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Battle of Antietam Sections
Skirmish in the East Woods
The Battle of Antietam
Battle of Antietam
The Suppression of John Pope
by Kevin S. Lacey

Lincoln had selected Major General John Pope to command the Army of Virginia.[89]  Pope possessed an abrasive personality – which was exacerbated when he was operating under pressure – combined with a well-deserved reputation as a shameless self-promoter and braggart that extended back to well before the war.[90]  Acting in characteristic harmony Pope, on July 14, 1862, issued a proclamation to the Army that was hardy calculated to improve morale. Pope unfavorably compared his men with the troops he had commanded in the West where "we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an army whose business it was to seek the adversary and beat him … whose policy has been attack and not defense."[91]

Pope followed this a few days later with three General Orders: No. 5 announced that The Army of Virginia would "subsist on the country" and that "vouchers" would be given civilians for seized provisions; No. 7 promised that local civilians would be held responsible for guerrilla activity; No. 11 required all civilians to take a loyalty oath and, if they refused, their property would be confiscated and they would be arrested and transported south through Confederate lines.[92]  Pope's Orders caused an immediate hostile reaction from all parts of the Confederacy, and Lee wrote personally to the new Federal commander-in-chief, Henry Halleck to object.[93]  Nevertheless, and although Southerners heaped personal scorn upon Pope, the fact remains that his orders had been approved by Washington and were in harmony with developing Republican policy that was escalating and changing the character of the war.[94]

While Pope's actions in northern Virginia caused Lee concern, he could do little besides protest for the time being: Lee could not move against either Pope or McClellan until their intentions were clear. He did send Jackson north with two divisions to observe Pope and to protect Richmond's communications with the Shenandoah Valley.[95]  Lee, with the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia remained near Richmond. Lee desperately wanted to reinforce Jackson so that some action could be taken against Pope, but until the end of July, Lee dared not risk it.[96]  Furthermore, as if Lee did not have enough problems, two of his senior generals were involved in a public dispute that led to the arrest of arguably Lee's best division commander.[97]  In part to solve this personality clash and, at the same time, provide Jackson with badly needed troops, on July 27th Lee sent A.P. Hill's Light Division to reinforce Jackson.[98]

Lee's entire strategy would hinge on McClellan's movements. But, what McClellan intended was far from clear – even to McClellan.[99]  By late July, however, it became obvious to Halleck and Lincoln that McClellan was not going to move absent the receipt of reinforcements that were simply not available, and on August 3rd Halleck ordered the evacuation of the Army of the Potomac to Aquia Creek from where it could advance and link-up with Pope's Army of Virginia.[100]  McClellan protested and delayed, all the while trying unsuccessfully to convince Halleck to rescind his orders.[101]

But while Pope blustered, McClellan dawdled and Halleck planned, Jackson struck. Still unsure of Union intentions, Lee nevertheless granted Jackson wide discretion in his movements.[102]  Discerning that a Union corps under his old adversary from the Valley, Major General Nathaniel Banks, had moved to Culpeper, Jackson moved to destroy it before Pope arrived.[103]  On August 9th at Cedar Mountain Jackson dealt Banks a bloody repulse, and the Banks retreated north toward Pope.[104]

In the grand scheme of things, Cedar Mountain was a minor affair, but it had results disproportionate to its significance. The battle unnerved Pope, whose dispatches to Halleck lost some of their bluster and his communications now focused on the weakness of his army and discussed his retreat across the Rappahannock.[105]

In Richmond, Lee was still unsure of McClellan's intentions, but with Burnside moving to Fredericksburg, and the Army of the Potomac showing no signs of aggression, he was becoming more convinced that it was, or soon would be, leaving the Peninsula to reinforce Pope.[106]  Longstreet with most of the army advanced north from Richmond to Gordonsville. The level of Lee's concern for the safety of Richmond had significantly dissipated and may be gauged by Lee's decision to leave the sometimes-unstable G.W. Smith in command.[107]

Lee's initial plan to defeat Pope between the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers before McClellan could reinforce him failed when Pope skillfully withdrew across the Rappahannock. On August 22nd J.E.B. Stuart raided Pope's headquarters and captured correspondence that not only indicated his position, but also confirmed Lee's suspicion that the Army of the Potomac was redeploying to reinforce the Army of Virginia.[108]

Understanding that he only had a brief window of time before he would be significantly outnumbered, Lee acted decisively. Abandoning his scheme to cross the Rappahannock to strike Pope, Lee divided his army. Jackson, now commanding what was considered the "Left Wing" of the Army of Northern Virginia, was ordered to march northwest and sever Pope's communications with Washington.[109]  Longstreet with the "Right Wing" consisting of the bulk of the army demonstrated in front of Pope, and then was ordered to follow Jackson.[110]

Jackson conducted his march with his usual celerity and reticence: No one, except Stonewall, knew where they were going.[111]  The next day Jackson struck east through Throughfare Gap in the wooded Bull Run Mountains, where Major General J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalry joined him. In the early evening Jackson arrived at Bristoe Station where Ewell captured an incoming train and a few prisoners.[112]  According to A.P. Hill, Jackson's men had marched 54 miles in two days.[113]  But Jackson was not satisfied. Shortly after sunset, Major General Stuart led his cavalry, accompanied by two regiments of infantry under the command of Brigadier General Isaac Trimble, the last seven miles to capture Manassas Junction, which served as Pope's main supply base.[114]  Jackson was now effectively between Pope and Washington.

