness of his campaign. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He eventually became a writer, defending his actions during the Peninsula Campaign and the Civil War.
Although the great majority of modern authorities assess McClellan poorly as a battlefield general, a small but vocal faction of historians maintain that he was indeed a highly capable commander, but his reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro Lincoln partisans who needed a scapegoat for the Union's setbacks. His legacy therefore defies easy categorization. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked to evaluate McClellan as a general. He replied, ''McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war''.
Early life and career
McClellan was born in Philadelphia, the son of a prominent surgical ophthalmologist, Dr. George McClellan, the founder of Jefferson Medical College. His mother was Elizabeth Steinmetz Brinton McClellan, daughter of a leading Pennsylvania family, a woman noted for her ''considerable grace and refinement''. The couple produced five children: a daughter, Frederica; then three sons, John, George, and Arthur; and a second daughter, Mary. George was the grandson of Revolutionary War general Samuel McClellan of Woodstock, Connecticut. He first attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1840 at age 13, resigning himself to the study of law. After two years, he changed his goal to military service. With the assistance of his father's letter to President John Tyler, young George was accepted at the United States Military Academy in 1842, the academy having waived its normal minimum age of 16.
At West Point, he was an energetic and ambitious cadet, deeply interested in the teachings of Dennis Hart Mahan and the theoretical strategic principles of Antoine-Henri Jomini. His closest friends were aristocratic Southerners such as James Stuart, Dabney Maury, Cadmus Wilcox, and A.P. Hill. These associations gave McClellan what he considered to be an appreciation of the Southern mind, an understanding of the political and military implications of the sectional differences in the United States that led to the Civil War. He graduated in 1846, second in his class of 59 cadets, losing the top position (to Charles Seaforth Stewart) only because of poor drawing skills. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
McClellan's first assignment was with a company of engineers formed at West Point, but he quickly received orders to sail for the Mexican-American War. He arrived near the mouth of the Rio Grande in October 1846, well prepared for action with a double barreled shotgun, two pistols, a saber, a dress sword, and a Bowie knife. He complained that he had arrived too late to take any part in the American victory at Monterrey in September. During a temporary armistice in which the forces of Gen. Zachary Taylor awaited action, McClellan was stricken with dysentery and malaria, which kept him in the hospital for nearly a month. The malaria would recur in later years, he called it his ''Mexican disease''. He served bravely as an engineering officer during the war, subjected to frequent enemy fire, and was appointed a brevet first lieutenant for Contreras and Churubusco and to Captain for Chapultepec. He performed reconnaissance missions for Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, a close friend of McClellan's father.
McClellan's experiences during the war developed various attitudes that affected his later military and political life. He learned to appreciate the value of flanking movements over frontal assaults (used by Scott at Cerro Gordo) and the value of siege operations (Vera Cruz). He witnessed Scott's success in balancing political with military affairs, and his good relations with the civil population as he invaded, enforcing strict discipline on his soldiers to minimize damage to their property. And he developed a disdain for volunteer soldiers and officers, particularly politicians who cared nothing for discipline and training.
McClellan returned to West Point to command his engineering company, which was attached to the academy for the purpose of training cadets in engineering activities. He chafed at the boredom of peacetime garrison service, although he greatly enjoyed the social life. In June 1851 he was ordered to Fort Delaware, a masonry work under construction on an island in the Delaware River, 40 miles downriver from Philadelphia. In March 1852 he was ordered to report to Capt. Randolph B. Marcy at Fort Smith, Arkansas, to serve as second in command on an expedition to discover the sources of the Red River. By June the expedition reached the source of the north fork of the river and Marcy named a small tributary McClellan's Creek. Upon their return to civilization on July 28, they were astonished to find that they had been given up for dead. A sensational story had reached the press, which McClellan blamed on ''a set of scoundrels, who seek to keep up agitation on the frontier in order to get employment from the Govt. in one way or other'', that the expedition had been ambushed by 2,000 Comanches and killed to the last man.
