previous next

Movements of the War.

The latest Northern papers furnish some information of interest, which is give below. We learn that our Commissaries in Maryland purchased meat at fifteen cents the pound, paying for it in Confederate money. The Baltimore American says the reason the Union men left Frederick and the vicinity so rapidly, was that they ‘"expected no mercy from Bradley Johnson."’ The same paper says that the only hope of the Federal now is in McClellan, and hopes ‘"he will prove equal to the emergency:"’

The official report of Pope — his Excuses for his defeat.

As a prominent feature in the history of this war, we give Pope's official report of the battles of Manassas. It is pregnant with lies:

Headq'rs Army of Virginia, September 3, 1862.
General: I have the honor to submit the following brief sketch of the operations of this army since the 9th of August:

I moved from Sperryville, Little Washington, and Warrenton, with the corps of Banks and Siegel, and one division of McDowell's corps, numbering in all thirty-two thousand men, to meet the enemy, who had crossed the Rapidan, and was advancing on Culpeper. The movement toward Gordonsville had completely succeeded in drawing off a large force from Richmond, and in relieving the Army of the Potomac from much of the danger which threatened its withdrawal from the Peninsula.

The action of August 9, at Cedar Mountain, with the forces under Jackson, which compelled his retreat across the Rapidan made necessary still further reinforcements of the enemy from Richmond, and by this time, it being apparent that the Army of the Potomac was ating the Pen the whole force of the enemy concentrated around Richmond was pushed forward with great rapidity to crush the Army of Virginia before the forces evacuating the Peninsula could be united with it. I remained at Cedar Mountain, and still threatened to cross the Rapidan, until the 17th of August, by which time General Robert Lee had assembled in my front, and within eight miles, nearly the whole rebel army. As soon as I ascertained this fact, and knew that the Army of the Potomac was no longer in danger, I drew back my whole force across the Rappahannock, on the night of the 17th and day of the 18th, without loss of any kind, and one day in advance of Lee's proposed movement against me. The enemy immediately appeared in my front at Rappahannock Station, and attempted to pass the river at that bridge and the numerous fords above and below, but without success.

The line of the upper Rappahannock, which I had been ordered to hold till the enemy might be delayed long enough in his advance upon Washington to enable the forces from the Peninsula to land and effect a junction with me, was very weak, as it could be crossed at almost any point above the railroad bridge by good fords.

By constant vigilance and activity, and much severe fighting for three days, the enemy was gradually forced around from the railroad crossing to Waterloo Bridge, west of Warrenton. Meantime my force had been much diminished by actual loss in battle, and by fatigue and exposure — so that, although I had been joined by a detachment under General Reno, and the other division of McDowell's corps, my force barely numbered forty thousand men.

On the — a heavy rain fell, which rendered the fords impassable for twenty four hours. As soon as I discovered this, I concentrated my forces, and marched rapidly upon Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge to drive back the enemy, which had succeeded in crossing at these points. This was successfully done, and the bridges destroyed.

I passed one day — or, rather, part of one--Warrenton and beyond. The enemy still continued to move slowly around along the river, masking every ford with artillery and heavy forces of infantry, so that it was impossible for me to attack him, even with the greatly inferior forces under my command, without passing the river over fords strongly guarded, in the face of superior numbers.