The effect of the capture of Manassas was immediate. Col. Haupt reported to Halleck that the railroad, on which Pope depended for reinforcements, was now useless. Haupt would use it only to forward supplies.[115]

Jackson now pondered his options. The movement thus far had been, by any objective measure, a complete success.[116]  Yet Pope had been merely embarrassed and inconvenienced; he had yet to be "suppressed". To that end, Jackson decided to move his army northwest toward the old Manassas battlefield where, just over a year before, he had won his sobriquet. There, positioning his men in the woods near Groveton, he would wait for Pope – and for Longstreet.[117]

Pope was at Bristoe Station when Jackson torched Manassas, and he immediately drew the wrong conclusions: Pope believed that Jackson was in trouble and was trying to escape. To McDowell Pope urged haste in concentrating at Manassas, promising that he would "bag the whole crowd".[118]  Unfortunately, when Pope arrived at Manassas, Jackson had gone and the Union commander had no idea where he was. While Pope searched for the elusive Jackson, McClellan continued to dawdle in Alexandria providing little, if any, direct aid.[119]
In the meantime, Longstreet, accompanied by Lee, set out on August 26th along the same path previously taken by Jackson. Pope, apparently believing that Longstreet was remaining behind the Rappahannock, had replicated his earlier blunder and had made no serious attempt to block Throughfare Gap, which would have prevented Lee from reuniting his army.[120]

On the evening of August 28th, while Longstreet's men slept in Throughfare Gap, Jackson faced another dilemma. Pope had yet to find him, and Jackson misinterpreted Pope's intentions; Jackson thought Pope's erratic movements indicated that he was retreating across Bull Run toward Washington.[121]  To prevent this, on the afternoon of August 28th Jackson marched a portion of his wing out of hiding and attacked King's Division near Brawner's Farm as it marched along the Warrenton Turnpike.[122]  The Battle was at best a draw, but it served its primary purpose. Pope now knew where Jackson was located.

Pope, who had been operating in something of a fog, now concentrated at Manassas. On August 29th Pope attacked Jackson whose three divisions took advantage of the limited protection afforded by a section of unfinished railroad. Neither Pope nor Jackson had a stellar day, but Pope's performance was particularly poor as he failed to coordinate his forces for a decisive assault on the outnumbered Confederates.[123]  Worse, Pope continued to disregard accurate reports that Longstreet had passed Throughfare Gap and was close to linking up with Jackson.

The next day, Pope renewed his assault, and continued to ignore reports of Longstreet's presence. Indeed, Pope not only ignored Longstreet, but he actually convinced himself that Jackson was retreating.[124]  Again, his attacks were disjointed. Longstreet probed and reconnoitered the Union left for most of the day, and three times postponed his attack. But when it finally came in the twilight of the August evening, it was decisive. Pope's left was driven back and his army almost destroyed.[125]

Pope managed to evade destruction and, after a brief pursuit the following day, Pope brought his defeated army within the safety of the defenses around Washington.[126]  The first seriously mounted invasion of Virginia had failed. Both Pope and McClellan had been repulsed. Unlike events in the West where the Confederates had been pushed back on all fronts, in the East it was Lee, Longstreet and Jackson who had pushed back two Federals armies.

Yet Lee knew that neither the Seven Days nor Second Manassas had been a decisive victory. He also knew that he had only won a respite; a delay before the Army of the Potomac struck again. But at this point, Lee still held the initiative. His ultimate decision on the next campaign would be made within a few days, but it would be a mistake to read too much into this. It was not a hasty decision by any means and it was made only after much reflection and involved ideas and concepts Lee had been considering for many weeks, if not months.