In the fall of 1852, McClellan published a manual on bayonet tactics that he had translated from the original French. He also received an assignment to the Department of Texas, with orders to perform a survey of Texas rivers and harbors. In 1853 he participated in the Pacific Railroad surveys, ordered by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, to select an appropriate route for the upcoming transcontinental railroad. McClellan surveyed the northern corridor along the 47th and 49th parallels from St. Paul to the Puget Sound. During this assignment, he demonstrated a tendency for insubordination toward senior political figures. Isaac Stevens, governor of the Washington Territory, became dissatisfied with McClellan's performance in scouting passes across the Cascade Range. (McClellan selected Yakima Pass without a thorough reconnaissance and refused the governor's order to lead a party through it in winter conditions, relying on faulty intelligence about the depth of snowpack in that area. He also neglected to find three greatly superior passes in the near vicinity, which would be the ones eventually used for railroads and interstate highways.) The governor ordered McClellan to turn over his expedition logbooks, but McClellan steadfastly refused, most likely because of embarrassing personal comments that he had made throughout.
Returning to the East, McClellan began courting Ellen Mary Marcy (1836 - 1915), the daughter of his former commander. Ellen, or Nelly, refused McClellan's first proposal of marriage, one of nine that she received from a variety of suitors, including his West Point friend, A. P. Hill. Ellen accepted Hill's proposal in 1856, but her family did not approve and he withdrew.
In June 1854, McClellan was sent on a secret reconnaissance mission to Santo Domingo at the behest of Jefferson Davis. McClellan assessed local defensive capabilities for the secretary. (The information was not used until 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant unsuccessfully attempted to annex the Dominican Republic.) Davis was beginning to treat McClellan almost as a protégé, and his next assignment was to assess the logistical readiness of various railroads in the United States, once again with an eye toward planning for the transcontinental railroad. In March 1855, McClellan was promoted to captain and assigned to the 1st U.S. Cavalry regiment.
Because of his political connections and his mastery of French, McClellan received the assignment to be an official observer of the European armies in the Crimean War in 1855. Traveling widely, and interacting with the highest military commands and royal families, McClellan observed the siege of Sevastopol. Upon his return to the United States in 1856 he requested assignment in Philadelphia to prepare his report, which contained a critical analysis of the siege and a lengthy description of the organization of the European armies. He also wrote a manual on cavalry tactics that was based on Russian cavalry regulations. A notable failure of the observers, including McClellan, was that they neglected to explain the importance of the emergence of rifled muskets in the Crimean War, and how that would require fundamental changes in tactics for the coming Civil War. The Army adopted McClellan's cavalry manual and also his design for a saddle, the ''McClellan Saddle'', which he claimed to have seen used by Hussars in Prussia and Hungary. It became standard issue for as long as the U.S. horse cavalry existed and is currently used for ceremonies.
McClellan resigned his commission January 16, 1857, and, capitalizing on his experience with railroad assessment, became chief engineer and vice president of the Illinois Central Railroad and also president of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad in 1860. He performed well in both jobs, expanding the Illinois Central toward New Orleans and helping the Ohio and Mississippi recover from the Panic of 1857. But despite his successes and lucrative salary ($10,000 per year), he was frustrated with civilian employment and continued to study classical military strategy assiduously. During the Utah War against the Mormons, he considered rejoining the Army. He also considered service as a filibuster in support of Benito Juárez in Mexico.
Before the outbreak of Civil War, McClellan became active in politics, supporting the presidential campaign of Democrat Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 election. He claimed to have defeated an attempt at vote fraud by Republicans by ordering the delay of a train that was carrying men to vote illegally in another county, enabling Douglas to win the county. In October 1859 McClellan was able to resume his courtship of Ellen Marcy, and they were married in Calvary Church, New York City, on May 22, 1860.
Ohio and strategy
At the start of the Civil War, McClellan's knowledge of what was called ''big war science'' and his railroad experience implied he would excel at military logistics. This placed him in great demand as the Union mobilized. The governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the three largest states of the Union, actively pursued him to command their states' militia. Ohio Governor William Dennison was the most persistent, so McClellan was commissioned a major general of volunteers and took command of the Ohio militia on April 23, 1861. Unlike some of his fellow Union officers who came from abolitionist families, he was opposed to federal interference with slavery. So some of his Southern colleagues approached him informally about siding with the Confederacy, but he could not accept the concept of secession.
