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Major-General George B. McClellan

Major-General George B. McClellan was born in Pennsylvania, and graduated from the Military Academy July 1, 1846. He was promoted brevet second lieutenant Corps of Engineers the same day, and second lieutenant April 24, 1847. He served in the war with Mexico, attached to the company of sappers, miners, and pontoniers, participating in opening the road from Matamoras to Tampico, and engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, battle of Cerro Gordo, skirmish of Amozoque, battles of Contreras and Churubusco, constructing batteries against Chapultepec, and assault and capture of the City of Mexico, September 13-14, 1847. He was brevetted first lieutenant August 20, 1847, for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco," and captain September 8, 1847, for " gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Molino del Rey," which he declined. He was then brevetted captain September 13, 1847, for " gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec, Mexico."

Captain McClellan was ordered to West Point, New York, at the close of the Mexican War, attached to the company of engineer troops, part of the time in command, and then was assistant engineer in the construction of Fort Delaware to 1852. He was then detailed as engineer of an exploring expedition to the sources of the Red River of Texas; after which he was chief engineer of the Department of Texas, and in charge of surveys of rivers and harbors on the Gulf coast to 1853; was engineer for exploring and survey of the Western Division of the Union Pacific Railroad through the Cascade Mountains in 1853-54

He was promoted captain First Cavalry March 3, 1855, and was detailed as a member of the military commission to the "Theatre of War in Europe," in 1855-56, his official report being published by order of Congress in 1857, embracing his remarks upon the operations in the Crimea. He resigned from the army January 16, 1857.

Captain McClellan then became chief engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad, and subsequently vice-president of the same; and in 1860 was president of the St. Louis and Cincinnati Railroad. When the Rebellion began he was made major-general of Ohio volunteers April 23, 1861, and major-general U.S. Army May 14, 1861. He served in the Department of the Ohio, and was engaged in the action of Rich Mountain, West Virginia, July 11, 1861, and, by a forced march upon the rebel camp, compelled General Pegram's surrender July 12, 1861.

The thanks of Congress were tendered General McClellan, July 16, 1861, for "the series of brilliant and decisive victories" achieved by his army over the rebels" on the battle-fields of West Virginia."


General McClellan was then called to the command of the Division of the Potomac August 17, of the Army of the Potomac August 20, and as general-in-chief of the Armies of the United States November 1, 1861. He participated in the advance on Manassas, in command of the Army of the Potomac, and in the Virginia Peninsular campaign, being engaged in the siege of Yorktown, occupation of Williamsburg, battle of Fair Oaks; the battles of the Seven Days, with change of base to the James River, from June 26 to July 2, 1862. He was in command of the defenses of Washington, and in the Maryland campaign, in command of the Army of the Potomac, from September 7 to November 10, and was engaged in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, and march to Warrenton.

At this time he was relieved of his command, and was waiting orders at New York City November 8, 1864, during which time he was nominated by the Chicago Convention as a candidate for President of the United States, but was defeated at the election in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln. He resigned November 8, 1864, and resided in New York City for a time, but subsequently established himself in a home at Orange, New Jersey.

General McClellan translated from the French a "Manual of Bayonet Exercises," adopted for the U. S. Army in 1852. He edited his own "Personal Memoirs," which were not published until after his death, which took place on October 29, 1885, at Orange, New Jersey.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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