[89] Pope had problems from the beginning of his tenure. General Fremont resigned, affronted at being subordinated to Pope who he outranked. Major General Rufus King was offered the command of the corps, but refused, preferring to keep command of his own division. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, pp276-277. So the selection fell on Major General Franz Siegel replaced him. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, pp. 437-438, 444. Clearly the unification of the disjointed commands operating in and around the Shenandoah Valley was a wise move, but Lincoln's selection of Pope to command it was not, especially as there were senior, and more qualified, men available. Alexander, Edward P. Military Memoirs of a Confederate (De Capo, 1993), p. 176. Pope had acquired a superficially solid reputation in the West that simply could not withstand close scrutiny. His capture of Island Number 10 and New Madrid were more a result of the domino effect of Grant's actions in Tennessee that unhinged the entire Confederate line; moreover, it was rumored that much of his success was due to the efforts of his subordinates. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 3. Moreover, although he received credit for his part in the successful attack on Corinth in late May 1862, a close examination reveals that Pope demonstrated many of the same shortcomings that would later come to characterize his conduct in Virginia. Suhr, Robert C. "Old Brains' Barren Triumph" in America's Civil War (May 2001), p. 46-47. Nevertheless, Pope did have some advantages as far as the administration was concerned. He was an ardent (some might say militant) Republican and, through his father–in-law, he was close to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase; he had family connections with Mary Todd Lincoln; and he was personally known to Lincoln both through his father, a circuit court judge in Illinois before whom Lincoln had appeared, and having, as Captain Pope, traveled with the President as a bodyguard from Indianapolis to Washington prior to Lincoln's inauguration. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 4. Donald, David H. Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, 1995), p. 273.

[90] Alexander, Edward P. Military Memoirs of a Confederate (De Capo, 1993), p. 176. Although angry and perhaps a bit inebriated, Union General Samuel Sturgis nevertheless expressed what was probably the general consensus of opinion in both the Union and Confederate Armies when he told Colonel Herman Haupt, the superintendent of military railroads, that he "did not care for John Pope one pinch of owl dung". Catton, Bruce The Army of the Potomac: Mr. Lincoln's Army (Doubleday, 1962), p. 7; Sandburg, Carl, Abraham Lincoln The War Years (Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939), vol. 1, p. 535. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 82. Lee, well known for the moderation of his expressed opinion, had little but contempt for Pope, whom he described in private correspondence a "miscreant". Dowdy, Clifford and Manarin, Eds. The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee (Bramhall House, 1961), p. 240. #246. Lee was not the only high ranking officer to criticize Pope. Another wrote: "I have a strong idea that Pope will be thrashed during the coming week – & very badly whipped he will be & ought to be – such a villain as he is out to bring defeat upon any cause that employs him." Lincoln, had he read this letter, would have been far more concerned than he ever was about Lee's protest, for it was penned by none other than the commander of the Army of the Potomac, George McClellan. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan, Selected Correspondence 1860-1865 (Ticknor & Fields, 1989), p. 389. McClellan's negative attitude toward Pope did not augur well for the upcoming campaign.

[91] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, pp. 473-474. It was apparent to all that Pope's proclamation was directed more at McClellan and his failed policies than anything else, and a solid clique of officers in the Army of the Potomac who were loyal to McClellan would never forgive him for this perceived offense. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 15-16.

[92] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 50-52. These orders marked a significant change in policy from McClellan, who had been at pains to respect private property and the rights of the civilian population, and who recently advised Lincoln in a confidential letter that the war should be fought "upon the highest principals known to Christian Civilization … It should not be, at all, a War upon population; but against armed forces and political organizations." Sears, Stephen W., Ed. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan, Selected Correspondence 1860-1865 (Ticknor & Fields, 1989), pp. 344-345. Further, Pope's order most likely had the opposite effect intended. Longstreet correctly observed that this "was a measure of unnecessary severity towards non-combatants, and had an unsalutary effect …". Longstreet, James From Manassas to Appomattox (Blue & Grey Press, 1984), p. 155. Moreover, enforcement was problematic. Although many citizens were "detained" for brief periods, only a few (something around 20) were actually sent south through the Confederate lines. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 17. In the end, the "trifling effects" of these orders, "served mostly to antagonize". Ibid.

[93] Halleck was the command of all Federal armies as General-in-Chief on July 11th. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, p. 314. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 21. Lee realized that, unless checked, Pope's actions – especially the threat of reprisals against civilians -- would alter the entire character of the war. By waging war against non-combatants, Pope would inevitably increase the intensity of the war, and this, in turn, would lead to ever escalating reprisals. Thomas, Emory M. Robert E. Lee (Norton, 1994), pp. 249-250. Fortunately, the initial Confederate reaction was measured: General Order No. 54, issued on August 1st was directed only against Pope himself and certain of his officers who, if captured, would not be entitled to treatment as prisoners of war and would instead be held in close confinement. O.R., Series 2, vol. 4, pp. 836-837. On August 2nd a copy of General Order No. 54 was sent to Halleck with a cover letter from Lee who described Pope and his those attempting to enforce his orders against civilians as "robbers and murderers". O.R., Series 2, vol. 4, pp. 329-330. While he emphasized that the Confederacy was not, as yet, inclined to reciprocate Lee warned that if the "savage practices" mentioned in Pope's orders continued the Confederacy would be forced to accept "war on the terms chosen by [Pope] until the voice of an outraged humanity shall compel a respect for the recognized usages of war." Ibid. In other words, unless Pope's orders were rescinded or disavowed by Washington, the Confederacy would soon reply in kind. Halleck chose not to reply. O.R., Series 2, vol. 4, p. 362. It is quite probable that when Lee write to Jackson that he wanted Pope "suppressed" he was likely referring more to the suppression of Pope's policies than to anything else.