The movement of Jackson toward White Plains, and in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap, while the main body of the enemy confronted me at Sulphur Springs and Waterloo Bridge, was well known to me, but I relied confidently upon the forces which I had been assured would be sent from Alexandria, and one stray division of which I had ordered to take post on the works at Manassas Junction. I was entirely under the belief that these would be there, and it was not until I found my communication intercepted that I was undeceived. I knew that this was no raid, and that it was made by not less than twenty-five thousand men, under Jackson. By this time the army corps of Heintzelman, about 10,000 strong, had reached Warrenton Junction; one division of it, I think, on the very day of the Reid; but they came without artillery, with only forty rounds of ammunition to the man, without wagons, and even the field and general officers without horses. Fitz John Porter also arrived at Bristow Station, near Rappahannock, with one of his divisions, 4,000 strong, while his other division was still at Barnett's and Kelly's Ford. I directed that corps, about 8,500 strong, to concentrate immediately at Warrenton Junction, where Heintzelman already was. This was accomplished on the evening of the — th. As soon as it became known to me that Jackson was on the railroad, it became apparent that the upper Rappahannock was no longer tenable. I could not detach a sufficient force to meet Jackson, and at the same time attempt to confront the main body of the enemy. I accordingly at once evacuated Warrenton and Warrenton Junction, directing McDowell, with his own corps and Siegel's, and the division of Reynolds, to march rapidly by the turnpike upon Gainesville, so as to intercept any reinforcements coming to Jackson through Thorough fare Gap; and instructing Reno, with his command, and Kearney, with one division of Heintzelman's, to march on Greenwich, so as to support McDowell in case of necessity. I moved back along the railroad upon Manassas Junction. Near Kettle Run, Hooker came upon the advance of Ewell's division on the afternoon of the 27th. A severe action took place, which terminated at dark, Ewell being driven from the field with the loss of his camp and 300 killed and wounded. The unfortunate oversight of not bringing more than forty rounds of ammunition became at once alarming. At nightfall Hooker had but about five rounds to the man left. As soon as I learned this I sent back orders to Fitz John Porter to march with his corps at 1 o'clock that night, so as to be with Hooker at daylight in the morning. The distance was only nine miles, and he received the dispatch at 9:50 o'clock, but did not reach the ground until after 10 o'clock next morning. He can probably explain better than I can the reason of this delay.

Fortunately Hooker had handled the army so severely the evening before, and the movement of McDowell had begun to be so apparent, that the enemy, fearful of being surrounded, had retreated precipitately from Manassas Junction, directing his retreat through Centreville, as McDowell, Reno, and Kearney, had made the road through Gainesville impracticable. I immediately pushed forward to Manassas, and thence to Centreville, which was occupied by Kearney that night only a few hours after the enemy had left it. Reno had reached Manassas Junction, and Fitz John Porter was immediately ordered up from Broad Run, where he had stopped. McDowell's movement, conducted with vigor and speed, had been completely successful, the enemy being intercepted at Gainesville, and part of his forces driven back through Thoroughfare Gap. Late in the evening of the--, McDowell's advance (Gibbon's brigade.) met the force of Jackson retiring from Centreville, and about six miles from that place. A very sharp skirmish took place, ended by the darkness, in which the brigade of Gibbon behaved very handsomely, and suffered heavy loss.

Siegel was close at hand with his corps, but did not join the action. I instructed Kearney to move forward at early day-dawn towards Gainesville. closely followed by Hooker and Reno, and engage the enemy thus placed between McDowell and Siegel on the West, and Fitz John Porter on the South. I also instructed Fitz John Porter, with his own corps, and King's division of McDowell's corps, which had for some reason fallen back from the Warrenton turnpike towards Manassas Junction, to move at daylight in the morning upon Gainesville, along the Manassas Gap Railroad, until they communicated closely with the forces under Heintzelman and Siegel, cautioning them not to go further than was necessary to effect this junction, as we might be obliged to retreat behind Hull Run that night for subsistence, if nothing else.

Heintzelman marched early from Centreville towards Gainesville, closely followed by Reno. --Meantime, shortly after daylight, Siegel's and Reynolds's division, of McDowell's corps, had become engaged with the enemy, who was brought to a stand, and he was soon joined by Heintzelman and Reno, when the whole line became actively engaged.

Porter marched as directed, followed by King's division, which was by this time joined by Ricketts's division, which had been forced back from Thoroughfare Gap by the heavy forces of the enemy advancing to support Jackson.

As soon as I found that the enemy had been brought to a halt, and was being vigorously attacked along the Warrenton turnpike, I sent orders to McDowell to advance rapidly on the left, and attack the enemy in his flank, extending his right to meet Reynolds's left, and to Fitz John Porter to keep his right well closed on McDowell's left, and to attack the enemy in flank and rear, while he was pushed in front. This would have made the line of McDowell and Porter at right angles to that of the other forces engaged.

