George McClellan Boxing with Robert E. Lee: Cartoon Celebrating the Union Victory at Antietam (SOLD)
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This political cartoon celebrates the Union victory in the Battle of Antietam, depicting the bloodbath as a boxing contest between Confederate General Robert E. Lee (labeled “Charles” Lee in reference to the Revolutionary War traitor) and Union General George McClellan. European leaders watch as Jefferson Davis exclaims “My Game is Up” and Abraham Lincoln encourages his champion to “Give him fits my darling!” The handlers are African Americans, and Lee appears ready to throw in the sponge. The printer is unspecified, but it was issued by Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times, a New York publication that appealed to upper class sports aficionados. [ANTIETAM]. [ABRAHAM LINCOLN].
Lithographic Print, “The Last Round. Little Mac vs Big Charley,” from Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times, New York, N.Y. [after September 17, 1862]. 1 p., 15 x 12 in.
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At the battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland, McClellan’s army successfully repelled the forces led by Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-1863). The victory, however, came with a heavy cost. Although his troops outnumbered Lee’s almost two to one, McClellan’s army suffered greater casualties—12,401 to Lee’s 10,316. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Though strategically inconclusive, the battle was billed as a major Union victory. It gave President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation, of which one important effect was keeping European nations from recognizing the Confederacy.
Antietam allowed Lee to avoid destruction at the hands of a much larger force, and that, coupled with his earlier, disastrous Peninsula Campaign of 1862, led Lincoln to replace him. Two years later, McClellan would run against Lincoln on the Democratic ticket as the “Peace Candidate,” a Democratic position that promised a negotiated end to the war. McClellan personally opposed the position, but presidential politics trumped his personal feelings. Lincoln beat him in all but three states.
Unpublished in standard reference works and quite rare.