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General Winfield Scott during the Civil War
Original Author: Mathew Brady or associate
Created: ca. 1860–1865
Medium: Glass-plate negative
Publisher: National Archives

General Winfield Scott during the Civil War

General Winfield Scott poses in full military regalia in Mathew Brady's photographic studio in Washington, D.C. Though the original glass negative has been cracked and some pieces from it are missing, the image, dated circa 1860–1865, captures Scott's Civil War–era appearance. By the outbreak of the war, the seventy-five-year-old weighed 300 pounds and was too infirm to mount a horse unaided. Scott initially served as commanding general of the U.S. Army, but many suspected his true loyalty was to the South because of his Virginia heritage and his early efforts to create a compromise between North and South in order to avoid war. Scott did draft plans for the subjugation of the South, but they relied on caution and persistence. To a Northern public clamoring for an aggressive war, these plans provided evidence for a further indictment of the old general. On November 1, 1861, Scott resigned, opening the way for younger, more energetic leaders.

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