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tv   The Civil War Union General John Pope  CSPAN  December 28, 2021 11:21am-12:22pm EST

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>> certainly johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were the ones that made sure the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and theirs. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> jim. >> yes, sir. >> i want a report of the number of people assigned to kennedy on me the day he died and the number assigned to me now, and if mine are not -- >> presidential recordings. find it on the c-spannow mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. washington, unfiltered. download c-span now today.
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i'm here to talk about dan welch who i've had the pleasure of working with for a couple years. he is also on the gettysburg campaign, co-author of an immediately coming out book, and also co-author of the anniversary series that have recently come out, one on gettysburg. so with not 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, so here's dan welch,
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the man with too many lives and not enough free time. >> well, good evening, everyone. one of the things i've not shared with a lot of you is my absolute love of the southern 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
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them close with "free bird," we can't top that. this would be from bands like peter frampton and the rolling stones. now i know exactly the situation they were in, trying to follow gary gallagher. in all honesty, i would to thank my colleagues, jon, eric, all the members 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. growing up, my superheroes didn't wear capes. it was the documentaries i got to watch with those talking heads. the opportunity to be able to talk about an interesting person like john pope tonight in the room of such notaies 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.
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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 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. but in one instance has the answer 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,
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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 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.
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a narrative that continues into modern works. a narrative that for everything after this military proclamation 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,
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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, 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
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a collateral descendant of george washington. his uncle was united states senator from kentucky. his father is a friend of 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 married 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 graduation, before the american civil war, pope will go on to serve several years in florida. he'll help to survey the
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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. following the mesh -- american-mexican war, 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.
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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 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 entranceway 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
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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 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
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wonderful journey, the like of 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 new trait that will once again raise its head in the coming
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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 general 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
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timidity, to offer a better description of pope in this moment. 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 threat 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 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
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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. all of that attention will folking on replacing john c. fremaupt. who to replace him? that attention is coming from none other than major general hallic. now, as he's slowly but surely rising through the ranks, setting him up for an even more drastic fall less than a year later, as the historical later of the last 159 years would argue. pope is an interesting fellow. adjectives that would describe pope as a person in 1861. gruff, bombastic, foul-mouthed, direct in speech, decisive in actions. blunt, despondent and silent. be agnative ohioen, myself, i couldn't ignore this quote, describing pope in 1861.
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quote, those of you that served under pope know what a universal knowledge he had of cuss words and with what artistic ease, grace and vim he could use them. as pope's star continued to rise after the minor affair in missouri of 1861, one of his first falls from grace would occur early the following year in 1862. in february 1862, he would find his wife, clara in poor health. she had many preexisting health conditions, and now she is suffering even more from a recent pregnancy. pope is despondent. his recent commands from 1861 have been broken up. there's no active campaign in ed -- sight and he's giving serious consideration to resigning his commission.sight
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consideration to resigning his commission. he decides it's perhaps best to take his wife and ride out the pregnancy and challenges of their health there in company of family. pope would write to his father in law, since she is so far away from her home, must under the circumstances be so uneasy that it fills me with anxiety for her. he's despondent and silent because he's had several small victories. got fremont out of place. his star is beginning to rise, getting notice from higher ranking officers in washington d.c. but where's the promotions for this man so eager to have his star rise? now, pope would be recommended by two prominent illinois politicians that would press the state governor of illinois and the treasurer to give pope a regular army commission up to the rank of brigadier general. it's not working. they're applying all this pressure on washington, d.c. and
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he's getting nowhere in this promotion. he'll lash out at lincoln. he'll say my self respect is already startled at what ysk already done. mr. lincoln 's treatment has been so shabby that i would feel humiliated today to receive an appointment from him. what an interesting fellow, oo say the least. clamoring for a rise in promotion, the opportunity may be there but i'm too humiliated to accept it. just days after he writes about this, pope's star begins to rise once again. four days after he writes that note about lincoln, he's given a chance at an independent command, which, if successful, almost guarantees a regular commissioned merited promotion. and halok would recall pope from his time 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 she would be
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okay in his absence, so he went. he would be given the command of 25,000 men, his largest yet and ordered to clear confederate obstacles on the mississippi river. his commander wants to capitalize, to move the federal army deeper to the confederacy itself. he wants to open the mississippi river as far as memphis and cut off the reef to columbus. and it will lead to one of pope's most successful actions and campaigns to that time. a movement on new madrid and island number ten. pope would capture new madrid march the 14th and upon so, his commanding officer would heap praise on this already very self-confident general. haloc would say i congratulate you and your command on the crown, you have given the fatal blow to the rebellion in am missouri and proven yourselves worthy members of the brave army of the west.
