Monday, September 10, 2012

Generals Wives: Ellen Mary McClellan

One of the most interesting things about researching the wives of the Civil War Generals is being able to peek at the private correspondence between husband and wife. It is amazing to me that so many of their letters were preserved and handed down--and later published! When we write to a spouse, we sort of "let it all hang out", you know?! In the letters that Gen. George McClellan wrote to his wife, he called President Lincoln, "the original gorilla." Bet you find it hard to believe they were on the same side! (Yes, they were!)

The love story between George McClellan and Ellen Marcy is very interesting, too. She was in love with Lt. Ambrose P. Hill (eventually Gen A. P. Hill, CSA) and wanted to marry him, but her father forebad it. By the time she was 25 she had received and turned down 9 marriage proposals, and eventually she said yes to George McClellan after he persued her for years. They had a son  George--who became mayor of New York City, and a daughter May--who married a diplomat and lived most of her life in Nice, France. There were no grandchildren.

It's interesting to learn of the battles that McClellan and Hill were participants of! McClellan, of course, knew that Ellen had been in love with Hill. It looks to me like they even enjoyed the idea of battling each other.

Known as Ellen, she was the daughter of Major General Randolph Barnes & Priscilla Dunham Marcy, and was a descendant of Mayflower passenger Deacon John Dunham. After the Civil War, Gen. McClellan and his wife travelled in Europe a great deal. Gen. McClellan worked in New York and served as governor at Trenton, New Jersey.


The McClellan's are buried in Trenton, New Jersey. Have you heard of ? Boy, there's an interesting website if you've not checked that out, you should. And yes, I've found some of my relatives that way!

We're enjoying a little cooler weather here in Virginia, which I am really enjoying. I hope you're all doing well and can find some time to stitch a few seams! Till next time...



  1. Very interesting history, thank you for sharing. No grandchildren to spoil and love, how sad. I'm going to the findagrave site now.

  2. I have been to find a grave, just completely by accident. I even found a few pictures of relative's headstones. Thanks for the little history lesson! :). Love your block, too!