Winfield Scott (1786–1866), “Old Fuss and Feathers,” was the associate of every president from Jefferson to Lincoln. Scott entered the military in 1809 and distinguished himself during the War of 1812 at the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. He went on to serve in the Black Hawk War and the campaign against the Seminole and Creole Indians. After mediating an Anglo-American dispute over the Canadian border in 1838, Scott was appointed general-in-chief of the US Army in 1841. Due to his successes in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), Congress granted Scott the pay, rank, and emoluments of a lieutenant general, a rank not given to any officer since George Washington. In 1852 Scott ran for president on the Whig ticket, but was easily beaten by his Democratic opponent, Franklin Pierce. A southerner by birth, Scott nevertheless staunchly opposed secession and personally commanded Lincoln’s bodyguard at the president’s inauguration. He continued as army commander after the onset of the Civil War and prepared to defend the capital. Scott’s much ridiculed “Anaconda Plan”—a strategy to blockade the southern coast, control the Mississippi River, and march through Georgia after capturing the Tennessee River Valleywas eventually accomplished in large part by Grant and Sherman.

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