The gunboat candidate at the Battle of Malvern Hill
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Democratic presidential candidate George Brinton McClellan is lampooned as an incompetent military leader. He sits in a saddle mounted on the boom of the Union ironclad vessel "Galena." The print recalls two prominent failures in McClellan's tenure as commander of the Army of the Potomac, which haunted him during the 1864 campaign. The "Galena," a Union ironclad leading a flotilla of Union gunboats against Richmond, was driven back and badly damaged by Confederate batteries just miles from the capital in May 1862. McClellan was criticized for refusing to bring nearby land troops to the navy's aid. Shortly thereafter McClellan's peninsular campaign toward Richmond came to a disastrous conclusion with the Battle of Malvern Hill, shown here raging in the background. McClellan's troops retreated to the protection of naval guns, effectively ending the Union threat to Richmond. The artist shows McClellan viewing the battle through a telescope from his safe perch. He calls to the troops, "Fight on my brave Soldiers and push the enemy to the wall, from this spanker boom your beloved General looks down upon you."
Probably drawn by Louis Maurer.
Title appears as it is written on the item.
Gale, no. 2904.
Weitenkampf, p. 145.
Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1864-17.
Glimpses of U.S. political campaigns in magazine covers and satire.
New York City from 1835 to 1907 headed first by Nathaniel Currier, and later jointly with his partner James Merritt Ives. The prolific firm produced prints from paintings by fine artists as black and white lithographs that were hand-colored. The firm called itself "the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints" and advertised its lithographs as "colored engravings for the people". The firm adopted the name "Currier and Ives" in 1857.