previous next

[244] would bring victory with them. But the President was extremely ill advised; from those armies, which numbered among their generals a Grant, a Sherman, a MacPherson, a Sheridan, he selected Halleck and Pope for the supreme command.

General Pope inaugurated his assumption of the command by a general order, in which he expressed his personal views regarding strategy in language which was offensive not only to his predecessors, but to the soldiers whom he addressed. ‘I desire,’ he said, ‘that you will dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find much in vogue among you. I constantly hear of strong positions to be captured and occupied, of lines of retreat and bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas.’ Pope himself proclaimed that it was no longer his task to cover Washington while the army of the Potomac was making an offensive campaign against Richmond. He would adopt the plan of campaign favored by Mr. Lincoln in opposition to that of landing on the peninsula of Virginia, and by following the land route he expected to enter Richmond before General McClellan, to show the latter how much he had been mistaken in advancing by way of Yorktown and Williamsburg. The Federal troops destined to operate against the Confederate capital were, therefore, divided into two armies, one numbering ninety, the other fifty thousand men, unable to form a junction, and separated from each other by all the enemy's forces. Such a dangerous situation could not be allowed to continue. Halleck was well convinced of this; but instead of falling back upon McClellan's plan of assuming a strictly defensive attitude, and of bringing back the troops charged with the defence of Washington to the banks of the Potomac, in order to render the reinforced army of the Potomac perfectly free in its movements, he added his own persuasions to the representations of those who were already asking the President to sacrifice the conquered positions near Richmond to the plan of campaign which the new general contemplated carrying into effect. The committee appointed by Congress to report on the conduct of the war, not satisfied with exercising exclusive judgment over accomplished facts, was always interfering with the management of military affairs. Pope contrived to humor their prejudices by attacking McClellan, and to flatter their vanity by submitting for

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (1)
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Pope (4)
McClellan (3)
Halleck (2)
Lincoln (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: