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tv   The Civil War Union General John Pope  CSPAN  November 10, 2021 5:55pm-6:55pm EST

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role in the battle, his role in the historiography, and his role in the preservation, and as i said at the outset, i think it's important to understand all of the phases of dan sickles' career, love him or not, hate him or not, love to hate him or hate to love him. with that i think we're almost out of time. see you in the queue at the back of the room. thank you. download c-span's new mobile up and stay up-to-date with political events from live streems a at the house and senate floor and key congressional hearings to white house events and supreme court oral arguments. even our live warning program washington journal where we hear your voices every day. c-span now has you covered. download the app for free today. hey, everybody. my name is john tracy. i'm one of the newest members. due in no small part to the
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recruitment efforts of the person i'm introducing today. i'm here to talk about dan welsh, who is a very long-time seasonal ranger at gettis berg national military park. where i had the pleasure of meeting and working with him for a couple of years. also the co-author of "last road north" on the gettysburg campaign, co-author of an immediately coming out book on ohio and antietam and also the co-editor of a new series coming out. and so with no too much else to say, i want to introduce dan welch who is here to talk about the man we love to hate, john pope. here is dan welch, the man with too many laughs and not enough free time. [ applause ] >> well, good evening, everyone. one of the things i've not shared with a lot of you is my absolute love of the southern
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rock band lynyrd skynyrd. [ applause ] i've been very fortunate over the last several years to meet some of the plane crash survivors. i've visited all the graves of those that perished in october 1977. i've heard some wonderful stories from some of their former managers and crew. and one of the stories i heard was, as lynyrd skynyrd was getting very popular as the '70s were wearing on and their fame was rising, a lot of the acts they opened for would talk to their manager and say, don't let them close with freeburg, we can't top that. this would be from bands like peter frampton and the rolling stones. now i know exactly the situation
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they were in, trying to follow gary gallagher. in all honesty, i would to thank my colleagues, jon, eric, all the members of for their tireless work that goes into this symposium. it's an honor to have this camaraderie and to talk about this defining moment in american history. even more of a special occasion for me this evening. for me, my heroes didn't wear capes. it was the documentaries i got to watch with those talking heads. the opportunity to talk about an interesting person like john pope tonight in the room of such notaries is a true honor. so thank you. so where do we begin this evening? we're going to begin with perhaps one of the most famous moments in john pope's career. and i ask you to bear with me as i read through these dynamic words written 159 years ago. this military proclamation of pope's would begin with this. let us understand each other. i've come to you from the west
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where we have always seen the backs of our enemies from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary and to beat him when he was found, whose policy has been attack and not defense. in but one instance has the answer my been able to place our western armies in defensive attitude. i presume i have been called here to pursue the same system and lead you against the enemy. it is my purpose to do so, and that speedily. i'm sure you long for an opportunity to win the distinction you are capable of achieving, an opportunity i shall endeavor to give you. meanwhile i desire you dismiss from your mind certain phrases which i am sorry to find so much in vogue amongst you. i hear constantly of, quote, taking strong positions and holding them, of, quote, lines of retreat, end quote, and of, quote, base of supplies. let us discard these ideas. the strongest position of a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can easily advance against the enemy. let us study the probable lines
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of retreat of our opponents and leave our own to take care of themselves. let us look before us and not behind. success and glory are an advance. disaster and shame lurk in the rear. let us act on this understanding. and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed with many a glorious deed and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever. for many contemporaries of john pope and historians over the last 159 years, this military proclamation will mark the zenith of john pope's military career in the united states army. a narrative that continues into modern works. a narrative that for everything after this military proclamation
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for the next several weeks across july and august of 1862, that everything is downhill for john pope and it will lead to his banishment to the west and a fall from grace from which he will never recover. tonight, as we make our way through this program and talk about the events that will lead to that fall of grace, i'm going to challenge you to think differently about this moment in the summer of 1862, to think differently about this idea of john pope falling from grace in the eyes of the lincoln administration, in the eyes of many other commanding officers in the federal army and i'm going to challenge you tonight to think about that word, banishment, used by pope's contemporaries in 1862 and utilized by historians ever since. so where does our story begin, then? to understand john pope and understand the events that will eventually take place in 1862,
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you need to understand where john pope came from. he was born in march of 1822 in louisville, kentucky. he's the son of nathaniel pope, a very distinguished figure from the state, the former territorial secretary and delegate from the state of illinois territory, would later be a prominent federal judge in the illinois territory as well. pope would receive a very strong education. he would graduate from the united states military academy 17th in his class of 56, graduating in 1842, commissioned a second lieutenant in the corps of topographical engineers. he has even more connections that will propel him as the war breaks out all those years later. first and foremost, john pope is a collateral descendant of george washington. his uncle was united states senator from kentucky. his father is a friend of
