previous next

[293] therefore, he could not cut the enemy's army in two and secure its defeat—it is equally certain that a vigorous attack made by him upon Longstreet's right would have drawn out all the forces of this general, and by freeing the rest of the Union line would probably have prevented the reverse which the latter sustained at the close of the day. We cannot avoid, therefore, blaming his inaction at such a time and under such circumstances.1 This indifference on the part of Porter to the cannon's appeal, the manner in which he interpreted the orders of superiors, and the tardiness with which these orders reached him, were the inevitable consequences of the confusion we have already referred to in the general management of the army.

In summary, the operations of the 29th, in which Pope had gained nothing, had cost him very dear. He had been unable to prevent the junction of his adversaries on the ground they had chosen; he had allowed the opportunity for crushing them separately to escape; and his army, destitute of provisions, would be compelled to beat a retreat the next day. Consequently, in so far as results were concerned, it was a defeat, although in the contest itself the troops had rather gained than lost ground.

Whilst the Federals were wasting their strength against an enemy well posted, and always ready to concentrate his troops upon the point menaced, trouble and anxiety were on the increase in Washington. Franklin was on the march, but no one had taken the responsibility of deciding how far he should go. Sumner had landed at Alexandria, but had been sent thence in an opposite direction to cover the passes of the Potomac above Washington. McClellan was asking in vain for a frank decision whether he should go to Pope's relief with all the forces that were available, or concentrate these forces around the capital and let the army of Virginia get out of the trouble as best it could; the President referred him to Halleck, who adopted neither of these propositions. Franklin, having no means of transportation nor a single mounted man, stopped at Annandale on the 29th, between Alexandria and Fairfax. Detachments of the enemy's cavalry prevented the railroad from being used for the purpose of revictualling Pope's army, which from that day found itself

1 See Appendix to this volume, Note D.

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.
Annandale (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

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 (3)
Franklin (2)
Sumner (1)
Fitzjohn Porter (1)
McClellan (1)
Longstreet (1)
Halleck (1)
Fairfax (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: