tv The Civil War Union General John Pope CSPAN December 15, 2021 2:27pm-3:29pm EST
june davis, southern utah university talks about water attacks during the civil war and sympathizers who destroyed union vessels. watch, saturday on cspan 2 or watch anytime at cspan.org/history. >> download cspan's new mobile app and stay up to date with the days events, from live streams at the house and senate floor, to white house events and supreme court oral arguments, even our live interactive program, washington journal. download the app for free, today. >> hey, everybody.
my name's john tracy, one of the newer members of emerging civil war, due in no small part to the recruitment efforts of the person i'm introducing today, ben welsh, a long time seasonal ranger at gettysburg military park where i had the honor of meeting and working with him a couple years. the coauthor of last road north, book on the gettysburg campaign, coauthor on a an immediately coming out book on antietam and coauthor of the anniversary series. so, with not too much else to say, i want to introduce dan welsh who is here to talk about the man we love to hate, john pope. here is dan welsh the man with too many laughs and not enough free time.
>> well good evening, everyone. you know, one of the things i haven't shared with a lot of you is the absolute love of the southern rock band, lynyrd skynyrd, been fortunate to meet some of the plane crash survivors, and heard wonderful stories from former managers and crew and one of the stories i heard was as lynyrd skynyrd was getting popular a lot of the acts they were opening for would talk to the manager and say don't let them close with free bird, we can't top that. and this would be bands like peter frampton and the rolling stones and now i know exactly the situation they were in trying to follow gary gallagher.
but in all honestly, i want to begin thanking my colleagues, sara, john, eric and all the members at ecw for the tireless work that goes into this yearly symposium, it's an honor to be back in person and talk about this defining moment in american history, even more a special occasion for me this evening because growing up my superheros didn't wear capes. it was the historians i got to meet, battle fields i got to go to and documentaries i watched with the talking heads so the opportunity to talk about an interesting person like john pope tonight in the room of such notaries as craig mertz, jordan ray, gallagher, is a true honor. so thank you. where do we begin this evening. >> we'll 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 that were written 1 design military
begins with this. i come with you from the wis, where we see the backs of our enemies, our position was always to seek the enemy and beat him where he was found, who's policy is attack and not defense. in one instance, where we have been able to place our attitude. i call here, for the same system, and to lead you against the enemy. it is my purpose to do so and 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, mean time, i desire for you to 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. discard of 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 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 in advance, disaster and shame lurk in the rear. let us act in this understanding and it is safe to predict your banners should be inscribed with many a glorious deed and your names shall be dear to your countrymen forever. for many contemporaries of john pope and historians over the last 159 years this military prauklamation will mark the
xenith of john pope's career in the army. a narrative of works that everything after this military proclamation that everything after is downhill for john pope and will eventually lead to his banishment from the west and a fall from grace in which he will never recover. tonight's, as we make our way through this program and talk about the events that will lead to that fall of grace, i'll 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 commander officers in the federal armies, 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 the events that eventually take place in 1862, you need into understand where john pope came from born march 1822 in louisville kentucky, son of a very distinguished figure of the state, secretary and delegate from the state of illinois territory, later a prominent federal judge in the illinois territory as well. pope would receive a very strong education, graduate from united states military academy, 17th in his class, graduating in 1842, and commissioned second lieutenant in the topographical engineers but despite this pedigree, pope 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, united states senator from kentucky. his father is a friend of then growing in populate, illinois lawyer, perhaps you've heard of him, abraham lincoln. brother in law a gentlemen by the name manning force, these men will become best of friends and ultimately bookend our story tonight and last but not least a doesn't cousin of john pope married the sister of a woman known as mary tod 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 an ability to secure to westpoint. in the years of graduation before it's american civil war pope goes on to serve several years in florida, helps to survey a northeastern border between united states and canada. upon the war in mexico, he'll
fight under zackary tailor at the battles of monta ray and buena vista and following the war john pope worked as a surveyor in minnesota, goes on to demonstrate the navigatability of the red river, serve as chief engineer? department of new mexico, 1851 to 1853, he would be promoted regularly all the way to the rank of captain by 1856 and in the years just immediately before the american civil war, he could spend the remainder of those antebellum years serving a route for the pacific railroad. to say he served country before 1861 is an under state, his training as a topographical engineer will propel him to the front of the pack as the war
begins in 1861 to bring the experiences of understanding, of topography of commanding men to a battle field on a war about to break out, during the concession winter 1860, to 1861, john pope is serving white house duty, not the only one, others have that privilege, one of which is george gordon meed. upon abraham lincoln's successful election in the fall of 1860, he writes a several page letter to the new president, 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 your thoughts on the state of the united states military. not only giving lincoln his thought on that, but 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 sucessionists. it's not only advice that pope offers lincoln, not only advice he 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 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 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 civil war. his neverending desire to rise through the ranks of his profession will all link back to this moment in the winter of
1860, 1861, but as the civil war plays out this personality trait will become a double-edged blade for pope. while at times it will vans him to the ranks and glory he hopes to achieve, will also set him back as well. when lincoln finally gets the seven page letter, i can only imagine, in his home in spring field, can only imagine, what is this, who's this guy sending me this letter, but lincoln reads it carefully and decides he is a promising upcoming officer so sends an invitation to john pope to be one of four officers selected to escort the president elect of washington dc. that train will leave from illinois on february the 11th of 1861 and pope will 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 in that most wonderful journey the like of which has never been made since.
at some point, following his escort service to washington dc, president lincoln pope would offer lincoln his services as an aid to the president. but on june the 14th of 1861, instead appointed brigadier general volunteers with a date of rank effective may 17th of that year and immediately ordered to the state of illinois to recruit volunteers for the burjenning war effort. now upon making his way out to illinois, he wouldn't linger long in that duty of recruitment. in the department of west under the command of general freemont, pope took command along the mississippi river, and here we see yet again pope's desire for promotion and glory and will enter a new phase, new trait that will once again hold its head in the coming years of this war, the utilization of politics
to get what he desires. at this moment, pope, detesting fremont will utilize political connections behind fremont's back to get him removed from command, ultimate goal, get rid of fremont, get promotion himself. fremont is not oblivious and knows he has nefarious intentions toward fremont's career and fremont himself and tension with fremont's plans in missouri. that's going to sound familiar in august 1862, a general that lacks aggressive offensive actions on the plains manasis. historian writes of evans on this moment, he says it's incompetence rather than treachery, though he certainly
showed insubordinate spirit, it's another trait pope will continue to refine as he rises through the ranks, this continued trait of insubordination of orders from his commanding officers. by the end of 1861 after a minor action at blackwater missouri, pope is continuing to rise in notoriety amongst the 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 commander officer and is going to utilize something he hasn't done yet by the end of 1861. he'll utilize the press. the more the press plays into how good he is the more he makes those claims of when a brilliant officer he is and it's beginning to work, because a tension is beginning to be drawn to him. and all of that attention will focus on replacing john c
fremont, and who to replace him, that attention is going to be coming from none other than major general henry w hallock. as pope is rising through the ranks, et is him up for an even more drastic fall a year later as the narrative of the past 100 years argue. pope is an interesting fellow. some of the adjectives that describe him, foulmouth, direct in speech and actions, blunt, despondent and silent. being a native ohioen myself, i couldn't ignore the quote from the soldier, describing pope in 1861, saying those who served under pope know what a universal
knowledge he had of cuss words and with what artistic ease and grace he could use them. as pope star continued to rise after that minor affair in missouri 1861, one of his first setbacks, falls from grace would occur early the following year in 1862. in february of 1862, pope would find his wife clara in very poor health, she had many preexisting health conditions and now suffering even more from a recent pregnancy. pope is despondent, his recent commands from 1861 broken up. there's no active campaign in sight, and he's giving serious consideration to resigning his commission. he decides, perhaps, it was best to pack up his wife, take her to her parents how's and ride out the pregnancy and challenges of her health there in the company of family. pope would write to his
father-in-law since she is so far away from her home and life, must under the circumstances be so unsettled and uneasy it fills me with anxiety for her. he is also despondent because he is not getting promoted. he had the several small victories, got fremont out of place, his star is beginning to rise, getting noticed from higher ranking officers in washington dc but where's the promotions for this man so eager to have his star rise? now, pope would be respected by two prominent illinois politicians that would press the 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. applying this pressure on the lincoln administration and washington dc and he is getting nowhere in this promotion. he'll lash out at lincoln, say myself respect is already startled at what i can do in the
matter and cannot go farther. mr. lincoln's treatment of me would be so shabby, i would be almost humiliated today to receive an appointment from him. what an interesting fellow to say the least, clammering to rise and get a promotion, opportunity may be there and i'm too humiliated to accept it. but several days after he writes about this, pope star begins to rise once again, over comes the set backs, four days after the note about lirngen is given the chance at independent command which if successful almost guarantees a regular promotion. army of the mississippi on february 23, 1862, hallock would recall pope from the time with his wife in st. louis to give him the command and as pope is willing to leave and accept it, he talks with his wife to assure her that he would be okay in her absence. pope would be given the command of 25,000 men, his largest
command yet and ordered to clear confederate obstacles on the mississippi river. his commanding officer wants to capitalize on the recent victories to move the armies deeper into the river itself, open the mississippi river as far as memphis and pull off the retreat from columbus and would read to one of pope' most successful actions and campaigns at that time, an island on new madrid, pope would capture new madrid on the 14th and his commander officer would heap praise on this already very self-confident general. saying i grant you commend on the success, you have given fatal blow to the rebellion in missouri and proved yourselves worthy members of the brave army of the west. pope will continue to make his next advance toward island
number 10, forcing its surrender on the 7th. pope will receive credit that his campaign was a bloodless victory. he would claim 7,000 prisoners, the capture of general mackel, the 100 plus pieces of heavy artillery, field artillery, huge supplies of ammunition and the total lost for popes men during the entirety of this campaign was 32 men. he would later report that his own, his own success that he had produced delighted him with profound satisfaction. so everyone is heaping praise on john pope for the early actions in 1862 and pope again relies on the small victory in blackwater am i viewery in '61, utilize the media coverage there and in illinois for a regular army
promotion, pope will write to the benefactors, we had a great success, i think if governor richard yates and yourself will telegram lincoln at once he will prosper me to a general of the union army. it will enable me to give my staff increased rank if lincoln is telegraphed in the spur of this victory. just so happens one of his political benefactors were on his staff. they would write, transfer general pope to the regular army. as a token to illinois, give one of her sons a position in the united states army who has so gloriously achieved the just reward we asked for him.
now, lincoln at this point in time has become quite customed to pope's personality and relentless ambition and one of the things i love about how lincoln handles these delicate situations is he does it in a very it's very plain and easy 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 victories 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 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 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 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. 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 leaving 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 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 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 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. 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. the genesis for lincoln'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. 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. 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 ready 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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. 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 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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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. >> 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 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. that lee 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.
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