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pope will continue to make his next advance towards island number ten, forcing its surrender april the 7th, officially opening the mississippi river as far as memphis. pope will receive note that his campaign is victory. capture 123 pieces of heavy artillery, 35 pieces of field artillery, huge quantities of supplies and ammunition. and the total loss of pope's men in the entirety of the campaign was 32 men. he would later report that his own, his own success that he had produce dd lited him with profound satisfaction. so, everyone is heaping praise on john pope for the early actions in 1862. and he'll once again rely on what he did following the small victory in december 1861. he will utilize the victory and media coverage thereof to resume
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his petition to his benefactors in the state of illinois for a regular army promotion. he'll write, you will see from the papers and the general's dispatch that we now have a great success. i think if illinois governor and yourself would telegraph lincoln, he will now promptly transfer me as general to the regular army. independent of the gratification of myself, it will enable me to give my staff, my staff increased rank if lincoln is telegraphed in the spur of this victory. just so happens one of his political benefactors in illinois' son were on pope's staff. they would appeal to lincoln, nonetheless. transfer john pope to regular army. give one of her sons a position
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in the united states army who has so gloriously achieved the just reward we asked of him. lincoln has become quite accustomed to pope's personality and relentless ambition. one of the things i love about how lincoln handles these delicate situation is he does it in a very folksy sort of charm. plain and easy to understand but firm. i fully appreciate the achievements with their invaluable results. but you must know major generalships in the regular army are not as plentiful as blackberries. despite this, his victories along the mississippi were enough to pressure lincoln to promote john pope to major general march 21st, 1862. pope's service in the west was not done. pope would immediately take part in the following campaign of the siege against cornyn.
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now, during this campaign, pope would once again illustrate one of the personality traits we learned about: insubordination. during the campaign, pope would advance his column too quickly. and advance the stricture of moving no faster than the other elements of the union army. and he'll disobey an order by ordering an attack during the campaign about four miles east of corns itself. this new trait that has emerged, constantly disobeying orders, including, not expelling one of pope's tools to promote himself. henry haloc had ordered the removal of the press during the campaign and pope has again been insubordinate. he enjoys boasting of himself and gossiping about himself to the media and the press. he was no doubt an able man and
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a good soldier but he talked too much of himself and what he could do and ought to be done and he indulged, contrary to good discipline and all propriety and very free comments of his superiors and their fellow commanders. what he's saying is pope has become the consummate self prumotor? and i'll pause with that thought to let you know i have books back there for sale at the end of the program this evening. by the middle of june of 1862, june the 16th, to be exact, john pope receives a telegram at the secretary of war. he says if your orders will admit you and you can be absent long enough for your command, i would be glad to see you at washington. when pope receives this from stanton, he's visiting with his
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family in st. louis at the time. clara had just given birth to their first child, clara horton. and he has time off from an active campaign that's just wrapped up. his wife has just given birth. the family are together in st. louis. else not interested in going to d.c. so pope asks for advice on what he should do to haloc and he writes back, quote, the secretary of war can order you to washington if he deems proper, but i cannot give you the leave as i think your services are of the greatest possible importance. so, stanton will send a second telegram, this time ordering pope to washington d.c. but throughout the exchange between haloc and pope and pope and stanton, nowhere is there a reason why he's being summoned
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from st. louis to the nation's capitol, least of which does he expect a transfer at the east. pope's men, under his command, take a moment to reflect on his abilities as their commander. while he has commanded him throughout the recent campaign. cap tine cyrus carpenter, a once future governor of illinois, would say pope is pugnatious and confident. i do not think of him as a man. i consider him a good general. a cavalry said pope, as i saw him, seemed like one of the honest, patriotic and well-informed soldiers. i beg you to remember that as we go further in this program. what i learned about him showed me he understood his business and kept to it. he vested the right concension
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of the american soldier. that is to say he thought the men in the ranks to be the real heros of the war. an iowa sergeant said to be sure he's given to blowing a little. but he's a stirring man and one they 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. captain oscar jackson would note of pope's departure that, quoted with regret, we parted with pope, who for so long a time had held our entire confidence as a commander. but perhaps was a man by the name of gordon ranger that summed up the moment best. as pope boards the train to st. louis, goodbye, your gave is made. pope arrives to washington d.c. on june 24th. so, what he describes an enthusiastic welcome as it's reported in the philadelphia inquirer. upon his arrival, clara, his wife, wrote him a quick note and this moment, this movement to washington d.c., this movement, this order, this meeting was