On May 3 McClellan re-entered federal service by being named commander of the Department of the Ohio, responsible for the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and, later, western Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and Missouri. On May 14, he was commissioned a major general in the regular army. At age 34 he now outranked everyone in the Army other than Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, the general in chief. McClellan's rapid promotion was partly because of his acquaintance with Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary and former Ohio governor and senator.
As McClellan scrambled to process the thousands of men who were volunteering for service and to set up training camps, he also set his mind toward grand strategy. He wrote a letter to General Scott on April 27, four days after assuming command in Ohio, that was the first proposal for a unified strategy for the war. It contained two alternatives, both with a prominent role for himself as commander. The first called for 80,000 men to invade Virginia through the Kanawha Valley toward Richmond. The second called for those same men to drive south instead across the Ohio River into Kentucky and Tennessee. Scott dismissed both plans as being logistically infeasible. Although he complimented McClellan and expressed his ''great confidence in your intelligence, zeal, science, and energy'', he replied by letter that the 80,000 men would be better used on a river based expedition to control the Mississippi River and split the Confederacy, accompanied by a strong Union blockade of Southern ports. This plan, which would have demanded considerable patience on the part of the Northern public, was derided in newspapers as the Anaconda Plan, but eventually proved to be the successful outline used to prosecute the war. Relations between the two generals became increasingly strained over the summer and fall.
McClellan's first military operations were to occupy the area of Western Virginia that wanted to remain in the Union and later became the state of West Virginia. He had received intelligence reports on May 26 that the critical Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridges in that portion of the state were being burned. As he quickly implemented plans to invade the region, he triggered his first serious political controversy by proclaiming to the citizens there that his forces had no intentions of interfering with personal property, including slaves.
''Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to believe that our advent among you will be signalized by interference with your slaves, understand one thing clearly, not only will we abstain from all such interference but we will on the contrary with an iron hand, crush any attempted insurrection on their part.'' He quickly realized that he had overstepped his bounds and apologized by letter to President Lincoln. The controversy was not that his proclamation was diametrically opposed to the administration's policy at the time, but that he was so bold in stepping beyond his strictly military role. His forces moved rapidly into the area through Grafton and were victorious at the tiny skirmish called the Battle of Philippi Races, arguably the first land conflict of the war. His first personal command in battle was at Rich Mountain, which he also won, but only after displaying a strong sense of caution and a reluctance to commit reserve forces that would be his hallmark for the rest of his career. His subordinate commander, William S. Rosecrans, bitterly complained that his attack was not reinforced as McClellan had agreed. Nevertheless, these two minor victories propelled McClellan to the status of national hero. The New York Herald entitled an article about him, ''General McClellan, the Napoleon of the Present War.''
Building an army
After the defeat of the Union forces at Bull Run on July 21, 1861, Lincoln summoned McClellan from West Virginia, where McClellan had given the North the only actions thus far having a semblance of military victories. He traveled by special train on the main Pennsylvania line from Wheeling through Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and on to Washington, D.C., and was overwhelmed by enthusiastic crowds that met his train along the way.
Carl Sandburg wrote, ''McClellan was the man of the hour, pointed to by events, and chosen by an overwhelming weight of public and private opinion''. On July 26, the day he reached the capital, McClellan was appointed commander of the Military Division of the Potomac, the main Union force responsible for the defense of Washington. On August 20, several military units in Virginia were consolidated into his department and he immediately formed the Army of the Potomac, with himself as its first commander. He reveled in his newly acquired power and fame: I find myself in a new and strange position here, Preisdent, Cabinet, General Scott & all deferring to me, by some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land. ... I almost think that were I to win some small success now I could become Dictator or anything else that might please me, but nothing of that kind would please me, therefore I won't be Dictator. Admirable self denial!
– George B. McClellan, letter to Ellen, July 26, 1861
During the summer and fall, McClellan brought a high degree of organization to his new army, and greatly improved its morale by his frequent trips to review and encourage his units. It was a remarkable achievement, in which he came to personify the Army of the Potomac and reaped the adulation of his men. He created defenses for Washington that were almost impregnable, consisting of 48 forts and strong points, with 480 guns manned by 7,200 artillerists. The Army of the Potomac grew in number from 50,000 in July to 168,000 in November and was considered by far the most colossal military unit the world had seen in modern historical times. But this was also a time of tension in the high command, as he continued to quarrel frequently with the government and the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Scott, on matters of strategy. McClellan rejected the tenets of Scott's Anaconda Plan, favoring instead an overwhelming grand battle, in the Napoleonic style. He proposed that his army should be expanded to 273,000 men and 600 guns and ''crush the rebels in one campaign''. He favored a war that would impose little impact on civilian populations and require no emancipation of slaves.
