McClernand, John Alexander

McClernand, John Alexander,

1812–1900, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Breckinridge co., Ky. He was admitted (1832) to the Illinois bar and sat as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives (1843–51, 1859–61). At the outbreak of the Civil War he resigned from Congress, raised a brigade of Illinois volunteers, and was made a brigadier general (May, 1861). He fought at Fort Donelson (Feb., 1862) and at Shiloh (April). Through political influence he superseded William T. Sherman (Jan. 2, 1863) in command of the river expedition in the Vicksburg campaignVicksburg campaign,
in the American Civil War, the fighting (Nov., 1862–July, 1863) for control of the Mississippi River. The Union wanted such control in order to split the Confederacy and to restore free commerce to the politically important Northwest.
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. After McClernand—upon Sherman's suggestion—had successfully assaulted Arkansas PostArkansas Post
, community on the Arkansas River, SE Ark. Founded by the French in 1686 as a trading post, it is the oldest white settlement in the state; it became the capital of the Arkansas territory in 1819.
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 (Jan. 11), Ulysses S. Grant assumed his command. In Grant's successful advance on Vicksburg, McClernand led the 13th Corps, fighting at Port Gibson and Champion's Hill, but he was subsequently relieved (June) for insubordination. Restored to his command in Feb., 1864, he resigned his commission in November and returned to the legal profession.
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