McClellan was branded a hypocrite by many critics who saw his public stance on the war issue as ambiguous and deceptive. Nominated because of his military record, he nevertheless ran on a peace platform, written by Copperhead leader Clement Laird Vallandigham, but then asserted his support for the war in his letter accepting the nomination.
Here McClellan appears as a two-faced demaogogue, standing on a rickety "Chicago Platform." The platform rests on the shoulders of (clockwise from left): a devil, Confederacy president Jefferson Davis, New York congressman and prominent Copperhead Fernando Wood, and Clement Laird Vallandigham.
From one face McClellan says, "If you don't like the Platform, I refer you to my letter of acceptance." The hand on this side holds the "Letter of Acceptance," which reads, "War! . . . preservation Union . . . could not Look my gallant Comrades in the face." Facing right, he contradicts himself, "You see my friend I accept the nomination and of course stand on the platform."
The devil addresses Jefferson Davis, "Well Jeff it's no use trying to hold up this ricketty old platform, I guess I'll leave you to your fate!" Davis replies, "I'm in a pretty fix! Weldon road gone!! Atlanta taken!!! Mobile Fort surrendered!!!! Early licked!!!! and now when my last hope is in keeping up this platform and getting Mac elected you who led me into the scrape threaten to leave me!!!!"
Vallandigham says to Wood, "Confound that letter! I've a good mind to bolt, and let the whole concern go smash!" Wood reassures him, " . . . don't you see it's only his little game to ring in the war men; if he is elected he is bound to carry out our policy and nothing else!" At the far left a Union soldier repudiates McClellan, "Its no use General! you can't stand on that platform and come that blarney over me, I smed [smell?] brimstone!" In contrast, at right a simian Irishman holding a club and identified as a "Peace Democrat" says, "All right General! if yere in favor of resistin the draft, killing the niggers, and pace wid the Southerners I'll knock any man on the head that'll vote aginye."