Lincoln and McClellan Compared


 "The Commander-in-Chief"
  Cartoonist:  Unknown
  Source:  Library of Congress
  Date:  c1864

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
A bitterly anti-Lincoln cartoon, based on slanderous newspaper reports of the president’s callous disregard of the misery of Union troops at the front. Fictitious reports that Lincoln had joked on the field after the Battle of Antietam appeared in the New York World.

Holding a plaid Scotch cap, Lincoln stands on the battlefield at Antietam, which is littered with Union dead and wounded. He instructs his friend Marshal Lamon, who stands with his back toward the viewer and his hand over his face, to "sing us ‘Picayune Butler,’ or something else that’s funny." The Scotch cap is a reference to erroneous newspaper reports about the disguise that Lincoln was wearing when he attempted to escape from possible assassins on his way to the 1861 inauguration. "Picayune Butler" probably refers to a parody song about Union General Benjamin Butler’s controversial command of New Orleans. In contrast to Lincoln, Democratic presidential nominee General George B. McClellan (right foreground) gives aid and comfort to a fallen Union soldier.

Source: American Political Prints, 1766 - 1876: A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress, 1991, by Bernard F. Reilly, Jr.












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