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Lincoln had a tough time finding good generals to lead the Army of the United States during the Civil War. Several failed him before he finally settled on Ulysses S. Grant.

George McClellan (left) was much acclaimed for building and training the Army of the Potomac. But when he got his chance to lead the United States Army he was painfully hesitant to engage Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces. Ultimately his reluctance to fight led Lincoln to relieve him of his command.

In 1864 General McClellan challenged Lincoln for the presidency. He was gathering momentum throughout the summer, and it appeared that he would successfully unseat the incumbent president. But Sherman's capture of Atlanta turned the tide of the war. In November Lincoln won in a landslide without Southern states voting.

Ulysses Grant (right) achieved the rank of Lieutenant General before war's end. He was the first to hold that rank after George Washington.


Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2005