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then-growing in popularity illinois lawyer, perhaps you've heard of him, abraham lincoln. his brother-in-law, the gentleman by the name of manning force, these men will become best of friends and will ultimately book-end our story tonight. last but not least, a distant cousin of john pope had marry the sister of a woman that would later be known as mary todd lincoln. john pope has an incredible connection with the very history and fabric of society and aristocracy and political greatness in this country, as well as the ability to secure that appointment to west point. in the years upon his
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graduation, before the american civil war, pope will go on to serve several years in florida. he'll help to survey the northeastern border between the united states and canada. upon the war in mexico he'll fight under zachary taylor at the battles of monterey and buena vista from which he will be appointed a first lieutenant and captaincy. he will go on to demonstrate the navigability of the red river. he will be promoted to captain in 1856. in the years before the american civil war he would spend the remainder of the antebellum years serving a route for the pacific railroad. to say that john pope had performed service to his country before 1861 is an understatement. the experiences he gained throughout the 1840s and 1850s, his training as a topographical
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engineer, will propel him to the front of the pack as the war begins in 1861, to bring those experiences, to bring that understanding of terrain and topography and commanding men on the battlefield of a war that is beginning to break out. now, during the secession winter of 1860-1861, john pope is serving on lighthouse duty. several of our high ranking officers in the federal army will have that same privilege, one of which would be george gordon meade. upon president lincoln's election, he will write to the newly elected president and he starts that letter by giving a lot of advice to the president-elect on the state of the united states military at the time. that takes a lot of gusto, if you will, to write a seven-page letter to the newly-elected president telling him your thoughts on the state of the united states military. not only will he give lincoln
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his thoughts on that, he will also include a warning, a caution, if you will, to be careful of some of the high-ranking officers that lincoln should trust as they might be secessionists. now, it's not just advice that pope offers lincoln. it's not just advice that pope has included in this letter. it's a way for pope to insert himself into lincoln's inner circle right at the outset of the war. and it's a personality trait, a desire for promotion, that will come back into pope's career time and time again. pope believes that this letter will not only serve as an entrance way into lincoln's inner circle but it will put him in good graces of the future president to serve for future promotions for himself. pope will become incredulously ambitious, starting here in the early days of the american civil war. and his never-ending desire to rise through the ranks of his profession will all link back to this moment during the secession winter of 1860 and 1861. but as the american civil war plays out, this personality trait will become a double-edged blade for pope. although at times it will
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advance him to the ranks and glory that he hopes to achieve, it will also set him back as well. now, when lincoln finally gets this seven-page letter, i can only imagine, as he's opening it up, he's sitting in his home in springfield, what is this, who is this guy sending me this letter? but lincoln reads it carefully and decides he's a promising, upcoming officer. he sends an invitation to john pope to be one of four officers selected to the score the president-elect to washington, dc. that train will leave from illinois on february the 11th of 1861 and pope would later recall the moment he said i became a member, though a very insignificant one, of the party which surrounded and in a sense guarded mr. lincoln and in that wonderful journey, the like of
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which has never been made before or since. at some point following his escort service to washington, dc of president lincoln, pope would offer lincoln his services as an aide to the president. but on june 14 of 1861, instead he would be appointed brigadier general of volunteers with a date of rank effective to may 17 of that year and he would be immediately ordered to the state of illinois to recruit volunteers for the burgeoning war effort. upon making his way out to illinois, he wouldn't linger long in that duty of recruitment. in the department of the west under the command of major general john fremont, pope assumed command with operational control along a portion of the mississippi river thereof. and it's during this time that yet again, we begin to see pope's desire for promotion and glory. and he'll enter a new phase, a
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new trait that will once again raise its head in the coming years of this war, the utilization of politics to get what he desires. it's at this moment that pope, detesting fremont, will utilize political connections behind fremont's back to get him removed from command. the ultimate goal, we do away with fremont, and himself get promoted to the post. fremont is not oblivious to what's going on and is convinced that pope has horrific intentions for fremont's career and intentions towards fremont himself. and that was demonstrated in particular by pope's lack of action in following some of fremont's offensive plans in the state of missouri. boy, that's going to sound real familiar come august of 1862. a january that lacks aggressive offensive actions on the plains of manassas. historian alan evans would write of this moment, he said actually, it's incompetence and timidity, though he certainly showed an insubordinate spirit, yet another trait that pope will continue to refine as he continues to rise through the ranks, this continued trait of insubordination of orders from
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his commanding officers. by the end of 1861, after a minor action at blackwater, missouri, pope is continuing to rise in notoriety amongst those staff and other officers in his department as well as washington, dc. with his latest victory at blackwater, he now has proof to back up his claims of his reputation, of how good he is as a commanding officer. and he's going to utilize something he hasn't done yet by the end of 1861. he's going to utilize the press. he's going to bring more attention to him and more braggadocio, the more the press plays into how good he is, the more he makes those claims of just what a brilliant officer he is. and it's beginning to work, because attention is beginning to be drawn to him.
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pope is an interesting fellow. i'll give you some of the adjectives that would describe general pope as a person in 1861. rough, bombastic, foul mouthed, direct in speech, decisive in action, blunt and silence. being a native ohioen, i couldn't ignore this quote from a soldier describing pope in 1861. he said those of you have served under pope know what a universal knowledge he had auz of cuss words. and with what artistic ease, grace he could use them.
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as pope continued to rise after that minor affair in 1861, one of his first setbacks, one of his first falls from grace would occur early in the following year in 1862. and in february of 1862 pope would find his wife in very poor health. now she's suffering even more from a recent pregnancy. pope is his recent command from 1861 had been broken up. there's no active campaign in sight. and he's getting serious consideration to resigning his commission. he decides it's best to back up his wife and take her to her parents house and to ride out the pregnancy in the challenges of her health there in the company of family. he said since she's so far away must under the circumstances be so unsettled and uneasy that it
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fills with me with anxiety. pope is silent because he's not getting promoted. he had these several small victories. he got fremont out of place. he's getting noticed from higher rarng ranking officers. but where is the promotions for this man so eager to have his star rise. nour pope would be recommended by two prominent illinois politicians that would press these state governor of illinois and the treasurer to get pope a regular army commission up to the rank of brigadier general. it's not working. they are applying all this pressure in washington, d.c. and he's getting nowhere in this promotion. he will say my self-respect is startled at what i have done i would feel humiliated to receive
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an appointment from him. what an interesting fellow. clambering to rise and get a promotion, the opportunity may be there and i'm too humiliated to accept it. but just several days after he writes about this, pope's star begins to rise once again. he overcomes these setbacks. after he writes that note, he's given a chance at an independent command which if successful almost guarantees a regular commission promotion. henry will appoint pope to @ command of the army of the mississippi on february 23rd, 1862. he would recall pope from his time with his wife in st. louis to it give him the command. and as pope is willing to leave, he talks with his wife to assure her she would be okay in his absence, so he went. pope would be given the command of 25,000 men, his largest command yet, and he's ordered to clear obstacles on the mississippi river. his commanding officer wants to
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capitalize on grant's recent victories to move the federal army deeper into the con fed ra sit itself. he wants to open the mississippi river as far as memphis and to cut off the retreat from columbus. and it will lead to one of the most successful actions is and campaigns to that it time, a movement on new madrid and island number 10. pope would capture on march 14th and upon so, his commanding officer would heap praise on this already very self-confident general. he would say congratulate you on this success, which has given the fatal blow to the rebellion in missouri and proved yourselves worthy members of the brave army of the west. pope will continue his advance. officially opening the mississippi river as far as
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memphis. pope will receive credit that his campaign was a bloodless victory. he would claim 7,000 prisoners, 35 pieces of a field artillery, huge quantities of supplies and ammunition and the total loss for pope's member during the entirety of this campaign was 32 men. he would later report that his own success that he had produced was fro profound satisfaction. so everyone has heaping praise for these rl actions in 1862. and pope will once again rely on what he did following that small victory in missouri in december of 1861. he will utilize the victory and the media coverage to resume his petition to his benefactors in the state of illinois for a regular army promotion. pope will write to those benefactors you will see from the papers and the dispatch that
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we now have a great success. i think if the governor and yourself would telegraph con at once, he will promptly transfer me as a major general to the regular army. independent of the gratification it will enable me to give my staff increased rank if lincoln is telegraphed in the spur of this victory. just so happens that one of his political benefactors in illinois was on pope's staff. his two political benefactors would appeal to lincoln. transfer major general john pope to the regular army with his present rank as a token of gratitude to illinois. give one of her sons a position in the united states army who has so gloriously achieved the just reward we ask for him. now lincoln has become accustomed to pope's personality and his relentless ambition.
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one of the things handled these dell indicate situations is he does it in a folksy carpal. it's very plain and eay to understand, but firm. he writes back to these benefactors, i fully appreciate general pope's splendid achievements with their invaluable results, but you must know that the major general in the regular army are not as plentiful as blackberries. despite this, his victoies a along the mississippi were enough to pressure lincoln to promote pope to major on march 21, 1862. pope's service in the west was not done. pope would immediately take part in the following campaign of the siege. during this campaign, pope would again illustrate one of those personality traits that we learned about. during the campaign, pope would
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advance his column too quickly and disobey moving no faster than the other elements of the union army. in this case, that command of bul. he will disobey an order by ordering an attack during the campaign about four miles east. this new trait that has emerged constantly disobeying orders, including not expelling one of pope's tools to promote himself. he ordered the removal of the media and the press out of the army during the campaign. he has been insubordinate. he loves gossiping to those in the paid ya and the press. he would write in the moment, pope was no doubt an able pan and a good soldier. but he talked too much of himself. of what he could do and ought to be done and he indulged contrary to good discipline and all
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propriety is of his superiors and fellow commanders. what he's saying is that pope has become the consummate self-promoter. and i'll pause with that thought to let you know that i have some books back there for sale at the end of the program this evening. the middle of june, june 19th to be exact, john pope receives a telegram from the secretary of war. stanton sends this to pope. he says, your orders will emit you and you can be absent long enough from your command, i would be glad to see you at washington. now when pope receives this from stanton, he's visiting with his family at st. louis at the time. his wife had just given birth to their first child named clara horton. and pope does not have time right now or a desire to go to washington, d.c. he has time off from an active campaign that has just wrapped
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up. his wife has just given birth. the family is together in st. louis and he's not interested in going to d.c. so pope asks for advice of his friends and superior about what he should do. and he writes back to pope, the secretary of war can order you to washington if he deems proper. but i cannot give you the leave. i think your services here of the greatest possible importance. so stanton will send a second telegram this time ordering pope to washington, d.c. but throughout the engage between hallock and pope and pope and stanton, nowhere in there and z a reason given why he's being summoned from st. louis to the nation's capital. least of which does pope expect a transfer to the east. now as this is taking place in 1862, pope's men under his command take a moment to reflect on his ability as their commander while he has commanded him throughout the recent campaigns.