[94] O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, pp 500-501. A week before Pope issued his orders, Lincoln received the Second Confiscation Bill from Congress that labeled all Confederates as traitors and, among other penalties, provided for the confiscation of all property of those who supported, aided or participated in the rebellion; indeed the various provisions were far more onerous than any of Pope's orders. Lincoln's conservative friend Senator Orville Browning broke ranks and joined the Democrats to oppose the bill and advised Lincoln in language similar to that recently employed by McClellan that the confiscation act was unconstitutional and violated the laws of "civilized warfare." Nevertheless, after a few minor changes, Lincoln signed it into law. Oates, Stephen B. With Malice Toward None, A Life of Abraham Lincoln (Harper Perennial, 1994), pp. 309-310. Donald, David H. Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, 1995), pp. 364-365. Indeed, McClellan said as much in a letter to Halleck at the end of July 1862: "I fear the results of the … policy inaugurated by … Congress and practically enunciated by General Pope in his series of orders to the Army of Virginia." O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, p. 346.

[95] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 915 Jackson took his own and Richard Ewell's divisions, about 14,000 men to observe Pope.

[96] Lee's correspondence during mid-July reflected his frustration over his inability to reinforce Jackson so that he could "suppress" Pope. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, pp. 916-919. As late as July 23rd, he was still wary, noting "McClellan is feeling stronger, is uneasy in his position, and no doubt feels the need to advance upon Richmond. He is making daily demonstrations to deceive us and to test our strength … I am reluctant to weaken the force around Richmond." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 916.

[97] After the Seven Days, A.P. Hill had been the subject of a favorable newspaper article in the Richmond Examiner whose editor had briefly attached himself to Hill's staff. In describing the battle of Frayser's Farm, the Examiner grossly inflated and exaggerated Hill's role – going so far as to claim that the entire battle was fought under his direction. When Longstreet viewed the article he was livid, and sent his own version of events about the battle to the Richmond Whig. Hill, who possessed a "high strung and sensitive nature", took umbrage at Longstreet's article and immediately requested a transfer that Longstreet quickly endorsed. Robertson, James I. Jr. General A.P. Hill (Random House, 1987), pp. 95-97. Wert, Jeffrey D. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 154-155. O.R. Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, pp. 639-640. Lee, no doubt hoping that this tête-à-tête would blow over, did nothing. Hill then petulantly refused to respond to a formal inquiry from Longstreet or to address his Chief of Staff, and Longstreet placed him under arrest. O.R., Series 1, vol. 51, pt. 2, p. 590. Lee still remained aloof. But Lee finally intervened (through intermediaries) when he learned that the two hotheads were actually contemplating a duel. Robertson, James I. Jr. General A.P. Hill (Random House, 1987), pp. 97. Wert, Jeffrey D. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 155.

[98] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 919. In his note to Jackson, Lee remarked that he Hill was one "with whom you can consult, and by advising with your division commanders as to your movements much trouble will be saved you in arranging details, as they can act more intelligently." Id. pp. 918-919. Clearly, Lee was using the Hill's reassignment to discuss and obliquely criticize Jackson's well-known reticence. Alexander, Edward P. Military Memoirs of a Confederate (De Capo, 1993), p. 181. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), pp. 519-520. If Jackson understood Lee's hint, he ignored it for, if anything, he became even more uncommunicative in the upcoming campaign.

[99] Upon Lincoln's return from Harrison's Landing, he and Stanton requested that Burnside take command of the Army of the Potomac, but he refused. Sears, Stephen W. George B. McClellan, the Young Napoleon (Ticknor & Fields, 1988), p. 235. The day after Halleck arrived in Washington, Lincoln sent him to Harrison's Landing with carte blanche to remove McClellan. Halleck arrived on July 25th, but his visit was no more productive than the President's had been. McClellan proposed alternate plans – first suggesting an attack on Petersburg and then on Richmond, but all his proposals required reinforcements that Washington did not possess. McClellan said that with the 20,000 men available, he "would try" a go at Richmond, but it was clear he was not confident of success. Halleck later wrote his wife that McClellan did not understand strategy and should never plan a campaign. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 1, pp. 337-338. Sears, Stephen W. George B. McClellan, the Young Napoleon (Ticknor & Fields, 1988), p. 241. When he left, McClellan had, albeit reluctantly, agreed to try and assume an offensive if reinforced with 20,000 men. However, the day after Halleck returned to Washington, McClellan upped the ante and demanded between 50,000 to 55,000 more men based on rumors that Confederate reinforcements were arriving in Richmond. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 1, pp. 333-334. If Halleck had maintained any doubts about George McClellan, that telegram settled the matter.

