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John Alexander McClernand

John Alexander McClernandBorn: 30-May-1812
Birthplace: Breckinridge County, KY
Died: 20-Sep-1900
Location of death: Springfield, IL
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military, Politician
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Union General and Congressman

The American soldier and lawyer John Alexander McClernand was born in Breckinridge county, Kentucky, on the 30th of May 1812. He was admitted to the bar in Shawneetown, Illinois, in 1832; in the same year served as a volunteer in the Black Hawk War, and in 1835 founded the Shawneetown Democrat, which he thereafter edited. As a Democrat he served in 1836 and in 1840-1843 in the Illinois House of Representatives, and in 1843-1851 and in 1859-1861 was a representative in Cingress, where in his first term he vigorously opposed the Wilmot proviso, but in his second term was a strong Unionist and introduced the resolution of the 15th of July 1861, pledging money and men to the national government. He resigned from Congress, raised in Illinois the "McClernand Brigade", and was commissioned (May 17, 1861) brigadier-general of volunteers. He was second in command at the battle of Belmont (Missouri) in November 1861, and commanded the right wing at Fort Donelson. On the 21st of March he became a major-general of volunteers. At Shiloh he commanded a division which was practically a reserve to General William T. Sherman's. In October 1861 Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, ordered him north to raise troops for the expedition against Vicksburg; and early in January 1864, at Milliken's Bend, McClernand, who had been placed in command of one of the four corps of Ulysses S. Grant's army, superseded Sherman as the leader of the force that was to move down the Mississippi. On the 11th of January he took Arkansas Post. On the 17th, Grant, after receiving the opinion of Admiral Foote and General Sherman that McClernand was unfit, united a part of his own troops with those of McClernand and assumed command in person, and three days later ordered McClernand back to Milliken's Bend. During the rest of this Vicksburg campaign there was much friction between McClernand and his colleagues; he undoubtedly intrigued for the removal of Grant; it was Grant's opinion that at Champion's Hill (May 16) he was dilatory; and because a congratulatory order to his corps was published in the press (contrary to an order of the department and another of Grant) he was relieved of his command on the 18th of June, and was replaced by General E. O. C. Ord. President Abraham Lincoln, who saw the importance of conciliating a leader of the Illinois War-Democrats, restored him to his command in 1864, but McClernand resigned in November of that year. He was district judge of the Sangamon (Illinois) District in 1870-1873, and was president of the Mational Democratic Convention in 1876. He died in Springfield, Illinois, on the 20th of September 1900.

His son, Edward John McClernand (b. 1848), graduated at the U.S. Military Academy in 1870. He served on the frontier against the Indians, notably in the capture of Chief Joseph in October 1877, became lieutenant-colonel and assistant adjutant-general of volunteers in 1898, and served in Cuba in 1898-99. He was then ordered to the Philippines, where he commanded various districts, and from April 1900 to May 1901, when he was mustered out of the volunteer service, was acting military governor.

Son: Edward John McClernand (army officer, b. 1848)

    Illinois State Official Judge, Sangamon District (1870-73)
    US Congressman, Illinois 6th (1859-61)
    US Congressman, Illinois 2nd (1843-51)
    Illinois State House of Representatives (1840-43)
    Illinois State House of Representatives (1836)


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