Charles Pettit McIlvaine was an Episcopalian bishop, author, educator and twice Chaplain of the United States Senate. In 1820 he was ordained to the deaconate in Philadelphia, and was soon after called to Christ Church in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. In 1822 he was appointed chaplain to the U.S. Senate.
From 1825 to 1827, McIlvaine served as chaplain and professor of ethics at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where his students included Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
In 1827 McIlvaine declined the presidency of The College of William & Mary but accepted a call to St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn, New York. In 1831 he was named professor of the evidences of revealed religion at the University of the City of New York.
In 1832, he became the 2nd president of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and also the second Bishop of Ohio.
He was a leading advocate of Evangelicalism, and wrote a noted rebuttal of the Oxford Movement, Oxford Divinity Compared with That of the Romish and Anglican Churches.
He was the 28th bishop consecrated in The Episcopal Church.
Bishop McIlvaine was so highly respected internationally (for his opposition to the Catholic-leaning Oxford movement within the Episcopal Church) that, shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, President Lincoln asked him to go to England to argue against British recognition of the Confederacy. He often had coffee at Buckingham Palace, lunched with faculty members at Oxford, conversed with cabinet members, and influenced debate in the House of Commons.