John Alexander McClernand, 30 May 1812 - 20 Sep 1900 Search this
Albumen silver print
Sheet: 17.1 x 19.7 cm (6 3/4 x 7 3/4")
Mount: 22.9 × 28 cm (9 × 11")
Mat: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18")
1862 (printed c. 1890)
Part of Gardner’s Antietam series, this photograph introduces Major General John A. McClernand, one of the “political” generals whom Lincoln had to support to shore up his position on the home front but whose military inexperience (or incompetence) hindered the Union army. McClernand was raised in Illinois and, as a Democrat, knew Lincoln when they were both state representatives. A congressman in 1861, he resigned from the House of Representatives when Lincoln, who was looking for allies among Unionist Democrats, appointed him brigadier general of the Illinois volunteers. He served mostly in the West, where he angered both Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman, not least because of his egotism and ceaseless lobbying for an independent command. In October 1862 he was on leave in Washington to argue his case and accompanied the presidential party on its trip to George McClellan’s headquarters in Maryland. After continuing to perform poorly in command, McClernand left the army in 1864.