[100] O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 1, pp. 80-81. Although Halleck's decision was grounded not only in an accurate estimate of McClellan's abilities as well as sound military logic, the fact remains that, in withdrawing the Army he effectively surrendered the initiative to Lee. When, or if, he regained it would depend on how quickly McClellan carried out his orders to re-deploy to Aquia Creek and how quickly Lee would seize this new opportunity. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 10.

[101] Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), p. 142. That McClellan was slow there is no doubt. He received his first instructions to begin the evacuation on August 3rd, yet the Army of the Potomac did not begin to abandon the Peninsula until August 14th, and all the while McClellan bombarded Halleck and Washington with letters claiming that the Army should remain where it was, and begin an offensive to take Richmond – but these pleas were inevitably accompanied by requests for reinforcements. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 1, pp. 80-89. Sears, Stephen W. George B. McClellan, the Young Napoleon (Ticknor & Fields, 1988), pp. 243-245. However, to McClellan's credit, once he began to evacuate Richmond he moved with uncharacteristic speed, and Lee was disappointed that more was not done to inhibit his retreat. Although he assumed personal responsibility, he also blamed D.H. Hill for not doing more to disrupt McClellan's withdrawal. Dowdy, Clifford and Manarin, Eds. The Wartime Papers of R. E. Lee (Bramhall House, 1961), pp. 258-259, #269. Lee never had a very high opinion of D.H. Hill. After the war, he remarked to William Allan, "Hill had such a queer temperament he could never tell what to expect from him, & that he croaked." William Allan, "Memoranda of Conversations with Lee" in Lee The Soldier, Gallagher, Gary, Ed. (Nebraska, 1996), pp. 8-9.

[102] Unfortunately, much of the correspondence from Jackson to Lee during this period has been lost and does not appear in the Official Records. Nevertheless, as of August 7th, Lee was still unsure of McClellan's intentions and lamented that he could not send Jackson any reinforcements. He did, however, grant Jackson wide latitude in his movements, wisely leaving "the matter to your reflection and good judgment." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3 pp. 925-926.

[103] Banks was an influential Republican, an ardent abolitionist, a former Congressman, Governor of Massachusetts, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1860. In short, he was a very successful politician with virtually no military experience whatsoever: So Lincoln made him a Major General of Volunteers. Tanner, Robert G. Stonewall in the Valley (Doubleday, 1976), p. 111. In 1862 Banks was in the Shenandoah Valley where he served primarily as a punching bag for Jackson, who defeated him so often that he came to be known as "Commissary" Banks for all the supplies he so obligingly left behind to the hungry Confederates.

[104] The Battle of Cedar Mountain probably witnessed Jackson at his nadir as a tactician. The taciturn Jackson had failed to keep his subordinates informed of his intentions and, as a result, the battle opened with Jackson being outnumber and hard pressed by Banks who compensated for his lack of military experience with blind, head-strong, aggression; and for once it almost paid-off. The battle remained in the balance until the late afternoon when A.P. Hill's Light Division arrived. At that point the advantage swung to the Confederates. Freeman, D.S. Lee's Lieutenants (Scribners, 1943) vol. 2, pp. 44-47. Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), pp. 137-138. Osborne, Charles C. Jubal, The Life and Times of General Jubal A. Early, CSA (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1992), pp. 91-99. Had it not been for the timely arrival and tactical skill of A.P. Hill, Jackson might well have gone down to ignominious defeat. Robertson, James I. Jr. General A.P. Hill (Random House, 1987), pp 103-108. Hassler, William Woods A.P. Hill, Lee's Forgotten General (Chapel Hill 1962) pp. 75-81. Somewhat surprisingly, Jackson himself considered Cedar Mountain to be the "most successful" of his own battles. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), p. 536. Few would agree.

[105] Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 28-29. Indeed, some of his communications almost have a whining quality about them: On August 11th, for instance, Pope wrote to Halleck, "Please make McClellan do something" he moaned "to prevent [Confederate] reinforcements being sent here." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p 560. Halleck reminded Pope that his "main object" should be to keep the enemy "in check" until reinforcements arrived. Ibid. Halleck also assured Pope that he was "doing everything in his power to hasten McClellan's movements." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 565.

[106] The presence of Burnsides in Fredericksburg led Lee to believe that the Army of the Potomac was no longer a threat to Richmond. A few days later an "English deserter" informed his Confederate captors that the Army was being with drawn to the north. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, pp. 551-552. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, pp. 673-674. Dowdy, Clifford Lee (Bonanza, 1955), p. 283.

