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G. B. McClellan

G. B. McClellan

Federal (USA)

Major General

George Brinton McClellan

"Little Mac"

(1826 - 1885)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1846;Class Rank: 2

Command Billet: Commander, Army of the Potomac

Branch of Service: Cavalry

Unit: Army of the Potomac


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

Graduated from the USMA in 1846, saw duty in the Engineers, fought in the Mexican war, constructed forts and harbors, was an instructor at West Point, an observer in the Crimean War, and (the McClellan Cavalry) saddle designer. He resigned from the US Army in 1857 and became a very successful railroad executive. In April 1861 he was appointed MGen. of Ohio Volunteers and commanded the Department of the Ohio, with combat at Rich Mountain and Corrick's Ford. In May 1861 he was appointed MGen. in the Regular Army, and commanded the Army of the Potomac. He was appointed General-in-Chief in November 1861, and waged his Peninsula campaign and fought the Seven Days battles. Lincoln then gave MGen Pope command of the Army of the Potomac, but returned it after the failures at Second Bull Run.

On the Campaign

He commanded the Army of the Potomac from his Headquarters at the Pry House on the West side of the Antietam. For details you might also like to see his Official Reports about the battle.

The rest of the War

After failing to vigorously pursue Lee after the battle he was relieved of active duty and returned to his home in New Jersey. He was an unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate running against Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He held no other Army post.

After the War

Post War Career: Civil engineer businessman author and Governor of New Jersey.

References & notes

Generally agreed that he brilliantly re-organized and re-energized the Army of the Potomac but seemed reluctant to use it to fight.

More on the Web

For an interesting treatment see the McClellan Society's page and for a more detailed biography see also the McClellan Biography at Shotgun's Civil War page.


12/3/1826; Philadelphia, PA


10/29/1885 Orange, NJ; burial in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, NJ