The action raged furiously all day, McDowell, although previously in rear of Porter, bringing his whole corps on the field in the afternoon, and taking a conspicuous part in that day's operations to my surprise and disappointment I received late in the afternoon from Porter a note, saying that his advance had met the enemy on the flank in some force, and that he was retiring upon Manassas Junction without engaging or coming to the assistance of our other forces, although they were engaged in a furious action only two miles distant, and in full bearing of A portion of his force fell back at the enemy during the whole of the afternoon of Friday and part of Friday night, passing over in plain view to reinforce the troops under Jackson, without an effort to prevent it or assist us. One, at least, of his brigades, under General Griffie, go round to Centreville, and remained there during the whole of the next day's battle without coming on the field, though in full view of the battle which was raging, while Gen. Griffin himself spent the day in making ill natured strictures upon the General commanding the action, in the presence of a promiscuous assemblage.

Darkness closed the action on Friday, the enemy bring driven back from his positions by Heintzelman's corps and Reno, concluded by a furious attack along the turnpike by King's division of McDowell's corps, leaving his dead and wounded on the field.

I do not hesitate to say, that if the corps of Porter had attacked the enemy in flank on the afternoon of Friday, as he had my written orders to do, we should utterly have crushed Jackson before the forces under Lee could have reached him. Why he did not do so I cannot understand.

Our men, much worn down by hard service and continuous fighting for many previous days, and very short of provisions, rested on their guns. Our horses had no forage for two days. I had telegraphed and written urgently for rations and forage to be sent us; but, on Saturday morning, before the action was resumed, I received a letter from Gen. Franklin, written the day before at Alexandria, stating that he had been directed by Gen. McClellan to inform me that rations and forage for my command would be loaded into the cars and available wagons as soon as I would send a cavalry escort to Alexandria to bring them up.--All hope of being able to maintain my position, whether victorious or not, vanished with this letter. My cavalry was utterly broken down by long and constant service in the face of the enemy, and, bad as they were, could not be spared from the front, even if there had been time, to go back 30 miles to Alexandria and await the loading of trains. At the time this letter was written, Alexandria was swarming with troops and my whole army interposed between that place and the enemy. I at once understood that we must, it possible, finish what we had to do that day, as night must see us behind Bull Run, if we wished to save men and animals from starvation.

On Friday night I sent a peremptory order to Gen. Porter to bring his command on the field, and report to me in person within three hours after he received the order. A portion he brought up, but, as I before stated, one of his brigades remained the whole day at Centreville, and was not in the engagement. The enemy's heavy reinforcements having reached him on Friday afternoon and night, he began to mass on his right for the purpose of crushing our left and occupying the road to Centreville in our rear. His heaviest assault was made about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when, after overwhelming Fitz John Porter, and driving his forces back on the centre and left, mass after mass of his force were pushed against our left. A terrific contest, with great slaughter, was carried on for several hours, our men behaving with firmness and gallantry, under the immediate command of Gen. McDowell. When night closed, our left had been forced back about half a mile, but still remained firm and unshaken, while our right held its ground.

Gen. Franklin, with his corps, arrived after dark at Centreville, six miles in our rear, whilst Sumner was four miles behind Franklin. I could have brought up these corps in the morning in time to have renewed the action, but starvation stared both men and horses in the face, and, broken and exhausted as they were, they were in no condition to bear hunger; also, I accordingly retired to Centreville that night in perfect order. Neither on Sunday nor on Monday did the enemy make any advance upon us. On Monday I sent to the army corps commanders for their effective strength, which, all told, including Sumner and Franklin, fell short of sixty thousand men. Instead of bringing up thirty thousand men, Franklin and Sumner united fell short of twenty thousand, and these, added to the force I had, already wearied out, and much cut up, did not give me the means to do anything else than stand on the defence.

The enemy during Monday again began to work slowly around to our right, for the purpose of possessing Fairfax Court-House, and thus turning our rear.

Couch's division and one brigade of Sumner's had been left there, and I sent down Hooker on Monday afternoon to take command, and post himself at or in front of Germantown, at the same time directing McDowell to take position along the turnpike from Centreville to Fairfax Court- House, about two miles west of the latter place.

Heintzelman was directed to post himself in rear and support Reno, who was pushed north of the road, at a point about two and a half miles cast of Centreville, and to cover that road, it being my purpose, in the course of the night, to mass my command on the right, in the direction of Germantown, where I felt convinced the next attack of the enemy would be made.

Late in the afternoon of Monday the enemy made his demonstration upon Germantown, but was met by Hooker at that place, and by Reno, reinforced by Kearney, further west. The battle was very severe, though short, the enemy being driven back a mile with heavy loss, leaving his dead and wounded. In this short action we lost two of our most valuable and distinguished officers, Generals Kearney and Stevens.