[107] O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, p. 677. On August 14th Lee advised Smith that he was leaving the divisions of D.H. Hill and R.H. Anderson to screen Richmond, but the very next day he ordered Anderson north to join Longstreet. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 931. Davis' faith and trust in Lee was demonstrated when Lee virtually stripped Richmond of troops: "Confidence in you overcomes the view which would otherwise be taken of the exposed condition of Richmond, and the troops retained for the defense of the capital are surrendered to you …" O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 945.

[108] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, pp. 940-942.

[109] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, pp. 554. Longstreet, James From Manassas to Appomattox (Blue & Grey Press, 1984), p. 66.

[110] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, pp. 546-551. Neither Jackson nor Longstreet yet formally commanded a corps. Jackson commanded three divisions: Taliaferro's Division, A.P. Hill's Light Division, and Ewell's Division. Longstreet's wing consisted of Anderson's Division, Jones' Division, Wilcox's Division, Hood's Division, Kemper's Division, and Evan's independent Brigade. Lee's was a very daring plan, and over the passage of time its audacity has been blunted somewhat by the image of Pope as a bumpkin whose incompetence significantly diluted the risks involved. But Pope's incompetence was not only unknown when Lee made his decision, Pope had actually handled his troops with skill and evaded Lee's snare, and it was not at all clear that Pope, were he to discern that Lee had split his force, would not seize the opportunity presented to destroy Lee's Army in detail. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), pp. 546-547.

[111] Jackson left on August 25th, and his men realized that a grueling march lay before them for, as they fell in, the order was given to unsling knapsack that were left by the side of the road - a sure indication that Jackson intended a hard march. Nevins, Allan The War For The Union: War Becomes Revolution 1862-1862 (Scribners, 1960) p. 175. O.R, Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 54, p. 643. Taliaferro, W. B. "Jackson's Raid Around Pope", B&L, vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 501-502. Taliaferro was a Tidewater politician who had fought in the Mexican war. Like most officers, he had not been impressed with Jackson when they first met. Early in the Valley Campaign, he had "skulked" off to Richmond to lobby against Jackson's orders during the Romney campaign. Tanner, Robert G. Stonewall in the Valley (Doubleday, 1976), pp. 69, 80-84. But by the summer of 1862 Taliaferro had accustomed himself to Jackson's quirky ways and he was used to marching off at all hours, in odd directions, with no clue whatsoever as to where he was going. Taliaferro wrote that Jackson's "orders to his division chiefs were often like this: ‘March to a cross-road; a staff officer there will inform you which fork to take; and so to the next fork, where you will find a courier with a sealed direction pointing out the road.'" Taliaferro, W. B. "Jackson's Raid Around Pope", B&L, vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 501. Taliaferro wrote with ill-disguised pride "No intelligence of Confederate movements ever reached the enemy by any slip of his." Taliaferro, W. B. "Jackson's Raid Around Pope", B&L, vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 501. Unfortunately, many Confederate generals, might have commented that little or no intelligence of Confederate movements ever reached them from Jackson's lips, either. A.P. Hill, who possessed a rather low opinion of Jackson ever since the Seven Days, was particularly annoyed at Jackson's refusal to communicate even basic information. Robertson, James I. Jr. General A.P. Hill (Random House, 1987), pp. 99, 100-102, 108-111.

[112] O.R, Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 54, p. 643. Although Pope wrote a long account of the Battle, he never explained why Throughfare Gap had not been defended. Haupt wrote that he mentioned this to Pope before Jackson's march, but that the latter dismissed the suggestion. Pope, John "The Second Battle of Bull Run", B&L, vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 460-461. Nevins, Allan The War For The Union: War Becomes Revolution 1862-1862 (Scribners, 1960) p. 176.

[113] O.R., Series I, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 670.

[114] Trimble wrote that he received Jackson's order to capture Manassas at about 9:00 p.m., and that the entire operation was conducted at night. Trimble positioned one regiment to the north of the railroad and the other to the south and then they advanced simultaneously. This was rather a dangerous maneuver considering the regiments were moving toward one another in the dark, but Trimble carried it off without a hitch and captured over 300 prisoners. O.R., Series I, vol. 12, pt. 2, pp. 720-721. After capturing Manassas, Trimble posted guards and forbade any looting. The rest of Jackson's Wing, after brushing aside an almost suicidal attack by a New Jersey Brigade, arrived at Manassas the next day was not as restrained: They ignored Trimble's guards and looted the base, and what could not carry away was destroyed The dour Trimble had set off early in the morning toward Centreville and when he returned, he was "mortified" to see that Hill, far from respecting the guards he had placed around Manassas was allowing his men to engage in "indiscriminate" plundering. O.R., Series I, vol. 12, pt. 2, pp. 720-721. Few others were mortified: General Taliaffero wrote: "There was no lack or stint of good cheer, in the way of edibles, from canned meat to caramels." Taliaferro, W. B. "Jackson's Raid Around Pope", B&L, vol. 2, pt. 2, pp. 504-505. There was much in abundance, and the only limitation imposed was that the soldiers could take only that which they could personally transport. Redwood, Allen C. "Jackson's ‘Foot Cavalry' At The Second Bull Run', B&L, vol.2, pt. 2, p. 533. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), p. 557.

