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hoped, and in which his high military reputation was staked at fearful odds, issued an energetic address to his army, with the vigorous orders so offensive to his adversaries, and proceeded earnestly to the performance of the three-fold duties already indicated, drawing almost the entire army of Lee away from Richmond.
One of Pope's first movements was the sending out of cavalry detachments from Fredericksburg, to cut the Virginia Central railroad at several points. This having been duly accomplished, orders were given to Gen. Banks, on the 14th of July, to send forward all his cavalry, with an infantry support, to occupy Culpepper Court House, and to advance from thence. to Gordonsville, destroying the railroad for ten or fifteen miles eastward from that place. The cavalry commander failed to execute the latter part of the order, going only as far as Madison Court House-a failure which cost him his command. Jackson's advance, under Ewell, reached Gordonsville on the 16th. Gen. Pope took the field in person on the 29th, and the main portion of his infantry and artillery was placed in position, by the 7th of August, along the turnpike road from Sperryville to Culpepper. Gen. Buford, who had been assigned to the command of the cavalry in Banks' corps, was posted at Madison Court House with five regiments, his pickets extending along the Rapidan, from Burnett's Ford to the Blue Ridge. Gen. Sigel was directed to send a brigade of infantry and a battery of artillery, in support of Buford, to Robertson's river. Gen. Bayard, with four cavalry regiments, was posted near Rapidan Station, his pickets extending eastward along the Rapidan to Raccoon Ford, and westward to meet those of Buford at Burnett's Ford. Cavalry pickets were also stationed along the Rapidan from Raccoon Ford to the confluence of that river with the Rappahannock, while King's division of infantry remained opposite Fredericksburg, substantially completing the line to the Potomac.
On the 8th, the enemy was reported in force in front of both Bayard and Buford, the former slowly falling back toward Culpepper. Crawford's brigade, of Banks' corps, was sent toward Cedar mountain, to support Bayard, and to aid in ascertaining
the numbers and intentions of the enemy. On the 9th, Banks was ordered, with the remainder of his corps, to join the brigade under Crawford-Sigel having failed, for some reason, to arrive from Sperryville, to participate in this movement as intended. Ricketts' division, of McDowell's corps, was posted three miles in the rear of Banks, so as to be available for his support, or to be thrown toward Sperryville, whither Buford was retreating, reporting a heavy Rebel force advancing toward Culpepper from Madison Court House.
During the day, on the 9th, and down to five o'clock, the enemy did not appear before Banks, in any considerable force, which led that officer, contrary to the intentions of the commanding General, who merely desired the enemy at this point to be kept in check, to advance two miles to attack. In reality, he encountered a superior force in a strong position, his troops fighting bravely. The action lasted less than two hours, the Government forces being gradually driven back to their former position, with considerable loss. Ricketts' division now came up to their aid, with Gen. Pope at its head. A brisk artillery fire was soon after commenced, driving back the enemy to his former shelter in the woods.
Sigel having arrived, his corps was now advanced and that of Banks withdrawn toward Culpepper, to be put in condition after its fatigues and losses. King had been telegraphed for at Fredericksburg on the 8th, and arrived on the night of the 11th, which day had been spent by both parties in burying the dead. Pope, now having numbers about equal to those of the enemy, determined to bring on a battle, by falling on his line of communications at daybreak. But, during the night, Jackson retired hurriedly across the Rapidan, toward Gordonsville, leaving behind many of his dead and wounded. Gen. Pope reports a loss of about 1,800 men, in killed, wounded and prisoners.
A cavalry force, under Buford and Bayard, followed the enemy to the Rapidan, capturing many stragglers. Thereupon the cavalry resumed its former position, on the line of the Rapidan, from Raccoon Ford to the Blue Ridge.
On the 14th, Pope had an accession to his strength, by the
arrival of Gen. Reno, with 8,000 men from the forces of Gen.
It now becomes necessary to return to the Army of the Potomac, the presence and coöperation of which had become so essential to success at this critical juncture.
During the first days of July, Gen. McClellan had been endeavoring to render his new position as secure as possible. It was early manifest that a withdrawal of his force, to aid in the operations before Washington, did not accord with his individual views. To the last, he was extremely loath to abandon the Peninsula. On the 4th of July, McClellan had said, in a dispatch to the President: "Our communications by the James river are not secure. There are points where the enemy can establish themselves with cannon or musketry and command the river, and where it is not certain that our gunboats can drive them out." At the same date, before receiving the dispatch just quoted from, the President, still anxious in regard to the preservation of McClellan's remaining force, and without having definitely determined on the course to be pursued with regard to it, wrote him as follows:
WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., July 4, 1862.
I understand your position as stated in your letter, and by Gen. Marcy. To re-enforce you so as to enable you to resume the offensive within a month, or even six weeks, is impossible. In addition to that arrived and now arriving from the Potomac, (about ten thousand men, I suppose), and about ten thousand I hope you will have from Burnside very soon, and about five thousand from Hunter a little later, I do not see how I can send you another man within a month. Under these circumstances, the defensive, for the present, must be your only care. Save the army, first, where you are, if you can, and, secondly, by removal, if you must. You, on the ground, must be the judge as to which you will attempt, and of the means for effecting it. I but give it as my opinion, that with the aid of the gunboats and the re-enforcements mentioned above, you can hold your present position; provided, and so long as you can keep the James river open below you. If you are not tolerably confident you can keep the James river open, you had better remove as soon as possible. I do not remember that you have expressed any apprehension as to the danger of having your communications cut on the river below you, yet I do not suppose it can have escaped your attention.
Yours, very truly,
P. S.-If at any time you feel able to take the offensive, you are not restrained from doing so. A. L.
McClellan replied, on the 7th: "My position is very strong, and daily becoming more so. If not attacked to-day, I shall laugh at them. I have been anxious about my communications. . . Alarm yourself as little as possible about me, and don't lose confidence in this army." At the same date, he wrote a long letter to the President, volunteering a statement of his "general views concerning the existing state of the rebellion." He reminds Mr. Lincoln that "the Rebel army is in the front, with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking our positions or reducing us by blocking our river communications." He "can not but regard" his "condition as critical." The singularity of one sitting down, under such circumstances, to write a political disquisition, as if he were the veriest gentleman of leisure, is more striking than any thing
in the document itself. Two or three paragraphs in this letter (dated July 7, 1862, and published at length in the writer's last official report) will serve to show its quality:
Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of free institutions and self-government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political faction, nor foreign war shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon the people of every State. The time has come when the Government must determine upon a civil and military policy, covering the whole ground of our National trouble.
This rebellion has assumed the character of a war; as such it should be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State, in any event. It should not be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organization of States, or forcible abolition of slavery should be contemplated for a moment.
Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies. The policy of the Government must be supported by concentrations of military power. The National forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous armies, but should be mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear upon the armies of the Confederate States. Those armies thoroughly defeated, the political structure which they support would soon cease to exist.
From time to time, Gen. McClellan continued to urge the policy of preparing his army to advance on Richmond from its present position. He called for reënforcements, asking a concentration under his command of "every thing we can possibly spare from less important points, to make sure of crushing the enemy at Richmond, which seems clearly to be the most important point in rebeldom." The President visited Harrison's Landing on the 8th of July, and in company with the Com