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perfectly -- she was perfectly convinced all of this was leading to a greater purpose and that greater purpose was pope would not return to the west. she would write this in a letter to her husband, i am sure that it is possible you may supercede mcclellan, but i do not consider it likely in this moment. how claire voint was pope's wife in that moment? on june 25th, pope is arrived to washington d.c. and has his first interview that day with secretary of war, edwin stanton. he goes, he sits with stanton and there they sit and they sit and they look at each other. and they size each other up. they have some very faint chit chat about very light-hearted topics and that's it. stanton shares no reason to
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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 abraham lincoln gets back to washington d.c. abraham lincoln left for westpoint june 23rd. he kept his departure a secret from those in washington and from those in the press. he's heading to meet with general winfield scott, to and for reviews in writing for further reviews to be made. he's going to ask if he thinks pope is capable of commanding several disparitit armies in the war. sounds like lincoln's placing a lot of confidence in pope and that perhaps pope's brag dishes has something to back it up with. although scott, nor lincoln specifically mention pope in the conversation and the suitability of whether or not he can take
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this command and any accounts written about the meeting t was certainly discussed. lincoln has a train stop in new jersey and he shares with the press then why he'd gone on to westpoint and he eludes to the situation that is brewing back in washington d.c. lincoln said, again in his focusy way. when the birds and animals are looked at through a fog, they're seen at a disadvantage. i can only say that my visit to westpoint did not have him the portance which has been attached to it but concerned matters you understand quite as well as if i were to tell you about them. now, i can only remark that it had nothing to do whatever with making or unmaking any general in the country. the secretary of war, you know, holds a pretty tight reign on the press so that they shall not tell more than they ought to and
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i'm afraid if i blab too much, he might draw a tighter reign on me. lincoln will arrive back to d.c. and on the following day, june 26th, they'll meet in private chambers in the war department. stanton will finally reveal there's been a fiasco in the shenandoah valley. and stanton concedes in this meeting that lincoln and himself, they're to blame for all that's developed and, you know, come across from this fallout of the most recent campaign in the shenandoah valley. stanton says, look, we made mistakes in the following ways. first all of, we placed political patrons in command of the armies. we shouldn't have done that. and we shouldn't have tried to regulate their movements from washington d.c. after they were defeated across keys in the port republic, they finally give in to what the secretary of treasury has been arguing for weeks. what he's been arguing is these
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two armies in the valley and irvin mcdowell's army need to be united under one commander. and following defeats across keys and port republic, lincoln and stanton give in . the genesis for stanton calling pope east. stanton reveals there's going to be an objective, several in fact, three. the first objective of the army of virginia will be to protect washington. and objective two, protect the shan doughau valley. and three, protect the virginia central railroad. by accomplishing these objectives and fighting the rebel rail rink, lincoln and stanton hope it would compel the confederates around washington d.c. and opposite richmond and opposite mcclellan's army, that they would pull away and ease mcclellan's way in the city of
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richmond. he tells pope at that moment, he's been called east to carry out these ubjktives. it's at this point stanton stops talking and they just look at each other. there's a long, awkward silence. stanton finally says to pope, general, you don't seem to approve the arrangements i have outlined for you. pope responds, mr. secretary i entirely concur in the wisdom of concentrating the widely scattered forces in front of washington and using them generally, as you propose but i 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 reluctant 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. he's saying you should be
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flattered i brought you out here, that i'm offering you this command. and pope says i'm very grateful but i don't want this station. i don't want this command. pope is being reluctant to rise in this occasion. stanton says what do you mean? why don't yeah want this? and pope says 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 t would humiliate those generals. they would be resentful and the sentiments would be carried at the troops under their command. so, hope continues to explain those things. he'll decide what best and at that moment, he decides it's not best for him. it's not best for his reputation, not best for his command abilities and not best for his command in the west.