[115] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 680. Anther problem exacerbated by Jackson's raid was that it disrupted the already weak communications link between Halleck and Pope. While Pope was having difficulty in locating Jackson, Halleck was having his own problems finding anybody. When McClellan wired Halleck enquiring about the location of the Army of Virginia, Halleck responded, "You ask for information I cannot give. I do not know where General Pope is or where the enemy force is. These are matters which I have all day been most anxious to ascertain." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 646. This was, to say the least, a most odd confession for the commander-in-chief. In addition to Jackson's presence astride his communications, the absence of information in Washington was exacerbated by Halleck's order banning newspaper reporters, who were always an excellent source of information, from the Army of Virginia. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 602. Halleck erroneously believed that a story in the N.Y. Tribune had provided Lee with the information that McClellan was abandoning the Peninsula. Nevins, Allan The War For The Union: War Becomes Revolution 1862-1862 (Scribners, 1960) p. 174, fn. 19. For all his efforts to suppress the press, however, it did no good: Halleck wrote to Pope a few days later complaining that Pope's "staff is decidedly leaky. The substance of my telegrams to you is immediately telegraphed back here to the press … It is useless to attempt any sending of orders if you permit them to be made public as soon as you receive them." O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 12, p. 602. Like Caesar's wife, Pope believed his staff to be above suspicion and blamed the "telegraph men" for the leak. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 608. Lee also had his problems with the Fourth Estate. Following the Seven Days, Lee wrote to Secretary of War Randolph requesting him to use his influence to keep information out of the papers. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, p. 590. On July 7th, however, Lee was incensed to read in the Richmond Daily Dispatch detailed information concerning the positions and movements of Jackson, Longstreet and A.P. Hill. O.R., Series 1, vol. 11, pt. 3, pp. 635-636.

[116] Indeed, Jackson's flank march around Pope had "had been a Napoleonic manoeuvre sur les derrieres as brilliantly executed as any by Napoleon himself." Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), p. 139.

[117] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 644.

[118] O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, p. 704. Pope became fixated on Jackson, and although his initial movements were judicious, he failed to take any serious action to forestall that one eventuality that would undermine his entire operation: He made little attempt to ensure that Longstreet and Jackson did not have an opportunity to reunite. Alexander, Edward P. Military Memoirs of a Confederate (De Capo, 1993), p. 196.

[119] Lincoln, on the eve of the battle of Second Manassas had telegraphed McClellan for news, and McClellan replied, "I am either one of two courses should be adopted. First to concentrate all our available forces to open communication with Pope. Second, to leave Pope to get out of his scrape and at once use all our means to make the capital perfectly safe." Lincoln was obviously concerned about McClellan's suggestion that Pope be left to fend for himself, but replied only that he believed McClellan's first alternative to be the "right one". Sandburg, Carl, Abraham Lincoln The War Years (Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939), vol. 1, p. 531. Privately, Lincoln fumed at McClellan's conduct and attitude, and told his secretary John Hay that it appeared McClellan actually wanted Pope to fail. Nevins, Allan The War For The Union: War Becomes Revolution 1862-1862 (Scribners, 1960) pp. 184-185. Sandburg, Carl, Abraham Lincoln The War Years (Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939), vol. 1, pp. 536-537. While McClellan certainly displayed an inappropriate and all too public degree of schadenfreude over Pope's growing predicament, the fact is that he was still tormented by those same demons he had faced before Richmond a few months before. It was entirely consistent with his character to believe that perhaps more than 100,000 men now stood between Pope and Washington. His first obligation, in his mind, was to ensure the safety of the capital. Sears, Stephen W. George B. McClellan, the Young Napoleon (Ticknor & Fields, 1988), pp. 252-253. Still, despite the fact that he was miles from the front, McClellan's hand was felt near the battlefield. His rather haphazard evacuation of the Peninsula meant that many units were without equipment; some lacked transport; others artillery; some cavalry. Some units that might otherwise have advanced toward Manassas were prevented from doing so because of the absence of transport. O.R., Series 1, vol. 12, pt. 3, pp. 684, 689. Furthermore, two badly needed corps marched toward Manassas to join Pope, but McClellan halted them well before they ever reached the battlefield.

