Civil War Union General Nathaniel C. Mclean Addressed Cover 1865 For Sale
CIVIL WAR UNION GENERAL NATHANIEL C. McLEAN ADDRESSED COVER 1865 NO. CAROLINATHIS sale CONTAINS A CIVIL WAR ADDRESSED POSTAL COVER DATED NEWBERN, NO. CAROLINA MAR 8, 1865 Nathaniel McLean
Nathaniel Collins McLean
Brig. Gen. Nathaniel McLean
February 2, 1815
January 4, 1905 (aged89)
Bellport, New York
Place of burial
Bellport, New York
United States of America
Colonel (9/18/1861 - 9/28/1862), Brigadier General (9/29/1862 - 4/20/1865)
Battle of Cheat Mountain, Battle of McDowell, Battle of Cross Keys, Battle of Cedar Mountain, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Pickett's Mill
Nathaniel Collins McLean (February 2, 1815 – January 4, 1905), was a lawyer, farmer, and Union general during the American Civil War.
Early life and career
Born in Warren County, Ohio, Nathaniel McLean was the son of John McLean, an 1856 and 1860 Republican presidential candidate and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States known as "the politician of the Supreme Court".
McLean was well educated, and graduated from Augusta College in Kentucky at the age of sixteen. He then attended Harvard College and received his J.D. He was married in 1838 to Caroline Thew Burnett, the daughter of a Cincinnati judge. While practicing law, he fell ill, and he was advised to travel to Europe and attempt to regain his health. Shortly after his trip, his wife died. He remarried in 1858 to a woman from Louisville, Kentucky.
Civil War service
At the beginning of the Civil War, McLean organized the 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment under authority from Maj. Gen John C. Frémont and became its colonel September 18, 1861. McLean, with Lieutenant-Colonel R.A. Constable and Major Robert Reily, organized and trained the 75th in Wyoming, Ohio, (north of Cincinnati) at Camp John McLean, which he of course named after his father. The regiment was organized into a brigade commanded by Brig. Gen Robert Milroy and assigned to duty in western Virginia under Frémont and the Mountain Department.
In January 1862, McLean's troops were shipped from Cincinnati to Grafton, Virginia, where they remained until February 17, when they marched 43 miles to Huttonsville, Virginia, to join with the rest of the Mountain Department. From Huttonsville, Milroy moved his brigade out towards Staunton, Virginia, in order to distract Stonewall Jackson from attacking other Union troops in the Shenandoah Valley as part of his 1862 Valley Campaign; McLean's troops were at the head of this march. Bogged down by muddy roads, McLean and his men were forced to stop in Monterey, Virginia,
so the rest of the column could catch up. Here, McLean saw his first
action of the war, repulsing two hours of attacks from a small force of
Confederates. Jackson soon turned his attention to Milroy's march. When
the 75th Ohio was within 10 miles of Staunton, Milroy ordered the march
to turn back at Buffalo Gap, so he could engage Jackson. Milroy made his
headquarters at McDowell, Virginia,
and Jackson positioned his men east of the town on top of a hill known
as Bull Pasture Mountain. Trying to catch the Confederates by surprise,
the Union attacked late on May 8, 1862, with McLean leading several
regiments up the hill on their right flank. McLean was able to push the
Georgians at the top of the hill to their second line of defense, but
that was all. After the fighting, Generals Milroy and Schenck both
praised McLean's attack as being "gallant." The following day, Milroy
withdrew his troops west. At the Battle of Cross Keys,
McLean was promoted to the command of a brigade, consisting of four
Ohio regiments, though he was held in reserve along the Keezletown Road
on "Frémont's Final Line."
Second Bull Run
On June 26, 1862, President Lincoln combined the forces under Frémont, Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, and Brigadier General Irvin McDowell into the Army of Virginia commanded by Major General John Pope. McLean was given control the "Ohio Brigade" in the I Corps of this army, which included his 75th Ohio.
At the Second Battle of Bull Run,
McLean's brigade was placed at the extreme left of the Union line on
Chinn Ridge. McDowell and Pope had placed him there to slow down a
Confederate flank attack, which could have potentially overrun the rest
of the Army of Virginia. McLean's troops took many casualties, but they
were able to hold off the Confederates for a half hour, which allowed
Pope to establish a second line of defense further north of Chinn Ridge.
