Lieutenant General Winfield Scott


Winfield Scott (1786‒1866) was one of four generals during the American Civil War to hold the post of general in chief of the armies of the United States, the others being George McClellan, Henry Halleck, and Ulysses S. Grant. Scott was born in Virginia, graduated from William and Mary College, and then studied law and was admitted to the bar. He joined the army during the War of 1812, in which he was captured by the British, released in a prisoner exchange, and then severely wounded at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane (near Niagara Falls, New York) in July 1814. He won great fame for his exploits in the Mexican War (1846‒48), which included the capture of Veracruz, the defeat of Santa Anna’s army, and a triumphal entrance into Mexico City. When the Civil War broke out, he was the logical choice to head the Union war effort, but he served only until November 1, 1861, when he retired for reasons of age and poor health. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Last updated: March 22, 2016