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William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, I. The Army of the Potomac in history. (search)
n warfare, that an army operating over a large tract of country must pivot either on a railroad or a river, it appears that from Washington as a base, a force advancing against Richmond by the overland route, and having at the same time to cover Washington, is restricted to two lines of manoeuvre: 1. The line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad; 2. The line of the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad. Each of these lines was repeatedly essayed during the Virginia campaigns— the former by Pope and Meade; the latter by Burnside and Hooker. Touching the merits of these lines, experience confirmed what theory would have postulated: that the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, though an eminently defensive line as regards Washington, is hardly aggressive; and beyond the Rapidan involves so many complex considerations that no commander was ever able, on this line, to push an advance south of that river. The Fredericksburg route is an aggressive line as regards Richmond, though
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, V. Pope's campaign in Northern Virginia. August, 1862. (search)
Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. i., p. 25. V. Exit Pope. At Centreville, Pope united with the corps of Franklin and SPope united with the corps of Franklin and Sumner, and he remained there during the whole of the 31st. But Lee had not yet given up the pursuit. Leaving Longstreet on the battle-field, he sent Jackson by a detour on Pope's right, to strike the Little River turnpike, and by that route to Fairfax Courthouse, to intercept, if possible, Pope's retreat to Washington. Jackson's march was much retarded by a heavy storm that commenced the day before and still continued. Pope, meantime, fell back to positions covering Fairfax Courthouse and Germantown; and on the evening of the 1st of September, Jackson struckands had straggled from their commands during the retreat. As for Pope, it is hardly possible to feel for him less than pity, in spite of ts. He had the misfortune to be of all men the most disbelieved. General Pope took the first opportunity on his return to Washington to vacate
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 6 (search)
plest act in that complex interplay of cause and effect we name war? A secondary operation, having in view merely to hold Pope in check, had effected not only its primal aim, but the infinitely more important result of dislodging the Army of the Potall care touching Richmond, Lee was free to assume a real offensive for the purpose not merely of checking but of crushing Pope. The success of the campaign had been remarkable. From the front of Richmond the theatre of operations had been transferhe rags, and the shocking filth of the army of liberation. In the dark hour when the shattered battalions that survived Pope's campaign returned to Washington, General Mc-Clellan, at the request of the President, resumed command of the Army of theountry. This, indeed, was practically done, when, on the return from the Peninsula, his troops were sent forward to join Pope; but the disastrous termination of that campaign prompted the recall of McClellan as the only man who could make the army
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 9 (search)
as accomplished, when Lee, continuing the conception of Johnston, seized the initiative and hurled the Union army back to the James River. And it was in following out the same line of action that he was able, by threatening the flanks and rear of Pope, to drive back that general to the fortifications of Washington, and transfer the theatre of war to the trans-Potomac region. It seemed that an opportunity for a new and bolder offensive than had yet been attempted now presented itself. Twice ards Culpepper and to guarding the line of the Rappahannock, with the view to prevent a crossing of that stream by the enemy, —who, it was supposed, would follow the same line of manoeuvre adopted in the advance during the preceding summer against Pope,—Lee had taken another leap in advance, and thrust forward his left into the Shenandoah Valley. Leaving Hill's corps still in the position at Fredericksburg, and Longstreet's corps at Culpepper, Ewell's corps was, on the 10th, put in motion westw
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 10 (search)
by his cavalry, and in each case learned the enemy's position only when it had already become too late to act upon it. The line of manoeuvre adopted by General Lee in this campaign was the same as that used by him in the previous summer against Pope's army. But the result was very different: and this arose from two causes. Lee had now neither a lieutenant capable of making such a flank march as that of Jackson on Manassas, nor such an opponent as Pope; for, if Meade's action was not brilliaPope; for, if Meade's action was not brilliant, he at least did not lose his head. As a whole, the campaign added no laurels to either army; yet it was none the less attended with much toil and suffering—sleepless nights and severe marches and manifold trying exposures. But this is a part of the history of the army, of which those who did not bear the heat and burden of the day can never know much. Iii. Mine Run. Judging from the experience of such military operations as had been attempted during previous years at the season now re
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 11 (search)
vering force, there was one question that could not fail to present itself to General Grant, and it is one of a higher order than any mere point of grand tactics. It has relation to the choice of a line of operation against Richmond as between that of the overland route and a transfer of the army to the Peninsula, or the south side of the James River. The former of these methods had been repeatedly essayed during the past three years—by Burnside and Hooker on the Fredericksburg route; by Pope and Meade by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. Uniform ill-success had attended each attempted advance, and the many repulses the Army of the Potomac had met on that line had marked it with a bloody condemnation. I speak here of the opinion of the army; for what is called public opinion was much divided. The fact, however, that the views of those at home were mainly influenced by extrinsic and political considerations (the supporters of McClellan condemning and his opponents favoring t
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, Index. (search)
s charge at Gaines' Mill, 152; detached towards Pope, 173; battle of Cedar Mountain, and retreat to uation of the Peninsula, 174; on advance on General Pope, 175; unwonted rashness in front of Pope-Lo Jackson at Manassas, 184; abandoned pursuit of Pope, and turned to north of the Potomac, 193; deters retreat from, 181; the second battle of, 182; Pope's position at, 181; useless attacks on Confederay's battle, 186; positions of second day, 188; Pope and Lee's intended attack on each other's left mies of, 122; Pope's campaign (for further, see Pope), 167. Officers, inefficiency of, property hlroad-line of advance towards Richmond, 22; General Pope's position on—his force, 172. Organizatile, 310. Po, the river—see Spottsylvania. Pope, campaign in Northern Virginia, 167; placed in Catlett's Station, Stuart's capture of campand Pope's papers, 177; his right turned by Jackson, 177ng force, 92; fears for safety of—foment by General Pope, 170; Early's opportunity of entering, 527;[8 more...