In 1826, on this day US President George B. McClellan was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Birth of "Little Mac" by Eric LippsHe was assassinated by a Unionist sympathiser who burst into the Presidential box whilst he and his wife were watching the aptly named play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's theatre in Washington, D.C.
McClellan, though loyal to the Union, was notorious for overestimating the strength of Confederate military power and, as President, had sought a negotiated peace rather than a triumph of arms he seemed to believe impossible.
Acting as general-in-chief, and also Army of the Potomac his Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee's smaller army and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. Later his performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee's invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. As a result, McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, before he entered the political fray and won the 1864 election.