By moving the whole of my command was massed behind a difficult creek, between Flint Hill and the Warrenton Junction, with the advance, under Hooker, in front of Germantown.

With the exception of Sumner, the commanders of the army corps of the Army of the Potomac had continued to inform me that their commands were and had been demoralized ever since they left Harrison's Landing; that they had no spirit and no disposition to fight. This latter statement their conduct in the various actions fully contradicted; but the straggling in those corps was distressing.

The full facts having been reported, * * on Tuesday afternoon to retire to the entrenchments near Washington, which was accordingly done on that day and the next, in good order, and without the slightest loss.

Banks, who had been left with the railroad trains, cut off at Bristol by the burning of the bridge, was ordered to join me on Monday at Centreville, which he did on the afternoon of that day.

This brief summary will explain sufficiently in detail the whole of the operations of the forces under my command during sixteen days of continuous fighting by day and marching by night.

To confront a powerful enemy with greatly inferior forces, and fight him day by day, without losing your army; to delay and embarrass his movements, and force him, by persistent resistance, to adopt long and circuitous routes, to his destination, are the duties which have been imposed upon me. They are, of all military operations, the most difficult and the most harassing, both to the commander and to his troops. How far we have been successful. I leave to the judgment of my countrymen. The armies of Virginia and of the Potomac have been united in the presence and against the efforts of a wary and vigorous enemy in greatly superior force to either, with no loss for which they did not exact full retribution.

Among the officers whom I feel bound to mention with especial gratitude for their most hearty, cordial, and untiring zeal and energy, are Gens. McDowell, Banks, Reno, Heintzelman, Hooker, and Kearney, and many others of inferior rank, whom I shall take great pleasure in bringing to the notice of the Government.

The trrops have exhibited wonderful patience and courage, and I cannot say too much for them.

John Pope, Major-General U. S. A.

The important position of Gen. M'Clellan--the Cabinet to be broken up.

The New York Herald, in an article on the new position of Gen. McClellan as Commander in Chief of the Federal army, lays down a programme for him which is not likely to suit ‘"Old Abe."’ It says:

General McClellan has been restored to the position he ought to hold at the head of the army by the force of circumstances, which redound to his credit and to the disgrace and discomfiture of his enemies. The universal satisfaction with which his reappointment has been received, by the country, and the joy and confidence which it has inspired among the troops, are the best proofs of the prudence which dictated the change. It is curt us to note through what disasters and difficulties this measure was brought about. It was only by the utter failure of the other Generals, and the imperative demands of the officers and of the rank and file of the army, almost in a state of mutiny, that Gen. McClellan was, at the eleventh hour, restored to the position of which he had been deprived by the intrigues of a rampant faction of addle brained fanatics. Had even moderate success attended the operations of the army under other military leaders, Gen. McClellan would have remained under a cloud, and justice would not have been done to his talents as a soldier till after the war was over. Even as it was it required all the determination and moral courage of the President to re-establish him in the supreme command. He now occupies a far higher position than he ever did before — the highest that any General ever held. The destiny of the country is in his hands, and in the most critical and the darkest hour of its peril the Republic looks to him for its salvation.

It is said that the Cabinet is now a unit in his regard, and that the radical element in it, which was hostile, is reconciled to him, and that its opposition has ceased. Such appearances are not less deceitful than the treacherous calm of the ocean before the coming storm. It is not in political nature, it is not in American nature, it is not in human nature, that the peaceful aspect which the intriguers have put on should be of long continuance. The same influences which last winter defeated his plan of the campaign, by stopping enlistments, by dividing his army and giving portions of his command to political Generals, by withholding the reinforcements he needed for success, and by preventing the junction of McDowell's army with the Army of the Potomac at the proper --the which brought about these results, with all the disasters which have followed in their train, will soon be again at work, and taking advantage of McClellan's absence in the field, they will cause a fire to be opened in his rear. The political vultures still hover over WashingtonWilson, Fessenden, and the, rest are there, waiting for their opportunity to give him a stab in the back, like stealthy Indians, and then raise their him once

those circumstances, what is the duty of General McClellan His position is like the of Wellington in the Spanish peninsula, when he was interfered with by the British Cabinet and it is a duty which he owes to the country, than to himself, to follow the example of that illustrious and patriotic General. When ‘"the Duke" ’ found that the administration were on his destruction and the defeat of the army which he was leading, he firmly took his stand and that the cabal should be broken up. His country was in danger, and he was in a position to terms. His remonstrances had the desired offer--the meddling Cabinet was overthrown--and then rearward victory crowned the British arms. Now this in the ground which McClellan ought to take in reference to that portion of the Administration at Washington which is responsible for the present condition of things. He ought to insist upon modification and reconstruction of the Cabinet, in order to have it purged of the radical taint which may again infuse its poison over the whole.

