Nathaniel Collins McLean

Nathaniel Collins McLean was born on February 2, 1815, at Ridgeville, Warren County, Ohio. He was the son of Congressman, Postmaster-general and Supreme Court Justice, John McLean. Young McLean was graduated from Augusta College (Kentucky) in 1834 and in 1838 received a law degree at Harvard. This same year he was married, and moved to Cincinnati where he started his law practice. In the autumn of 1861 he was commissioned colonel of the 75th Ohio which he led the following May at the engagement of McDowell, (West) Virginia. Although promoted brigadier general to rank from November 29, 1862, he was not involved in any important affair until the battle of Chancellorsville where his and Von Gilsa's brigades of Devens' division of the XI Corps, constituting the right of the Army of the Potomac, were overwhelmed by the onrushing Confederates on the evening of May 2, 1863. Charles Devens was wounded and the command devolved upon McLean who was unable to reform the shattered units until he had retreated all the way to Joseph Hooker's headquarters at the Chancellor house. For this he incurred the displeasure of his corps commander, Oliver O. Howard. In spite of this McLean was assigned on May 18 to duty with Ambrose E. Burnside in Cincinnati and was promptly made provost marshal general of the Department of the Ohio. During the early weeks of the Atlanta campaign, he commanded a brigade of Schofield's XXIII Corps, but at New Hope Church on May 27, 1864, he was again criticized severely by Howard (who was then commanding the IV Corps) for various sins of omission.  The following month he was assigned to a minor command in Kentucky. Another chance at field service yet remained to him: he accompanied the XXIII Corps to the Carolinas in command of a brigade under John M. Schofield. The Corps rendezvoused with W. T. Sherman at Goldsboro, North Carolina, on March 28, 1865, after being transported from Tennessee to Virginia by rail, and from the Potomac to Fort Fisher by ship. For reasons not disclosed by the records, McLean elected to resign his commission on April 20, 1865. After resuming his law practice in Cincinnati for a time, he retired to a farm in Minnesota. Subsequently he lived for many years at Bellport, Long Island, where he died January 4, 1905, and was buried.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.