Lincoln’s New Servant Girl

Lincoln’s New Servant Girl

Title: Lincoln’s New Servant Girl

Year: 1864

Creator: Phunny Phellow

Description: The clever caricature gave the impression that this was Lincoln’s political battle to lose, not McClellan’s to win. Nast injected condescending humor by drawing Lincoln as a hairy ape and McClellan as a dog. Nevertheless, Lincoln seems to be toying with McClellan. Securely tantalizing his former army general with the tempting morsel of the “White House,” the President restrains his political adversary with a firm grip on his tail and taunts, “Don’t You Wish You May Get It?” In June, Nast featured Lincoln, Edwin Stanton, and Gideon Welles with Ulysses S. Grant, “Lincoln’s New Servant Girl,” the recently appointed commanding general of the Union armies (June 1864 Phunny Phellow, 8-9 [Illustration 8]). Lincoln’s quest for competent military leadership was finally resolved when General Grant assumed responsibility. Characterizing the sweeping organizational transition, Nast gave General Grant a broom to dispense with any lingering incompetence. The caption of “Miss Grant from the West” explained the commanding general’s confident intentions: “I’ll have to clean this place out first, Mr. Lincoln, before I can commence to work properly.” A hopeful, if apprehensive, Lincoln, Stanton, and Welles look on with considerable interest from the sidelines.

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