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Generals George B. McClellan (1826-1885) and Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881)
ca. 1862
Maker not marked
overall: x 1 3/4 in.
Gift of Olney V. Wadding

Sepia-tone albumen photographs in round, green photographic case with molded designs; lid screws onto base; in case are cut-down, bust images of Union Generals George B. McClellan and Ambrose E. Burnside.

George B. McClellan, born in Philadelphia, attended West Point in the 1840s and fought in the Mexican War. In 1857, he left the military and took a position as Chief Engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad. When the Civil War began, McClellan returned to military service, becoming popular with his men, but employing a command style that put him at odds wth President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). In November 1861, McClellan became General-in-Chief of the Union Army. McClellan often hesitated and delayed his attacks, feraing that he faced an enemy with greater numbers. By November 1862, after McClellan's failure to make siginificant progress, he was relieved of command. In 1864, he ran against Lincoln for president and lost. After the war, McClellan returned to work in the engineering field and also served as Governor of New Jersey. He died in New Jersey in 1885. Ambrose E. Burnside was born in Indiana and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After serving in the Mexican War (1846-1848), he settled in Rhode Island. Burnside returned to military service during the Civil War, but is remembered for a lackluster record, including a disastrous performance at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, where the Union Army suffered 13,000 casualties. After the war, Burnside entered political life, serving as Governor of Rhode Island three times and as a U.S. Senator twice. In 1871, he became the first president of the National Rifle Association. He died in Rhode Island in 1881. When these photos were donated to the Museum in 1980, the donor provided a family story that the case "was found on the battlefield at Gettysburg in the latter part of August or early September 1863 by my grandfather, George E. Blose." George Elmer Blose, born in 1836 in Hamilton, Pennsylvania, was 27 years old in 1863. By the time of the 1860 federal census, Blose had moved east to Perry Township, Pennsylvania, where he lived in his father's house and worked as a laborer. Records of Blose's military service during the Civil War are unclear - a couple of men named George Blose from Pennsylvania are listed, but it is inconclusive which record belongs to George E. Blose. By the time of the 1900 U.S. Census, Blose was listed as the head of his household and worked as a farmer in Perry.

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