Illustration of George B. McClellan

George Brinton McClellan was born in Philadelphia and graduated from West Point in 1846. He fought in the Mexican War, and his father was close friends with Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, who would become overall commander of U.S. forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. McClellan’s services were highly sought after, but Ohio Governor William Dennison won the race and appointed him commander of all Ohio militia.

McClellan re-entered Federal service and was given command of the Department of the Ohio. As its commander, he organized the first expedition into Virginia after the outbreak of hostilities. McClellan, of course, would later become commander of the Army of the Potomac and the nemesis of Robert E. Lee. What we’re interested in here at Spirit of ’61 is his early service as commander of the Department of the Ohio.

We’re commissioning a series of portraits of early war commanders in the Virginia Theater, and the latest is of McClellan. Below, you can see a comparison between the illustration and a historical photo. What do you think?

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