Update

To help support the city’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, New-York Historical is temporarily closed to the public until it is safe to reopen. More details on our Visit page.

Cartoon: “24 Weeks on the Potomac”: Illustration for “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (February 1, 1862); verso: study for the same subject

Object Number: 
1945.580.82
Date: 
1862
Medium: 
Black ink over graphite on ivory paper
Dimensions: 
Overall: 6 1/4 x 9 1/8 in. ( 15.9 x 23.2 cm ) mat: 11 x 14 in. ( 27.9 x 35.6 cm )
Inscriptions: 
Inscribed at lower center in black ink: "24 weeks on the Potomac."; verso inscribed along upper edge in graphite: "Cartoon 'Masterly Inactivity' or 'Six Months on the Potomac' / in 'Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper'. Feb 1, 1862"; engraving published with signature "A.B.", for Albert Berghaus, Leslie's master engraver and artist
Description: 
Civil War Drawings Collection.This cartoon satirizes the extended military standoff between General McClellan’s Army of the Potomac and Confederate General Beauregard’s Army of the Shenandoah during the fall and winter of 1861 (fig. 106b.1). In this wry cartoon published in Frank Leslie’s under the title Masterly Inactivity or Six Months on the Potomac, the enthroned McClellan and Beauregard recline leisurely, observing each other across the Potomac through exaggerated telescopes as the troops encamped at their sides hurl stones in a parody of battle. Both generals, depicted here with attitudes of regal indifference, fancied themselves as latter-day Napoleons. Following early Union losses, McClellan drilled his troops for several months without attempting any significant offensive action, while Beauregard took advantage of the respite from combat to assemble and train his army as well. McClellan ignored executive orders to advance until finally relieved of supreme command in March 1862, when he was ordered to lead the Army of the Potomac against Richmond, marking the beginning of the Peninsular Campaign. Reproduced in Roberta J.M. Olson, Drawn By New York: Six Centuries of Watercolors and Drawings from the N-YHS (London: Giles, 2008), 312-313.
Bibliography: 
Holzer, Harold, ed. "Lincoln and New York." New York: The New-York Historical Society and London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 2009.
Credit Line: 
James B. Wilbur Fund
Provenance: 
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group