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pope would later write my assignment to command the army of virginia by the president naturally occasioned dissatisfaction of a number of high rank. no one stopped to inquire whether it was by my own act or even wish that i came to washington. or whether such transfer a military arrangement was or was not satisfactory to me. i did not desire a transfer. he'd been summoned from another theater would only add to the tense situation, if he were to command the armies. he tells standen it's going to take a long time to organize them 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. and for the command he was to be given, he said, quote, t is of a
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forlorn hope under the most unfavorable conditions possible for success. stanton's unconvinced. he says i hear your ideas of why you don't want to do this but i've got to talk to lincoln about it. the following day, lincoln, stanton and pope will meet privately. 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 capabilities. and he's not ready to relieve general mcclellan. secretary chase and edwin stanton have 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 and giving him the command, primarily on the grounds of policy and doing so with patronage.
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the sole objective is to humiliate mcclellan. imagine being placed in this situation. you told your commanding officers this is not the command for me. it will not be successful. and being placed in this position with all these subcontext in mind and you're expected to be successful on it, and pope demures again. i don't want this position. send me back out west. the question comes in for historical debate. who else would be the right fit at this moment? the lincoln administration needs someone out spokenly republican, pope fitsz that box. antislavery, check. suggesting using african-americans for federal military service, check. willing to wage a hard war against the civilian populous, check and a commander that's aggressive. all these things that mcclellan is not. "new york tribune" would note
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pope is not the type of man to sit around and wait. a man of action, bold dash and bay net. the public ledger would write pope will bring out of the chaos in the shenandoah valley and be ready at once for offensive service. now, pope takes command. eventually pope is going to be called into different meetings with lincoln and various members of the cabinet and stanton. lincoln and stanton are looking for advice from pope on how to help mcclellan on the peninsula. mcclellan is screaming for reinforcements. lincoln and stanton are saying no. pope is saying all of this is bad news on the peninsula and basically tells lincoln and stanton the reality of the situation. pope says perhaps the biggest mistake occurring is mcclellan 's withdraw towards the james river. and it's at this moment, for a fourth time, pope says look, it's a big mistake what he's doing. if you do not order him to halt
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his withdraw to the james river, i would prefer to return to the west. lincoln says no. again, pope is reluctant. for a man so ambitious, why is he turning this down over and over and over again? but pope's stuck with his new role and he will begin to deal with the army of virginia and getting it ready for the next campaign. part of dealing with the army of virginia is dealing with the consequences and fallouts from the most recent campaigns that they've experienced against jackson. i'm having a problem here with our slide advancer. well, we'll just keep looking at pictures of those three guys. i've always admired stanton's facial hair.
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so, as he gets the army of virginia together, what pope realizes is that the things he talked about with stanton and lincoln are holding true. the morale of the army of virginia is in the lowest possible sense. their supply situation is disastrous. hardly any cavalry to rely on. most of the calgary men have no horses. so, he sets upon the task of getting them ready as best as he can for a campaign. and part of that is to issue these orders that become so famous. the most of which was his military proclamation. that is the opening salvo of many other offensive orders thaurt pope will issue. including general orders number five, which is going to order the men to subcyst off the land. general orders number seven, holding the local citizenry accountible for any damage to railroad, tracks, cars, attacks on wagon trails, stragglers, etc. and number 11, arresting all
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male citizens within union army sphere of operations, if you will. all of these things have good efoelk. if the military proclamation damaged the morale of the army of virginia, soured relationships with mcclellan and his command and others, these other orders that pope has issued is gaining the respect of the men in the rank and file of the army of virginia. these orders are not radical. john hennessy, respected historian on the second manassas campaign would write these orders are a calculated reason for the changing of the war, made necessarily by the failure or stalemate on the battle field. the goal of the orders is to bring the hard edge of war to the southern people, as a whole. in the end, these orders that pope issues would serve as a political weapon yielded by lincoln and the lincoln administration against mcclellan and the conservative approach of war.
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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 is commanding from washington d.c. he's made an arrangement with lincoln. he wants mcclellan removed from command. lincoln tells him not ready to remove him from command. pope is actually the one responsible for bringing henry hallic east. he says if you won't relieve mcclellan, how about you bring my former commander in the west to come out and supervise the armies of virginia. there's a compromise. pope is going to have to organize and prepare for a campaign while he is still stuck in washington d.c. as he repairs for the second manassas campaign, as it would become known, the object sks for the campaign he is given are very limited.
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first objective for the campaign of virginia. to cover washington d.c. number two, oppose and delay the confederate advance to the last extremty, to allow the army of the potomac to make their way to alexandria and fedricsbering and link up with the army of virginia. number three, pope is to attack the critical rail lines, confederate rail lines and communications with gourdensville and charlottesville. going to force robert e. lee to send reinforcement said away from the capitol and hopefully mcclellan can turn the tide on the virginia peninsula. these challenges, all of these things pope is fighting against begin to change him and they weigh on him. phil kerny, what a great reputation he has, will say this about pope's challenges august 4th. how do they expect pope to beat, with a very inferior force, the veterans of ule and jackson?
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get me in my fighting division with pope and with pope's army, i would breathe again. several days into the campaign, pope's men are defeated at ceder mountain? and that defeat and his pulling back, surrendered the initiative to robert e. lee. lee seized the initiative immediately and he'll begin to capitalize on all it will provide him. as the second campaign unfolds, morale plummets further. many feel they're being needlessly sacrifice said after the defeat of ceder mountain. they're not being supported. subcysting off the land has gotten way out of hand. because pope's army is hungry. when pope takes command, he fire as very intelligent fellow by the name of herman howt, who kept the supplies running. he comes begging back to howt asking him to please, please come back.
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by the middle of the month of august, pope is beginning to learn that lee's objectives are set upon crushing his army and begins to make a series of decisions that will lead to what will happen at the end of the month. by the second to last week of august, john pope starts making a lot of mistakes. he's done pretty well so far. he's holding some of the strategy, campaign ucjectives he's been given. by august 25th and 26th, pope has gone comletely off the rails. the stress of the command, the objectives, all that subtext that we talked about is weighing on him heavily. pope is uncertain about lee's intentions by the end of the month. no reinforcements that hallic has been promising for the last two weeks have arrived. he's receiving no specific orders telling him what to do next, as relates to his campaign objectives. the only thing he's getting from
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washington d.c. are the following instructions from haloc. if possible, get in the rear, pursue with vigor. i mean, what's he supposed to do? and by august 26th, pope is looking for ways to get out of the predicament. the only thing he can think of on the 26th is to retire towards fred rx burg but if he does, he believes he would be reduced in command, demoted for these actions. by the following morning, august 27th, pope comes up with two other ways to get out of this predicament. one of the things is to retire to fredericksburg, link up with the burnside command, he believes it will damage his reputation. so, he opts for option number two, maybe i can go after the pieces of the confederate army
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as they're in transit. secure my reputation, have my star to continue to rise. it leads us to the battle of seconds manassas. pope admittedly will commit numerous blunders. pope's biographer will say, at times, that he was erratic during the battle and continued in wishful thinking, rather than clear reasoning. he said pope was choosing to disregard both senses and better judgment. there on the field with pope, lieutenant steven weld would say he seemed at a loss what to do and think. said he did not know where his own men or jackson was. we all know how the battle of second manassas plays out. he would retreat back to washington d.c. and eventually be relieved of command. and we move to the end of the program this evening talking about that moment. where everyone in the
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historiography of 159 years and even pope's contemporaries argue this defeat, his replacement of command and 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 late august of 1862, as musnass is playing out, stanton are ignoring desperate pleas of help from the governor of minnesota. there's a serious war waging out there, known as the sioux uprising. the war of 1862. they need help. lincoln and stanton have been focusing all their energies on virginia. one of the private secretaries says this war is growing more extensive. they need help. if pope has lost confidence in lincoln and stanton, if he's
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being banished out west, why would you send someone that is so inept, that was defeated at second manassas to be in charge and carry out a war by themselves? in minnesota? look where mcclellan goes. back to new jersey. not a whole lot going on there. but they send this guy to another theater of the war that's been forgotten about. and pope tlievls once again. he handles the sioux war, the dakota war of 1862 with brilliance. he'll continue to have his star rise throughout the rest of 1863 to 1864. he continues to impress all of his superiors, to the point that, as the opening movements of the overland campaign begins, do you know he calls pope east to congratulate him for everything he's doing and to have pope counsel grant on how to deal with the situation in the west.
