Black and white photograph of John A. McClernand.

John A. McClernand was an American lawyer, Democratic politician, and Union general who commanded the second Union Army of the Mississippi. [Library of Congress]

John Alexander McClernand - Facts

May 30, 1812 - September 20, 1900

Key facts about John A. McClernand, an American lawyer, Democratic politician, and Union general who Ulysses S. Grant relieved as commander of the Army of Tennessee prior to the surrender of Vicksburg.

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Full Name:

  • John Alexander McClernand

Birth Date:

  • May 30, 1812

Birth Location:

  • Breckinridge County, Kentucky

Parents:

  • Dr. John and Fatima (Seaton) McClernand

Education:

  • Local primary schools

Occupation:

  • Lawyer. politician, newspaper editor, military officer

Career Summary:

  • U.S. Congressman
  • Major General (USVA)

Spouses:

  • Sarah Freeman Dunlap (1843)
  • Minerva Dunlap (1862)

Place of Death:

  • Springfield, Illinois

Date of Death:

  • September 20, 1900

Place of Burial:

  • Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois

Significance:

  • John A. McClernand moved with his parents to Shawneetown, Illinois, in 1813.
  • John A. McClernand studied law and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1832.
  • John A. McClernand served as a volunteer private in the Black Hawk War (1832).
  • John A. McClernand founded the Shawneetown Democrat in 1835 and served as editor of the newspaper.
  • John A. McClernand was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in from 1837 through 1843.
  • John A. McClernand served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1843 through 1851, and again from 1859 to 1861.
  • John A. McClernand married Sarah Freeman Dunlap in early November 1843.
  • John A. McClernand resigned his seat in the United States House of Representatives on October 28, 1861 to accept a commission as brigadier general of volunteers for service in the Civil War.
  • John A. McClernand commanded the right wing of the Union Army at the Battle of Fort Donelson (February 11-16, 1862).
  • John A. McClernand was promoted to major general in 1862.
  • On December 23, 1862, John A. McClernand married Minerva Dunlap, the younger sister of his first wife who died on May 8, 1861.
  • In early in January 1863, John A. McClernand superseded William T. Sherman as the leader of the force that was to move down the Mississippi River against Vicksburg.
  • John A. McClernand was the commanding general at the Battle of Arkansas Post (January 9-11, 1863).
  • After the Battle of Champions Hill (May 16, 1863), Ulysses S. Grant relieved John A. McClernand from his position as a corps commander in the Army of the Tennessee, because McClernand violated Grant’s orders prohibiting unauthorized communication with the press.
  • President Abraham Lincoln restored John A. McClernand to a field command in 1864, but McClernand resigned from the army in November of that year.
  • John A. McClernand was elected circuit judge of the Sangamon District of Illinois in 1870 and served until 1873.
  • John A. McClernand presided over the Democratic National Convention in 1876.
  • John A. McClernand died in Springfield, Illinois on September 20, 1900.
  • John A. McClernand was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title John Alexander McClernand - Facts
  • Coverage May 30, 1812 - September 20, 1900
  • Author
  • Keywords john a. mcclernand
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 2, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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