McClellan's antipathy to emancipation added to the pressure on him, as he received bitter criticism from Radical Republicans in the government. He viewed slavery as an institution recognized in the Constitution, and entitled to federal protection wherever it existed. His writings after the war were typical of many Northerners: ''I confess to a prejudice in favor of my own race, & can't learn to like the odor of either Billy goats or niggers.'' But in November 1861, he wrote to his wife, ''I will, if successful, throw my sword onto the scale to force an improvement in the condition of those poor blacks.'' He later wrote that had it been his place to arrange the terms of peace, he would have insisted on gradual emancipation, guarding the rights of both slaves and masters, as part of any settlement. But he made no secret of his opposition to the radical Republicans. He told Ellen, ''I will not fight for the abolitionists''. This placed him at an obvious handicap because many politicians running the government believed that he was attempting to implement the policies of the opposition party.
The immediate problem with McClellan's war strategy was that he was convinced the Confederates were ready to attack him with overwhelming numbers. On August 8, believing that the Confederates had over 100,000 troops facing him (in contrast to the 35,000 they actually deployed at Bull Run a few weeks earlier), he declared a state of emergency in the capital. By August 19, he estimated 150,000 enemy to his front. McClellan's future campaigns would be strongly influenced by the overblown enemy strength estimates of his secret service chief, detective Allan Pinkerton, but in August 1861, these estimates were entirely McClellan's own. The result was a level of extreme caution that sapped the initiative of McClellan's army and caused great condemnation by his government. Historian and biographer Stephen W. Sears has called McClellan's actions ''essentially sound'' if he had been as outnumbered as he believed, but McClellan in fact rarely had less than a two to one advantage over his opponents in 1861 and 1862. That fall, for example, Confederate forces ranged from 35,000 to 60,000, whereas the Army of the Potomac in September numbered 122,000 men; in early December 170,000; by year end, 192,000.
The dispute with Scott would become very personal. Scott (along with many in the War Department) was outraged that McClellan refused to divulge any details about his strategic planning, or even mundane details such as troop strengths and dispositions. (For his part, McClellan claimed not to trust anyone in the administration to keep his plans secret from the press, and thus the enemy.) During disagreements about defensive forces on the Potomac River, McClellan wrote to his wife on August 10 in a manner that would characterize some of his more private correspondence: ''Genl Scott is the great obstacle, he will not comprehend the danger & is either a traitor, or an incompetent. I have to fight my way against him.''Scott became so disillusioned over his relationship with the young general that he offered his resignation to President Lincoln, who initially refused to accept it. Rumors traveled through the capital that McClellan might resign, or instigate a military coup, if Scott were not removed. Lincoln's Cabinet met on October 18 and agreed to accept Scott's resignation for ''reasons of health''.
General in Chief
On November 1, 1861, Winfield Scott retired and McClellan became general in chief of all the Union armies. The president expressed his concern about the ''vast labor'' involved in the dual role of army commander and general in chief, but McClellan responded, ''I can do it all''. Lincoln, as well as many other leaders and citizens of the northern states, became increasingly impatient with McClellan's slowness to attack the Confederate forces still massed near Washington. The Union defeat at the minor Battle of Ball's Bluff near Leesburg in October added to the frustration and indirectly damaged McClellan. In December, the Congress formed a Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, which became a thorn in the side of many generals throughout the war, accusing them of incompetence and, in some cases, treason. McClellan was called as the first witness on December 23, but he contracted typhoid fever and could not attend. Instead, his subordinate officers testified, and their candid admissions that they had no knowledge of specific strategies for advancing against the Confederates raised many calls for McClellan's dismissal.
