The contest for the presidency in 1864 is depicted as a game of bagatelle (a game similar to billiards) between Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln and Democrat George B. McClellan.
Lincoln (left) holds a cue "Baltimore" (the site of the Republican national convention) and is about to shoot a ball on "The Union Board". He says to running-mate Andrew Johnson (upper-right), "Iíll do the best I can Andy, I can do no more."
Johnson encourages him, "Hurrah for our side, go ahead Old Abe! O aint he bully on the bagatelle? youíre only got a few more to make, Itís A Sure Thing!!" Johnson points to the scoreboard which reads "Nix" for the "Copper" (i.e., Copperheads or Peace Democrats). The Union side of the board is blank.
At left, McClellan, dressed as a child, holds a cue "Chicago" (site of the Democratic national convention), trying to balance himself on a collapsing "Chicago Platform," which appears to have been given a nudge by Lincolnís foot. A "peace" plank has fallen from the platform. McClellan complains, "This ĎCueí is too heavy! and the "Platformísí shakey!! O! O! I want to go back in the yard!!" His running-mate George Pendleton (far-left) retorts impatiently, "O see here. We cant stand this! Old Abeís getting in all the pots on the board, this game will have to be played over again or thereíl be a fight, THATíS
At the far-right, Vallandigham sits with crossed legs, saying to McClellan, "There is nothing the matter with the Cue or the Platform, you had the first red and didnít make anything, now heíll win the
game." Union general Ulysses S. Grant smokes a pipe and stands near the middle of the table. He advises McClellan, " Ö you travel too near the
ground to play on this board, better surrender UNCONDITIONALLY." A grinning black waiter with a tray of drinks watches Pendleton and McClellan.
In the foreground are a cat name "Miss Cegenation" (i.e., miscegenation) and a black dog, tied together at the tails by a string attached to a kettle. They chase two rats, "Old Leas" and "Wood," across a paper holding "Caces Sugar
Source: American Political Prints, 1766 - 1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress, 1991, by Bernard F. Reilly, Jr.