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captain carpenter, future governor of illinois, would write that pope was pugnacious and confident and conceded. i do not think of general pope as a man, yet i considered him a good general. general pope as i saw him, appeared like another one of those sound minded, honest, patriotic and well-informed soldiers. i being you to remember that as we go further in this program. what i learned about him caused me to believe he understood and attended to it. general pope possessed the right conception of the american soldier. that's to say he thought the men and the ranks to be the real heroes of the war. and to be sure he's given in, but he's a stirring man and one the rest feared and hated more than anyone else. as pope is preparing to head to washington, d.c., two others known to him will comment on the situation. the moment that pope is leeing
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to d.c. they would note of pope's departure that would regret we parted with pope who for so long a time had held our entire confidence a as a commander. but perhaps it was a man by the name of don granger that summed up the moment best as pope boarded the train to leave st. louis. good-bye, pope. pope arrives on june 24th to what he describes as an enthusiastic welcome, as it's also reported in the philadelphia inquirer. upon his arrival, his wife had wrote him a quick note and that this moment, this movement out to washington, d.c., this movement, this order, this meeting was perfectly convinced that all of this was leading to a greater purpose and that greater purpose was that pope would not return to the west. she would write this in her letter. i'm sure perhaps mcdowell's
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department and you will take the field against jackson. it is possible that you may supersede mcclulen, but i do not on the subject consider it likely. how clairvoyant was pope's wife in that moment. now on june 25th, pope has arrived to washington, d.c. and he has his first interview that day with secretary of war edwin stanton. he goes and sits with stanton, and there they sit, and they sit and they look at each other and they it size each other up. they have some very faint chitchat about light hearted topics and that's it. stanton shares no reason to pope one day after being in d.c. why he's been called there. there's a reason for it. stanton cannot say anything to pope until lincoln gets back to washington, d.c. you see lincoln had left for
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west point on june 23rd 37 he kept his departure a secret from those in washington, d.c. and a secret from the press. he's heading up to west point to meet with general scott, to quote, ask my views in writing as further dispositions to be made. lincoln is traveling to west point to meet with scott to ask scott if pope is capable of commanding several armies in the eastern world. sounds like lincoln is placing a lot of confidence in pope. and perhaps pope has something to back it up with. although nor scott nor lincoln mentioned pope in this conversation, in the suitability of whether or not he can take this command and the accounts written down about the meeting, it was certainly discussed. lincoln on his return back to west point has a train stop in
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new jersey. he shares with the press then why he's gone to west point and he alludes to the situation that is brewing back in washington, d.c. lincoln said again, when the birds and animals are looked a at through a fog, they are seen to disadvantage. and so it might be with you if i were to attempt to tell you why i went to see general scott, i can only say that my visit to west point did not have the importance, which has been attached to it. it concerned matters that you understand quite as well as if i were to tell you about them. now i can only remark it had nothing to do whatever with making or unmaking any general in the country. the secretary of war holds a pretty tight reign on the press so they shall not tell them not to and i'm afraid if i blab too much he might draw a tighter reign. lincoln will arrive back to d.c. and on the following day on june 26th, there will be another meeting between pope and stanton.
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it will meet in private chambers in the war department. stanton will finally reveal to pope that there's been a fiasco in the valley between jackson and fremont. and stanton concedes in this meeting that lincoln and himself are to blame for all that is developed and come across from this fallout of this most recent campaign in the shen do away valley. stanton says we made mistakes in the following ways. we placed them in command of these armies. we shouldn't have done that. we also shouldn't have tried to regulate their movements from washington, d.c. after these commands were defeated, stanton and lincoln finally give in to what the treasury has been arguing about for weeks. and what they have been arguing, that these two armies in the valley and urban mcdowell's army need to be united commander. and the port republican, they give in.
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the genesis for llincoln's trip to west point and calling pope east. he reveals there's going to be ab objective for this army. several, in fact. he says the first objective will be to protect washington. objective two, defend it the valley. and objective three, disrupt the virginia central railroad in the neighborhoods of schaar lotsville and gordonsville. by accomplishing these objectives and threatening the vital rail link with the valley, the administration, lincoln and stanton hope it would compel the confederates around washington, d.c. and opposites richmond's army that they would pull away from mcclel lance. stanton tells pope that moment he's been called east to carry out these objectives. it's at this point in the conversation that it stanton stopped talking and they just look at each other.
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and there's this long awkward silence. stanton finally says, general, you don't seem to approve the arrangements i have outlined for you. pope responds, mr. secretary, i concur in the wisdom of concentrating these widely scattered forces in front of washington, d.c. and using them generally as you propose, but i certainly do not view with any favor the proposition to place me in command of them. the title of tonight's presentation is john pope's reluctance rise. he's been doing everything he can to rise through the ranks. but now he's saying, i don't want this command. stanton is annoyed to say the least. stanton is saying you should be flattered i brought you out here. that i'm offering you this command. pope says i'm very grateful, but i don't want this station. i don't want this command. pope is being reluctant.
