Riverview Cemetery – Pic 12

Riverview Cemetery – Pic 12
Virginia Western
Image by BattlefieldPortraits.com
This is the grave of US Major General George B. McClellan – Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey. McClellan was an 1846 graduate of the Military Academy at West Point. At the start of the Civil War, he would be appointed major general in charge of Ohio’s volunteer forces. He would command forces in western Virginia that would win the Battle of Rich Mountain, on July 11, 1861. After the Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, Abraham Lincoln would bring McClellan to Washington City to take command of the situation. He quickly brought order out of chaos and would be appointed General in Chief of the U.S. Army on November 1, 1861.

Lincoln would force McClellan into action in the spring of 1862. The resultant Peninsula Campaign would witness McClellan’s Army of the Potomac reaching the very gates of Richmond, Virginia. He would be turned back by CSA General Robert E. Lee and would retreat to the James River in what would be known as The Seven Days. During these campaigns, Lincoln relieved McClellan as General in Chief so he could concentrate on the campaign. After boarding steamers at Harrison’s Landing, McClellan and the Army of the Potomac returned to Washington.

Arriving in Washington, McClellan would send three corps to support US Major General John Pope whose Army of Virginia was engaged with Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson’s wing, and later, the entire Army of Northern Virginia, at what would become the Second Battle of Bull Run. McClellan remained in Washington, monitoring events at Manassas, with only a portion of his Army of the Potomac under his immediate command. Pope would be badly mauled and would retreat to Washington at the end of August.

With chaos once again reigning for the Federal armies, the Army of Virginia would cease to exist and Lincoln would place McClellan in command of all forces at Washington City. With no forces opposing him, Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland in early September. McClellan, performing administrative miracles, organized the Army of the Potomac and entered Maryland to face Lee. Harper’s Ferry would fall and McClellan would fight a pitched battle against a portion of Lee’s army at the Battle of South Mountain, on September 14. On September 17, he would engage Lee at Sharpsburg, Maryland, in what would become the single bloodiest day in American history: the Battle of Antietam. Suffering terrible losses, Lee would return to Northern Virginia while McClellan held retained the field at Antietam. McClellan, known for his deliberate movements, would pursue Lee too slowly. Lincoln would permanently remove him from command before the year was over.

Lincoln had not seen the last of McClellan who would be nominated by the Democrat party and run for president in 1864. After losing his bid for president, McClellan would tour Europe for three years before returning to the United States. He would serve one term as governor of New Jersey. McClellan died on October 29, 1885 in Orange, New Jersey.

Photo by: Michael Noirot

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