This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 and occupied the point where the road crosses Hazel River. All the forces at Pope's disposal—that is to say, about twenty-eight thousand men — were thus placed en echelon on the road from Culpepper to Sperryville on the morning of the 8th of August. It was rather a venturesome position for this small army; it was away from its depots, established at Manassas, and could only obtain the supplies it needed by the single track of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. This line, often destroyed and imperfectly repaired, was altogether insufficient, and General Pope had increased the difficulties in the way of forwarding provisions, by brutally discharging a special agent, Mr. H. Haupt, an upright and intelligent man, who was the first to introduce order and regularity into this service. Consequently, there frequently occurred embarrassments and blocks, to use the technical American term, which came near causing an actual famine in the camps. The task of organizing railroad transportation, of which we shall speak in detail hereafter, had, in fact, become one of the most serious questions of the war, and one of the most important branches of the military administration. Consequently, at the end of eight or ten days, Pope was obliged to give back the direction to Mr. Haupt, who was the only man at the time capable of exercising it. But he persisted in his determination to free himself from the embarrassments to which the necessity of procuring his supplies from such a distance subjected him. He desired to subsist his soldiers, as much as possible, upon the country they occupied, forgetting that this system, universally practiced in our wars, could not be applied to large armies in a country so thinly peopled as Virginia, except by passing rapidly through without stopping. Moreover, the commissary department was not yet accustomed to procure and collect at a given point the few resources which even the poorest region possesses. The orders, therefore, issued to this effect were of little avail; they caused a great deal of trouble in the commissariat, and were made the occasion or pretext for much pillage and many disorders, which had the double effect of ruining the country through which the army was passing, and of striking a serious blow at discipline in its ranks. Having once adopted this course, Pope further aggravated the sufferings of the country he occupied by resorting to
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.