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first of all, there's three generals and all of them are my senior in rank. and if we brought these armies together and i commanded them, it would humiliate those generals. they would be resentful and those sentiments would be carried to their troops under their commands. so pope continues to explain those things. he'll decide what's best and at that moment, he decides not best for him. not best for his reputation, it's not best for his commandablety, it's not best for his command in the west. pope would later write he said my assignment to command the army by the president among a number of officers of high rank and no doubt a good deal of
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severe was indulged. no one stopped to inquire whether had it was by my own act. or even wish that i came to washington. or whether such transfer was or was not satisfactory. i did not desire a transfer. but he had been summoned from another theater to add to this already tense situation that he was to despaired armies brought together. pope also says it's going to take a long time to organize these armies and discipline them and get them better trained in the role of being a soldier. pope said in short, i should be much in the situation of a strange dog without even the right to run out of the village. for the command he was to be given, he said, quote, it is of a fore lorn hope under the most unfavorable conditions for success. he says, okay, i hear your ideas of why you don't want to do this, but i have to talk to
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lincoln about it. so the following day, lincoln, stanton and pope will meet privately. at the end of the conversation, lincoln concludes pope is staying in the east and taking this command. and on june 27th, pope will assume command of the army of virginia. lincoln has chosen pope for political purposes, not for his battlefield abilities. lincoln is also not ready to relieve the general. there's other factors going into the decision. secretary chase has chosen pope because he will fight a hard, relentless contest unsparing of southern populous, especially in virginia. chase is arguing to lincoln and stanton about bringing him east. primarily on the grounds of policy is. and doing so with patronage. stanton's sole objective for pope is to humiliate mcclellan. you told your commanding officer this is not the command for me.
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it will not be successful. and being placed in this position with all the sub contents in mind ask you're expected to be successful on it, pope demeres again. he says, i don't want this position. send me back out west. but the question then comes in at this moment for historical debate, who else would be the right fit a at this moment. lincoln administration needs someone that is outspokenly republican. pope fits that box. antislavery, check. suggesting using african-americans, check. willing to wage a hard war against the civilian populous, check. and a commander that is aggressive, all of these things that mcclellan is not. the new york tribune would note pope is not the type of man to sit around and wait. he's a man of action, a man of boldness. the philadelphia public ledger would write pope would bring
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order out of the chaos in the valley and be ready at once for offensive service. now pope takes command. and pope is going to be called into different meetings. lincoln and stanton are locking for some advice from pope on how to help mcclellan down on the peninsula. mcclellan is screaming for reenforcements. lincoln and stanton is saying no. pope is saying this is bad news on the peninsula. and basically, tells lincoln and stanton the reality of the situation. pope says perhaps the biggest mistake is that mcclellan's withdraw of the river. for a fourth time, pope says, look, it's a big mistake what mcclellan is doing. if you do not order him to halt to the river, i would prefer to return to the west. lynn cob says no. again, pope is reluctant for a
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man that is so ambitious, why is he turning this down over and over and over again. but pope stuck with his new role. and he will begin to deal with the army of virginia in getting it ready for the next campaign. part of dealing with the army of virginia, is dealing with the consequences and fallout from the most recent campaigns they have experienced against jackson. we'll just keep looking at pictures of those three guys. i have always admired the facial hair. so as we gets the army together, what pope realizes is that the things he talked about stanton and lincoln are holding true. it's in the lowest possible
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sense. there's supply situation is disastrous. there's hardly any cavalry to rely on. most of the cavalry men have no horses. so he sets upon the task of getting them rady as best he can for a campaign. and part of that is to issue the orders that become so famous. the most of which was his military proclamation. that's the opening of many other offensive orders that pope will issue. holding accountable for damage to railroad tracks and a attacks on wagon trains, et cetera. it's a sphere of operations, if if you will. all of these things have good offenses. if the military proclamation damaged the moral, soured
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relationships with mcclellan and his command and others, these other orders that pope has issued is gaining the respect of the men and the rank and file of the army of virginia. these orders are not radical. respected historian on the second campaign would write orders are calllated outfwroet of the federal government's changing approach to the war. the goal of these orders is to bring the hard edge of war to the southern people as a whole wp in the end, these orders that pope issues would serve as a political weapon yielded by lincoln in the administration against mcclellan and the conservative approach of war. john pope is going to wage a new style of warfare in the summer of 1862 in virginia. now when pope finally gets command, he's commanding from
