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THE SORTIE OF LEE.

CHAPTER LVII.

FORCING OF THE NATIONAL ARMY UNDER

POPE INTO THE DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON.

General Pope was placed in command of an army concentrating in front of Washington.

The Confederate government, flushed with its overthrow of McClellan, and its armies being greatly strengthened by the conscription, resolved on a sortie under Lee, the counterpart of that under Bragg. It hoped to capture Philadelphia, and there dictate peace.

The first portion of these operations was completely successful. Pope was forced into the fortifications of Washington, and the way through Maryland opened by the Confederates.

Formation of the

Virginia.

MILITARY events showed that it was necessary to correct the false distribution of the forces in the vicinity of Washington. The armies that had been under the command of Generals Fremont, Banks, and McDowell were consolidated into one, which was designated national Army of the Army of Virginia, of which those armies formed the First, Second, and Third Corps respectively. Major General Pope was called from the Pope placed in West, and, by order of the President, took command (June 26, 1862). Fremont was shortly after relieved at his own request, and the com mand of his corps given to Sigel. In addition, Burnside was brought from Roanoke Island to Alexandria.

command.

At this time McClellan was occupying a position on both sides of the Chickahominy. It was hoped that his long-delayed operations against Richmond might be facilitated by the vigorous use of the newly-consolidated He proposes to army. For this purpose, Pope intended to aid McClellan. advance by way of Charlottesville upon

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THE SORTIE OF LEE.

428

[SECT. XI.

James River, above Richmond, thereby compelling Lee to detach a part of his army from the front of Richmond, and thus enable McClellan to complete his movement successfully. Scarcely, however, had the march begun, when McClellan commenced his disastrous retreat to Harrison's Landing. That changed at once the whole plan of the campaign. A meeting of the cabinet was held, and Pope called before it. It was plain that something must be done for the relief of the Potomac Army, and that speedily. Pope offered to march from Fredericksburg direct upon Richmond with his whole force-notwithstanding that Lee would be between him and McClellan, and could strike in succession at both-on condition that peremptory orders should be sent to McClellan, and such measures taken in advance that it would not be possible for him to evade on any pretext making a vigorous attack upon the enemy with his whole army the moment he heard that Pope was engaged. At this time Pope's force was forty-three thousand men.

by a direct march upon Richmond.

On assuming command, Pope issued an order to his army, in which there occurred certain expressions supposed to cast reflections on McClellan :

order.

"I have come to you from the West, where we have Pope's offensive always seen the backs of our enemies-from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and to beat him when found-whose policy has been attack, and not defense. I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find much in vogue among you. I hear constantly of taking strong positions, and holding them—of lines of retreat, and bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas. The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance against the enemy. Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our

CHAP. LVII.]

opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves. Let us look before, and not behind."

If the appointment of Pope to his new command was distasteful to McClellan and his military entourage, such insinuations could not fail to engender a bitter animosity. With reluctance does the historian allude to these personal differences, and find himself constrained to draw his reader's attention to them, since there is reason to suppose that they had an influence in producing the disasters of the ensuing campaign.

It was the desire of the government (1) that Pope should cover Washington; (2), that he should assure the safety of the Valley of the Shenandoah; (3), that he should so operate as to draw a part of Lee's army from Richmond, and thereby facilitate McClellan's movements. It seemed to Pope that the security of the Shenandoah Valley was not best obtained by posting troops in the Valley itself, but by concentrating his forces at some point from which, if any attempt were made to enter the Valley, he should be able to interpose and cut off the retreat of the force making such attempt.

Its unhappy consequences.

Duties assigned to
Pope.

POPE AND MCCLELLAN.

He advises against McClellan's retreat.

429

Accordingly, he gave orders to that effect. But, while the movements were in progress, McClellan retreated to Harrison's Landing. When it was first known in Washington that this retreat was contemplated, Pope suggested to the President its impolicy, and urged that orders should be sent to McClellan to mass his whole force on the north side of the Chickahominy, and endeavor to make his way in the direction of Hanover Court-house. He added that to retreat to James River was to go away from re-enforcements, so far as his army was concerned, and to give the enemy the privilege and power of exchanging Richmond

HALLECK APPOINTED GENERAL IN CHIEF.

430

[SECT. XI.

for Washington; that to them the loss of Richmond would be trifling, while the loss of Washington would be conclusive, or nearly so, in its results upon the war. Deeply impressed with these views, he addressed a letter to McClellan at Harrison's Landing, earnestly asking his views and offering him co-operation. To this he received a lukewarm reply. It became apparent that, considering the situation in which the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Virginia were placed in relation to each other, and the absolute necessity of harmonious and prompt co-operation between them, some military superior, both of McClellan and Pope, ought to be called pointing Halleck to Washington and placed in general command. It was under these circumstances that Halleck was brought from the West and appointed general in chief. Pope, now believing that the interests of the nation would be best subserved by his so doing, requested to be relieved from the command of the Army of Virginia, and to be returned to the West. But this was not complied with.

of general in chief.

Encouraged by the extraordinary good fortune that had befallen it in the complete failure of McClellan's campaign, the Confederate government determined on resorting to offensive operations. The conscription had so greatly re-enforced its armies, they had become so invigorated by victory, that nothing seemed impossible. The troops before whom the Peninsular expedition had recoiled might well expect to force their way through all resistance, and break every investing line. A triumphant march through Maryland would be followed by the fall of Washington, and the independence of the Confederacy might be secured by a treaty of peace exacted in Philadelphia.

A sortie through Maryland was therefore resolved

Triumphant position of the Confederates.

CHAP. LVII.] THE CONFEDERATES ON THE RAPIDAN.

431

a sortie

They resolve upon upon. Such was the military strength de rived from the conscription that a simultaneous movement with a similar object was ordered on the other side of the Alleghanies. Bragg was to force his way to Louisville and Cincinnati, Lee to Philadelphia. In Chapter LIII. we have described the fortune that befell Bragg's sortie; in this and the suc ceeding chapter we have to consider that of Lee.

corresponding to the sortie of Bragg.

ance.

Early in August the divisions of Ewell, Hill, and Jackson had advanced to the Rapidan, and the national government, having ascertained the intention of its antagonist, made preparation for resist All farther thoughts of an advance against Richmond were abandoned; it was determined to accomplish the junction of McClellan's forces with those of Pope on the Rappahannock by bringing them to Acquia Creek. McClellan earnestly entreated that the order for the withdrawal of the Potomac Army might be rescinded, and even took the responsibility of delaying the evacuation of Harrison's Landing for several days. On the 14th of August the movement was commenced. As the corps reached Alexandria and Acquia Creek, they

were to be placed under the command of

Pope. The forces heretofore in Western Virginia were also drawn toward Washington, and an order was issued by the President calling for 300,000 men by draft (August 4th, 1862).

Pope's principles

The principles upon which Pope proposed to conduct the campaign were in strong contrast with of the campaign. those that had been observed by McClellan. Among other things, he ordered his troops to subsist on the country, giving vouchers for the supplies they took; contributions for the subsistence of the cavalry were to be laid on villages and neighborhoods; the inhabitants

Their advance to the Rapidan.

The Potomac Army brought to Acquia Creek.

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