General John Cadwalader

Copied Charles Willson Peale, General John Cadwalader, ca. 1788, watercolor on ivory, sight 1 121 1414 in. ( cm) oval, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Mary Elizabeth Spencer, 1999.27.30
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Artwork Details

General John Cadwalader
ca. 1788
Not on view
sight 1 121 1414 in. ( cm) oval
Credit Line
Bequest of Mary Elizabeth Spencer
Mediums Description
watercolor on ivory
  • Occupation — military — general
  • Portrait male — Cadwalader, John — bust
Object Number

Artwork Description

During the Revolutionary War, General John Cadwalader (1742-1786) commanded troops at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Princeton. He was much admired by his close friend General George Washington, who referred to him as "a military genius." Washington offered Cadwalader the position of Continental brigadier general, but his friend declined, preferring to become a state legislator in Maryland after the war. When Charles Willson Peale painted Cadwalader's likeness, it was intended to ornament a woman's bracelet, and in fact the original fittings for an ornamental band---similar to today's watchbands---are visible along the sides of the miniature's case.