This line of defense allowed the Army of Virginia to withdraw from the
field without being destroyed.
For his actions here, McLean would be rewarded with a brigadier generalship on September 29, 1862.
After Second Bull Run, McLean and his regiments were posted in
defense of Washington. Here, the Army of Virginia was discontinued (Pope
would be sent to Minnesota for his failures), and the Ohio Brigade was folded into Major General Franz Sigel's XI Corps of the Army of the Potomac under Major General George McClellan. As part of the XI Corps, they stayed posted in Washington during the Battle of Antietam in September, and they were not called on to move again until December. At this point, McClellan had been replaced by Major General Ambrose Burnside, who called the XI Corps to Fredericksburg, but kept them in reserve during the Battle of Fredericksburg in mid-December. Afterwards, McLean was put in charge of protecting a small town on the Northern Neck.
By the next May, there had been some rearrangements in the Army of the Potomac, which was now under the control of Major General Joseph Hooker. Hooker placed in command of the XI Corps Major General Oliver Otis Howard,
because the latter had been angry he was passed over for command of the
III Corps. Since March 10, McLean had grown popular with the men as
commander of the First Division of the XI Corps, but Howard opted to
replace him with Brigadier General Charles Devens,
a New England man very much like Howard; McLean was relegated to
brigade commander. As such, he found himself on the right flank of the
Union battle line for the Battle of Chancellorsville. This would be the part of the line that Stonewall Jackson attacked with his famous Flank March.
McLean was at corps headquarters with Devens when the attack happened
(Howard had left the area, inexplicably escorting reinforcements to
another part of the battlefield). As Confederates were approaching the
Ohio Brigade's position, McLean implored Devens for orders to turn their
front. Devens refused, possibly because he had been using brandy to
dull the pain of a leg injury that occurred the previous day, when his
horse ran him into a tree. As a result, the Ohio Brigade managed an
impromptu defense, and even attempted a counterattack, before being
driven back towards Chancellorsville. Devens was shot in the foot during
the retreat, giving McLean command of the division once again. They
reformed on Mineral Springs Road, northeast of Chancellorsville and away
from any fighting, with the rest of the XI Corps.
Howard accepted no personal blame for the fiasco at Chancellorsville,
and in his autobiography suggests that he thought it was entirely his
corps's fault for running, not his. McLean, coincidentally, would be
ordered west May 18. He was given a desk job, provost marshal general. under Burnside in the Department of the Ohio.
The Western Theatre
McLean was relocated back to his home of Cincinnati. As provost
marshal, he dealt with prisoners-of-war and "citizen-prisoners" who
applied to take oaths of allegiance to the United States. McLean did not
hold another field command for a year, although he was transferred to
command of the first division of the District of Kentucky under Maj. Gen. Stephen Gano Burbridge, consisting of four brigades.
McLean commanded a brigade in the XXIII Corps during the Atlanta Campaign and again came into conflict with Howard for alleged failures at the Battle of Pickett's Mill.
This time, while assaulting Confederate positions on May 27, 1864,
McLean's brigade was to be used as a distraction. But, they separated
from the brigade on his left, whom they were supposed to stay linked
with, and were not able to provide a distraction. Ultimately, Howard's
corps took many casualties. He would later write, "General
McLean…disregarded the request and moved off at once…leaving [General
Thomas Wood’s and General Richard Johnson’s] divisions isolated. He
(McLean) alleged in excuse that his men were entirely without rations."
McLean was once again relegated to a staff position and later transferred to North Carolina, where he served again in the XXIII Corps during Sherman's Carolina Campaign. The corps took Fort Fisher, and intended to meet the rest of Sherman's army in central North Carolina, but they got as far as Goldsboro before the Battle of Bentonville in March. Seeing the end of the war coming, McLean resigned his commission April 20, 1865, six days before the surrender of General Joseph Johnston at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina.
During the whole war General McLean was off duty for the space of
thirty days, having had leave of absence once for twenty, and again for
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