Battle of Antietam
The Union army reached Antietam Creek, to the east of Sharpsburg, on the evening of September 15. A planned attack on September 16 was put off because of early morning fog, allowing Lee to prepare his defenses with an army less than half the size of McClellan's. The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, was the single bloodiest day in American military history. The outnumbered Confederate forces fought desperately and well. Despite significant advantages in manpower, McClellan was unable to concentrate his forces effectively, which meant that Lee was able to shift his defenders to parry each of three Union thrusts, launched separately and sequentially against the Confederate left, center, and finally the right. And McClellan was unwilling to employ his ample reserve forces to capitalize on localized successes. Historian James M. McPherson has pointed out that the two corps McClellan kept in reserve were in fact larger than Lee's entire force. The reason for McClellan's reluctance was that, as in previous battles, he was convinced he was outnumbered.
Despite being a tactical draw, Antietam is considered a turning point of the war and a victory for the Union because it ended Lee's strategic campaign (his first invasion of the North) and it allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, taking effect on January 1, 1863. Although Lincoln had intended to issue the proclamation earlier, he was advised by his Cabinet to wait until a Union victory to avoid the perception that it was issued out of desperation. The Union victory and Lincoln's proclamation played a considerable role in dissuading the governments of France and Britain from recognizing the Confederacy; some suspected they were planning to do so in the aftermath of another Union defeat. McClellan had no prior knowledge that the plans for emancipation rested on his battle performance. When McClellan failed to pursue Lee aggressively after Antietam, Lincoln ordered that he be removed from command on November 5. Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside assumed command of the Army of the Potomac on November 7. McClellan wrote to his wife, ''Those in whose judgment I rely tell me that I fought the battle splendidly and that it was a masterpiece of art. ... I feel I have done all that can be asked in twice saving the country. ... I feel some little pride in having, with a beaten & demoralized army, defeated Lee so utterly. ... Well, one of these days history will I trust do me justice''.
The 1864 Presidential election
McClellan was nominated by the Democrats to run against Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 U.S. presidential election. Following the example of Winfield Scott, he ran as a U.S. Army general still on active duty; he did not resign his commission until election day, November 8, 1864. He supported continuation of the war and restoration of the Union, but the party platform, written by Copperhead Clement Vallandigham of Ohio, was opposed to this position. The platform called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy. McClellan was forced to repudiate the platform, which made his campaign inconsistent and difficult. He also was not helped by the party's choice for vice president, George H. Pendleton, a peace candidate from Ohio.
The deep division in the party, the unity of the Republicans (running under the label ''National Union Party''), and the military successes by Union forces in the fall of 1864 doomed McClellan's candidacy. Lincoln won the election handily, with 212 Electoral College votes to 21 and a popular vote of 403,000, or 55%. While McClellan was highly popular among the troops when he was commander, they voted for Lincoln over him by margins of 3-1 or higher. Lincoln's share of the vote in the Army of the Potomac was 70%.
After the war, McClellan and his family departed for a lengthy trip to Europe (from 1865 to 1868), during which he did not participate in politics. When he returned, the Democratic Party expressed some interest in nominating him for president again, but when it became clear that Ulysses S. Grant would be the Republican candidate, this interest died. McClellan worked on engineering projects in New York City and was offered the position of president of the newly formed University of California. McClellan was appointed chief engineer of the New York City Department of Docks in 1870. Evidently the position did not demand his full time attention because, starting in 1872, he also served as the president of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He and his family returned to Europe from 1873 to 1875.
In March 1877, McClellan was nominated by Governor Lucius Robinson to be the first Superintendent of Public Works but was rejected by the New York State Senate as being ''incompetent for the position''. In 1877, McClellan was nominated by the Democrats for Governor of New Jersey, an action that took him by surprise because he had not expressed an interest in the position. He was elected and served a single term from 1878 to 1881, a tenure marked by careful, conservative executive management and minimal political rancor. The concluding chapter of his political career was his strong support in 1884 for the election of Grover Cleveland. He hoped to be named secretary of war in Cleveland's cabinet, a position for which he was well suited, but political rivals from New Jersey were able to block his nomination. McClellan's final years were devoted to traveling and writing. He justified his military career in McClellan’s Own Story, published posthumously in 1887. He died unexpectedly at age 58 at Orange, New Jersey, after having suffered from chest pains for a few weeks. His final words, at 3 a.m., October 29, 1885, were, ''I feel easy now. Thank you.'' He is buried at Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey.