Stephen C. Foster was the most prolific songwriter of his era. "Nelly Bly" is one of his most memorable minstrel songs, often recorded today as a children's song with revised lyrics. In this set of lyrics, McClellan is criticized for associating himself with anti-war radicals called "Copperheads" and being too young and inexperienced for high office. "Little Mac" was on his way "Up Salt River," a 19th Century reference to political downfall that awaited. Abraham Lincoln's supporters also pointed out George McClellan's age as proof of his inexperience. McClellan was 38 years old at the time: his victory would have made him the youngest elected president in United States history.