McClernand was an Illinois lawyer whose career had been very similar to that of Abraham Lincoln, the president. Although he was a Democrat and Lincoln a Republican, they were still friends. When the war came he was appointed a political general, helping Lincoln to win support from the Illinois Democrats. 150 years ago today he obtained leave to visit Lincoln in Washington, DC, and convinced him to give him his own independent command to make an attack on Vicksburg, Mississippi. This news would spurn Grant into action. He did not want McClernand to gain the great fame that would come from the capture of Vicksburg, which Grant expected to be his own.