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POPE IS INADEQUATELY SUSTAINED.
myself feel for a moment that it was necessary for me, having given General Porter an order to march toward the enemy in a particular direction, to send him, in addition, specific orders to attack; it being his clear duty, and in accordance with every military precept, to have brought his forces into action whenever he encountered the enemy, when a furious battle with that enemy was raging during the whole day in his immediate presence. I believe—in fact, I am positive-that, at five o'clock on the afternoon of the 29th, General Porter had in his front no considerable body of the enemy. I believed then, as I am very sure now, that it was easily practicable for him to have turned the right flank of Jackson and to have fallen upon his rear; that, if he had done so, we should have gained a decisive victory over the army under Jackson before he could have been joined by any of the forces under Longstreet, and that the army of General Lee would have been so crippled and checked by the destruction of this large force as to have been no longer in condition to prosecute farther operations of an aggressive character."
On the next morning (30th) the battle was renewed, but it was now too late. Pope's horses had been in harness for ten days-two days they had been without for age. To his urgent appeals for re-enforcements, McClel He could not ob- lan, who was now at Alexandria, had replied on the 27th, "I do not see that we have force enough in hand to form a connection with Pope, whose exact position we do not know." To his entreaty for rations on the 28th, the same officer had answered that he should have them "as soon as he would send in a cavalry escort to Alexandria as a guard to the trains." In his report Pope says, "I do not see what service cavalry could have rendered in guarding railroad trains. It was not until I received this letter that I began to feel discouraged and nearly hopeless of any successful
CHAP. LVII.] HE FALLS BACK TO CENTREVILLE.
issue to the operations with which I was charged." To his request on the 30th for more ammunition, he was answered, “I know nothing of the calibres of Pope's artillery. "In a telegram to President Lincoln on the afternoon of August 29th, at the very moment when Pope was hero ically engaged with Jackson, and momentarily expecting the arrival of Longstreet, General McClellan suggested that among the courses that might be adopted there was one-" to leave Pope to get out of his scrape, and at once use all our means to make the capital perfectly safe." It is said that when President Lincoln read this dispatch he was so horror-stricken that he fell back in his chair.
Pope's report of the transactions of the 30th is as fol lows: "The enemy's heavy re-enforcements having reached him on Friday afternoon and night, he began to mass on his right for the purpose of crushing our left, and occupying the road to Centreville in our rear. His heaviest assault was made about five o'clock in the afternoon, when, after overwhelming Fitz John Porter and driving his forces back on the centre and left, mass after mass of his forces was pushed against our left. A terrible contest, with great slaughter, was carried on for several hours, our men behaving with firmness and gallantry, under the immediate command of General McDowell. When night closed our left had been forced back about half a mile, but still remained firm and unshaken, while our right held its ground. General Franklin, with his corps, arrived after dark at Centreville, six miles in our rear, while Sumner was four miles behind Franklin. I could have brought up these corps in the morning in time to have renewed the action, but starvation stared both men and horses in the face, and, broken and exhausted as they Is compelled to re- were, they were in no condition to bear huntire to Centreville. ger also. I accordingly retired to Centreville that night in perfect order."
Battle of Chantilly.
On the 31st Lee sent Jackson northward for the purpose of again turning Pope's right. Pope, supposing that this attempt would be made, had prepared to resist it, and on the evening of the following day a conflict occurred near Chantilly, in the midst of a terrible thunder-storm. In this General Stevens and General Kearny were killed, but the attack was checked. Pope, now forced back to the works of Washington, resigned his command, and was succeeded by McClellan. His losses in the campaign were probably campaign. not less than 30,000 men, 30 guns, 20,000 small-arms, and vast quantities of munitions and supplies. Lee's loss during these operations was probably about 15,000 men.
Losses of the
Justice has not yet been rendered to General Pope for his conduct in this campaign. He had a most difficult task to accomplish, and had to depend on very unreliable means. Though there never was purer patriotism than that which animated the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, that army had been brought, through the influence of officers who surrounded General McClellan, into a most dangerous condition-dangerous to the best interests of the nation—of having a wish of its own, and that wish in opposition to the convictions of the govern ment. In armies it is but a very short step from the pos session of a wish to the expression of a will. Perhaps at no period of the war were thoughtful men more deeply alarmed for the future of the nation than when they heard of the restoration of McClellan to the command, and recognized the unmistakable constraint under which the government had acted. It was in vain for well-meaning persons to affirm that the general had never been relieved, and that what had now taken place was no more
Pope's conduct in the campaign.
Condition of the
CHAP. LVII.] POPE'S CONDUCT IN THE CAMPAIGN.
than an ordinary proceeding: the Peninsular disaster was too recent, the complaints and asseverations of Pope of disobedience to his orders among the higher officers too loud for the real state of affairs to be concealed.
Pope ought to have
"Leave Pope to get out of his scrape!" What had Pope done to merit inevitable destruction? been energetically He had gone down to the Rapidan in obesustained, dience to orders to compel the enemy to release his hold on the army in the Peninsula. He was keeping at bay in the best manner he could-nay, more, he was desperately assailing Lee's ablest lieutenants. For more than a fortnight he was fighting battle after battle against overwhelming forces, first, to prevent the junction of his antagonists, and then to resist their whole mass. He might have been indiscreet in his reflections on the generalship of his predecessor, but, had he been ten times more so, this was not the moment of retaliation for such offenses. Was he not now the soldier of the republic, at the head of her forlorn hope in the very breach? When, from the midst of the fire converging upon him, he cried out for more ammunition to enable him to keep his foothold, how was he answered? "I know nothing of the calibres of Pope's artillery."
but he received
The operations of Pope with the Army of Virginia were based entirely on the expected junclukewarm support. tion of re-enforcements from the Army of the Potomac. Not without indignation does he say his report, "Twenty thousand five hundred men were all of the ninety-one thousand veteran troops from Harrison's Landing who ever drew trigger under my command, or in any way took part in this campaign." "The complete overthrow of Lee's army, or at least the entire frustration of his movement toward the Potomac, was defeated by the failure of the Army of the Potomac to effect a junction in time with the Army of Virginia on
CRITICAL POSITION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
the line of the Rappahannock, or even so far back as the line of Bull Run."
In his report to the Secretary of War, the general in chief, Halleck, referring to these events, says, "Some of the corps (from the Peninsula) moved with becoming activity, but the delays of others were neither creditable nor excusable." "Most of the troops actually engaged in these battles fought with great bravery, but some of them could not be brought into action at all. Many thousands straggled away from their commands; and it is said that not a few voluntarily surrendered to the enemy, so as to be paroled prisoners of war."
Critical position of
From the tenor of Pope's complaints, the reader can not fail to discern that the national governthe government. ment was at this time passing through a serious crisis. The triumphant Confederate army threatening Washington was by no means the only formidable object before the republic. Individual grievances are of little moment in the eye of history save when they are connected with national interests-they become of su preme importance when they presage public perils. Enough has been said to enable the reader to perceive that at this momentous period the government was acting under constraint.
General McClellan himself has told us what were Mr. Lincoln's impressions as to the army at that time. "The President informed me that he had reason to believe that the Army of the Potomac was not cheerfully co-operating with and sup porting General Pope, and now asked me, as a special favor, to use my influence in correcting this state of things. The President, who was much moved, asked me to telegraph to 'Fitz John Porter, or some other of my friends,' and try to do away with any feeling that might
The President implores McClellan to sustain Pope.