[120] Longstreet had no difficulty brushing aside the few troops in his path. Longstreet, James From Manassas to Appomattox (Blue & Grey Press, 1984), pp. 170-176. Unlike Jackson's forced marches, Longstreet's was "utterly devoid of urgency"; the first day Longstreet covered fourteen miles and only six miles the following day. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), p. 153. Although his detractors after the war gave this as evidence of his general lethargy, the fact is that Lee was with Longstreet and he never objected to the pace, nor did he urge any haste: Jackson had kept them both well informed of his movements and, when Longstreet approached Throughfare Gap, Jackson reported that he was "resting quietly" on the flack of the enemy, between Pope and Washington. Longstreet, James From Manassas to Appomattox (Blue & Grey Press, 1984), pp. 170-173.

[121] Alexander, Edward P. Fighting for the Confederacy, the Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander (Chapel Hill, 1989), pp. 198-199. Jackson's confusion was quite understandable. Pope's movements were anything but coordinated, and Jackson was probably somewhat amazed that the Federals could not find him.

[122] The Battle of Brawner's Farm was a sanguinary mess, made more so by Jackson's decision not to strike with the full weight of his wing. Instead, he attacked with artillery and the Stonewall Brigade – about 800 men. Most of Jackson's wing was simply not readily available for the battle. "For a man who had been anxiously waiting an entire day for an opportunity to strike at Pope, Jackson was surprisingly unprepared to pounce when the chance came." Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 173-174. And Jackson's men would pay dearly for their commander's mistake, for the Federals deploying from column into line were none other than the Iron Brigade. Although outnumbered most of the day, the federals out-performed their Confederate opponents. After some two hours of combat in which neither side gained a decisive advantage, the Iron Brigade withdrew in good order and Jackson did not even attempt a pursuit. Federal casualties were about 1,100 of 2,800 men engaged. Southern casualties were higher: 1,200 of 4,500 engaged. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), p. 562. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 168-193. Nolan, Alan T. The Iron Brigade (MacMillan, 1961), pp. 80-98. Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), p. 139. In other words, despite having the element of surprise and an almost two to one advantage in numbers engaged, Jackson managed to incur greater losses. Furthermore, Brawner's Farm had been especially hard on Confederate commanders, including Taliaferro, who would be out for several weeks, and Richard Ewell, who lost a leg and would not return to the army until mid-1863. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), pp. 562-563.

[123] Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), pp. 139-140. Initially, General Sigel conducted the battle as Pope had not yet arrived. In what was becoming a dangerous, but all too common occurrence, the Union attack was marred by personality clashes. Union General Phil Kearney, who had lost an arm fighting for the French against Austria at the Battle of Solforino, despised Siegel. It seems that Sigel had published a private letter Kearney had written which impugned the fighting qualities of the German-American troops. Kearney never forgave him, and refused to obey Sigel's orders to attack. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 221-223.

[124] Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2000), p. 140.

[125] The reasons given for Lee's failure to "destroy" the Army of Virginia are varied, but most are based on the theme that Longstreet dawdled too long, and attacked too late in the day – indeed, some speculate he should have attacked the previous day. Freeman, D.S. Lee's Lieutenants (Scribners, 1943) vol. 2, p. 137-138. This criticism of Longstreet is, however, based in fiction. His reasons for not attacking earlier were sound, and Lee, although understandably impatient to begin the assault, agreed with him. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 459-461. Wert, Jeffrey D. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 177-178. Jackson has also been criticized for delaying his pursuit almost two hours after Longstreet launched his attack despite receiving orders from Lee to advance. Ibid. Robertson, James I. Jr. Stonewall Jackson (MacMillian, 1997), p. 574. Pope found fault with everyone but himself: He complained to Halleck about Fitz-John Porter, while to Porter, he blamed Halleck. Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 446-448. In fact, Pope was far more responsible for his defeat than any f his subordinates or McClelan. Indeed, his mistakes were legion: He failed in the first instance to defend Throughfare Gap, and after Jackson slipped through Pope still made no effort to block it and prevent Longstreet from joining him. He failed to coordinate his assaults on Jackson, he failed to heed numerous warnings from Porter and others that his left flank was in danger. However, lost in all these baseless accusations and implications is the reality that the Napoleonic triumphs Lee and others tried to emulate were almost unattainable in the Civil War. Epstein, Robert Napoleon's Last Victory and the Emergence of Modern War (University Press of Kansas, 1994), pp. 179-180. Thus, in the late Napoleonic period, and in the Civil War, even a relatively small, organized body (division or brigade) could halt or disrupt the attack of a much larger number of troops. Never was this better illustrated than at Second Manassas where Longstreet's wing effectively crested on Chinn ridge . Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 416-422.

[126] As Pope's defeated and demoralized troops retreated, they were heckled and derided by McClellan's veterans. A soldier of the 21st Massachusetts wrote "some of the more frank among them in pane English expressed their delight at the defeat of Pope and his army." Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run (Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 437-438. Apparently, the jealousy and petty infighting in the federal army was not limited to the general officers.

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Copyright © 2002 Kevin S. Lacey

Written by Kevin S. Lacey.
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