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washington, d.c. he's making an arrangement with lincoln. he wants mcclellan removed from command. lincoln says he's not ready to remove him, so they make a compromise. how would you bring my former commander in the west to supervise the armies in virginia. there's a catch to that compromise. until you are my military adviser. pope is going to have to organize his army and prepare for a campaign while he's still stuck in washington, d.c. as he prepares for the campaign as it would become known, the object i-s he's given, not his objectives, the objectives he's given are very limited first for this developing campaign, to cover washington, d.c., number two, oppose and delay the confederate advance for the last
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extremity to allow the army to make their way to alexandria and fredericksburg and link up with the army of virginia. number three, pope is to attack the confederate rail lines and communications with charlottesville. he can turn the tide of the campaign on the virginia peninsula. all these things that pope is fighting with begin to change them. they weigh on them. what a great reputation he has will say this about pope's challenges in august 4th. how do they expect pope to beat with an inferior force the veterans of jackson. i would breathe again. several days into the campaign, the defeated cedar mountain and pulling back surrendered the
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initiative to robert e. lee. he will seize that initiative immediately and will begin to capitalize on all that it will provide him. as it continues to unfold, the army of virginia plummets further. general orders number five, off the land has gotten way out of hand. damaging the morale to the men in the ranks because the army is hungry when pope takes command, he fires a very intelligent fellow by the name of herman halls. by the time the army is almost staffering to death, he comes crawling back asking him to please come back. by the middle of the month of august, pope is beginning to learn that lee's objectives are set upon crushing his army. he begins to make a series of decisions that are going to lead to what will happen at the end
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of the month. but by the second to last week of august, john pope starts making a lot of mistakes. he's done pretty well in had this campaign so far, although he's failed at cedar mountain, he's holding some of the strategy, some of the campaign objectives that he's been given. but by august 25th and 26th, pope has gone completely off the rails. the stress of the objectives, all that sub text that we talked about is weighing on him heavily. pope is uncertain about the intentions. no reenforcements that they have been promising him have arrived. he's receiving no specific orders from washington. telling him what to do next as it relates to his campaign objectives. the only thing he's getting from washington, d.c. are the following instructions from hallock. if possible to get in the rear, pursue with vigor.
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what's he supposed to do. pope is starting to look at ways to get out of this it predicament. it's to retire, but if he does, he believes he would be reduced in command. he would be demoted for these actions. by august 27th, they come up with two other ways to get this predicament. one of the things he could do is retire to fredericksburg and link up with the command, but he feels that if he does that, his army will be stripped from him and damage his reputation. he opts for option two. maybe i can go after these individual pieces of the con fed rat army as they are in transit on this campaign to defeat them and detail to secure my reputation, have my star to continue it rise. it leads us to the battle of second manassas.
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he will commit numerous blunders. his biographer will say at times that pope was erratic during the bat presidential pope continue in wishful thinking rather than clear reasoning. he continued to dictate the actions. pope was choosing to disregard both his senses and his better judgment. they are on the field with pope. general pope seemed wholly at a loss of what to do and what to think. he did not know where his own men were or where jackson was. we all know how the battle play ed out. pope would retreat back to washington, d.c. and he would be relieved of kmapd. we move to the end of this program this evening talking about that moment. where everyone in 159 years, even pope's argue that his replacement of command and his
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banishment to the west ultimately will be his fall from grace in the eyes of the lincoln administration. but it couldn't be further from the truth. and lit august of 1862 as manassas is playing out, lincoln and stanton desperate pleas for help from the governor of minnesota. there's a serious, serious war waging out there. it's the sue uprising from the dakota war of 1862. they need help. lincoln and stanton have been focusing all of their energies in virginia. one of lincoln's private secretaries that had gone out there comes back and tells lincoln this war is growing more extensive out there. they need help. now if pope has lost confidence in lincoln, if he's being banished out west, why would you send someone so inept that was defeated to go be in charge and carry out a war by themselves in
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minnesota. mccleanse lance goes back to new jersey. they send this guy to minnesota and pope thrives once again. he handles the dakota war with brilliance. he will continue to have the star rise throughout the rest of 1863 and to 1864. he continues to impress all of his superiors to the point that as the opening movements of the campaign began. they congratulated him for everything he's doing and to have pope council on how to deal with the situation in the west. it doesn't sound like someone has lost the faith and confidence of the higher echelon of the military or the lincoln administration. over the next several years,
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pope is going to continue to rise in prominence. pope will really rewrite how the united states government deals with indian affairs in the 1860s, the 1870s and the 1880s. pope is going to be asked about his thoughts on overwhelming the military system by the 1870s. pope says of the american military system and for the last years before, that had been largely based on the british model. a he's 100% right. pope says that is in direct opt signatures to what this country stands for. pope will fwin to issue a number of changes that will radically change the armed forces in this country. pope's star can continues to rise. at one point, i want to share as the war is winding up, by february 3rd, pope takes command of the military division of the missouri. he's in command of 41,000 men
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and has the largest geographic command in the united states. this is during the civil war still. this is someone whose star has fallen. in march of 1865, he adds to the department of arkansas to his command and with that pope is now in command of half of the size of the united states in march of 1865. has he truly fallen so far from grace? his command stretches from the river to the mississippi river west to the humboldt mountains of nevada. pope has lived a very long life and dedicated a large majority of it to service of this country. he will finally retire in 1866. his wife had passed away in 1888 and rarely left the house after that, but in september of 1892, he went to ohio to visit with his close friend and brother-in-law, which we heard about the gibbing of the program
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who was then. during the evening of september 23rd after dinner, pope pass wad in his sleep. the surgeon said the cause of death was a complete breaking down of his nervous system. letting loose of all vital force which has been very properly styled. he would be buried at the end of the week back in st. louis next to his wife with full military honors. the war of 18 0s had started to turn their thoughts a about pope as the minor affair with continued to plague his legacy. and so the war department upon his death that it closes a useful patriotic and distinguished career of half a century of service of his country. we titled the program today the reluctant rise and unavoidable fall of john pope. this ambitious man of 1861 and
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1862 flat out told lincoln this is not the command for me. this is not the command that my abilities can do. this is not the command that can carry out the objectives you want to give it. yet he was forced to take that position. he did the best he could with it. he clearly made mistakes during the second campaign, and became practically unraffled during the battle itself. his fall from grace was not as far as the history would tell you. upon pope's death, the editors of the army and navy summed up his contributions trying to restore his reputation of that fall from second manassas. it's how we'll close our program this evening. they wrote, quote, military critics may dispute as to general pope's capacity as a general in command of armies in the field. none, however, can deny that he was a fateful servant, a patriot
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and a scholar, deserving of the fullest accommodation of his country men with those whose ultimate success make them the foremost of the leaders of their time. thank you. [ applause ] >> we have time for a few questions. >> your opinion if you thought that john pope was considered a political appointment. >> it's a great question. obviously, he has that pedigree and those connections just by the nature of his birth. that letter definitely puts him on the jepd of lincoln keeping
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in mind for future promotions. i think it's a mix. i think pope definitely has some political aspirations and that those political connections will make part of his higher promotions related politically as we heard from chase and stanton as to the promotion of the army of virginia. clearly pope is a pretty good officer. has a very good understanding of how to wage war. he's successful in the west he has a setback. he really overhauled the whole way the government deals in indian affairs not only to quell many of the wars that are waging out there, but also to overall the military system. so i think it's a capable officer, but he has some of those political connections to help his promotion.
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>> i'm curious, in your opinion, who was the author of general orders 5, 7 and 11? >> so there is some contemporary sources, as well as the review of some modern historians, that it the military proclamation were not written by pope himself, which would then go to really rehabilitate some of his responsibility in the fallout effects of those orders. when it comes down to the military proclamation, many believe that stanton dictated the proclamation and some say lincoln reviewed the proclamation. those same sources point back to general orders 5, 7 and 11 as well that pope is not
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necessarily 100% of the master mind behind those individual orders. i think the truth lies somewhere in between. certainly pope isn't issuing these orders without somebody knowing that context whether that be stanton or lincoln. but the war department and the lincoln administration have input on those orders. >> last question. >> there's nothing but contempt for pope. >> 100%. that's a fallout as a result of that military proclamation. when that proclamation comes out to make the famous statement, they argued that pope's command is objective.
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that leez may have other plans, but upon that, pope is lee's primary objective. we're going to wipe the army off the map and get this out of virginia and then we'll deal with the army back on the peninsula. >> thank you. washington unfiltered. c-span in your pocket, download c-span now today. >> our next speaker is tom mcmillen. he's a lifelong student of history and the civil war. up until this year, he had previously published two books. flight 93 and "gettysburg rebels",


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