Commanders of the Army of the Potomac
1861-1865

Abraham Lincoln
Commander-in-Chief
1861-1865
Lincoln

Winfield Scott
General-in-Chief
1861
Winfield Scott
George B. McClellan
General-in-Chief
1861-1862
Little Mac
Henry Halleck
General-in-Chief
1862-1864
Old Brains
Ulysses S. Grant
General-in-Chief
1864-1865
Sam

Irvin McDowell
1861
McDowell
George B. McClellan
1861-1862
McClellan
Ambrose P. Burnside
1862-1863
Burnside
Joseph Hooker
1863
Hooker
George G. Meade
1863-1865
Meade

The name "Army of the Potomac" was first coined by George McClellan. While Irvin McDowell did not command the Army under that name, he did command the same troops before being relieved by McClellan.

John Pope never formally commanded the Army of the Potomac. After the Peninsula Campaign, President Lincoln ordered the bulk of McClellan's troops transferred to Pope's Army of Virgina; McClellan was an army commander without an army. Following Pope's defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, the troops from the Army of the Potomac were transferred back to McClellan. When challenged about his continued use of McClellan, Lincoln responded, "We must use the tools we have."


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Created 19 DEC 1996; Revised 22 JUL 2013
Photos: TreasureNet (Winfield Scott); Library of Congress

http://schwartz.eng.auburn.edu/ACW/aopcommand.html