The work for the hour.

The following, from the editorial column of Thursday's Philadelphia Inquirer, will give our readers a feint idea of the terror which has seized upon the pious people of the ‘"City of Brotherly Love."’ We hear no more of ‘"on to Richmond:"’

We have never been alarmists, yet we have considered it false policy to disguise the truth, however unpalatable, and, after the destruction of our recent buoyant hopes, we feel that it will not do to shut our eyes to contingencies possible, it not probable. We are told that the rebels design penetrating into Pennsylvania; we know that Harrisburg is of little importance to them beyond the power which its possession affords them, of breaking up railroad connections; and we know that Philadelphia is an object of intense desire to them, both on account of the immense stores which they would secure here, the damage which they could inflict upon us, and the prestige which its occupation would give to their desperate cause. If we are wise men therefore, it behooves us to sudden dash or an advance in force, and we are constrained to confess, after full consideration, that we are lamentably deficient in the elements of self-protection.

One of the first things that should claim attention is the erection of more suitable defences at the proper points, to cover the approaches to the city.

The question of expense should not be allowed to enter for a moment into the calculations of a crisis like this. If executed in conjunction with the Government, the outlay would no doubt be reimbursed to us; but even without this, and without considering the enormous interests at stake, we may rest assured that the damage to our trade during the next few weeks, even without a formidable demonstration on the part of the rebels, will, if we supinely wait an attack, vastly overrun the few thousands which it will cost to put our approaches into a reasonable condition of defence.--We therefore trust that the day will not be allowed to pass without taking such preliminary steps as may assure our citizens that those who have charge of our interests are alive to the dangers which threaten us, and are active in their efforts to avert them.

Fremont Squelched.

Bennett's Herald, of Thursday, has the following paragraph.

‘ The Jacobin Club, called the National War Committee, have held another secret meeting on the affairs of the nation. It appears that a correspondence between Mr. Opdyke and General Fremont, in regard to the 50,000 men to be raised for the latter's command, was read. Gen. Fremont assents to the acceptance of the command, but further proceedings show that Mr. Stanton understands the matter, and puts a quietus on the affair. In answer to resolutions previously passed, asking the consent of the War Department to raise these 50,000 men, the Secretary stated that the raising of volunteers had been assigned to the Governor of the State, and that no military officer of high rank could be authorized to organize military organizations.

News from the Lower Potomac — Depot and cars at Aquia Creek burned.

The Washington Chronicle says:

‘ A gentleman who came up the Potomac last evening informs us that the depot buildings and a number of cars at Aquia creek were burned by the crews of our gunboats yesterday. There are several gunboats lying together at this point doing nothing, while at Mathias's Point, Smith's creek, and other places, regular ferries exist for getting Secessionists into the ‘ "Southern Confederacy,"’ and for smuggling goods across. ’

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 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.
McDowell (20)
Fitz John Porter (13)
Reno (11)
John W. Jackson (10)
McClellan (9)
Hooker (9)
Heintzelman (9)
Kearney (7)
Siegel (6)
Sumner (5)
Franklin (4)
Reynolds (3)
John Pope (3)
Robert Lee (3)
John King (3)
Banks (3)
Gibbon (2)
Fremont (2)
Ewell (2)
James H. Wilson (1)
Stevens (1)
Stanton (1)
William Smith (1)
Ricketts (1)
Opdyke (1)
M'Clellan (1)
Bradley Johnson (1)
North American Indians (1)
Griffin (1)
Griffie (1)
Fessenden (1)
B. T. W. Duke (1)
Couch (1)
Bennett (1)
Barnett (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.
September, 8 AD (2)
September 3rd, 1862 AD (1)
August 17th (1)
18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: