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Lincoln's Cabinet: George McClellan

Political Science and Lincoln Junkies, rejoice! A treasure trove of information awaits you.


McClellan: one perspective Unlike President Lincoln, McClellan was consumed by self-importance. Braggadocio was not in Mr. Lincoln's vocabulary but it was in McClellan's.

George B. McClellan from Mr. Lincoln's White House

Timeline of McClellan's life and times

A brilliant engineer and highly capable organizer, George B. McClellan  wasn't just an army commander. In that position he proved the weakness of West Point in its early years; the academy was simply geared to the production of engineers and company officers for a small, pre-Civil War regular army.   

His defense of Ohio



Major General George B. McClellan, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, was at loggerheads with President Abraham Lincoln for nearly a year leading up to his dismissal in November 1862. The main source of their disagreement was their difference of opinion over the way the war would be fought.(

According to Military History (website), McClellan was not bold enough, and cost the Union Army some key battles, which might have ended the war earlier. You be the judge

Sample Primary Sources

  1. Telegram reporting capture of Yorktown
  2. Memorandum: Lincoln fires McClellan
  3. General order 182, relieving McClellan of his command (digitized copy)
  4. Letter from Mrs. Lincoln urging her husband to fire McClellan
  5. Condolence letter upon the death of McClellan, indicating how he might be remembered, and his contribution to the War effort
  6. A letter to the officers of his command, after a court marshall for drunkeness.


Articles and Book Chapters

McClellan as New Jerseys Governor: his accomplishments

Fitzgeral's legislative manual: a biography of GB McClellan, govenor of NJ.

Abraham Lincoln : his speeches and writings edited with critical and analytical notes by Roy P. Basler ; preface by Carl Sandburg. Available at this library. Call number: E457.92 2001. Contains several letters to McClellan, from Mr. Lincoln.