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doesn't sound like someone that has lost the fagts and confidence of the higher echelons 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, 1870s and 1880s. in addition, john pope is going to be asked about his thoughts on overhauling the american military system by the 1870s. pope says the american mill stare cyst imand the 1870s and for the last hundred years before had been based on the british model, a system based on arisoceracy. and pope will begin to issue a number of changes that will radically change the armed forces in this country. pope's star continues to rise. at one point, in pope's command,
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as the war is winding up. by february 3rd, 1865, pope is in command of 41,000 men and has the largest geographic command in the united states. this is during the civil war still. is this 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 red river north to the canadian river west 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'll finally retire from the military in 1866. his wife had passed in 1888 and
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he rarely left the house after that. in september of 1892, he went to ohio to visit with his close friend and brother in law, manning force, who was then the commandant of the ohio soldiers and sailers home. during the evening of september 23rd, after dinner, pope passed in his sleep. the on site surgeon says the cause of the death was a complete breaking down of his nervous system, keeping loose of all vital force, nervous prosteration. he would be buried, at the end of the week, back in st. louis next to his wife with full military honors. the war department had started to turn their thoughts about pope, as the minor affair with fits john porter continued to plague his legacy that second manassas sp. so, he says it closes a patriotic and distinguished
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career in service to this country. we call the reluctant rise and aunavoidable anbition of pope. he said thilgs is not the command for me, not the command my abilities can do and what can carry out the objectives you want to give it yet he was forced to take that position. he clearly made mistakes and became practically unravelled during the battle itself. but his fall from grace was not as far as the historiography would tell you. upon pope's death, the editors of the army and navy journal, perhaps, summed up his kaunlt rubugzs -- contributions and they wrote, quote, military critics may dispute as to general pope's capacity as a
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general in command of armies in the field. none, however, can deny that he was a faithful servient of his country a patriot and a scholar, deserving of the fullest commonidation and a place in the hearts of his countrymen 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. anybody have any questions? all right. police introduce yourself and let us know where you're from. >> i'm from virginia. i wonder if you think john pope was a political appointment. >> obviously he has those pedgry
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and connections by the nature of his birth. that seven-page letter definitely puts him on the agenda of lincoln, keeping his name there for future promotions. i think it's a mix. i think pope definitely has 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 to the army of virginia. but clearly pope is a pretty good officer. has a very good understanding of how to wage war. and he's successful in the west. obviously has a set back at second manassas. but upon his return to the west, he overhalls the whole way the government deals in indian affairs, not only to quell many of the raids and wars raging, but to over hall the military system in the post civil war
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era. he's definitely a capable officer but has political connections to help his promotions. >> other questions. >> yes. >> excellent presentation. excellent. i'm kind of curious, in your opinion, who was the author of general orders 5, 7, and 11? >> so, there is contemporary sources, as well as the review of some modern historians that say that the military proclamation, as well as those general orders were not written entirely 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 general stanton -- edwin stanton had dictated a large portion of the military proclamation and there's accounts that say that lincoln
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had reviewed that military proclamation before pope made it public. those same sources point that to general orders 5, 7, and 11 as well that pope is not necessarily 100% of the mastermind behind the original orders. i think the truth lies in between. certainly he's not issuing them without somebody knowing their context, whether that be stanton, lincoln or hallic at the very least. i would say the war department and lincoln administration has input on those orders. >> last question. >> ben keller from fredericksburg. general lee had nothing but contempt for pope. was that well founded? >> yeah, 100% and it's a result of the military proclamation. when that military proclamation comes out, that leaves robert e.
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lee to make the famous statement, labelling pope a miskreernt and it's at that moment, many historians will argue that pope's command becomes lee's objective. ; that lee may have had other plans for 1862 but upon that, pope is lee's primary objective. we'll get the miscreant out and then deal with the peninsula. >> thank you. [ applause ] .
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>> cox is committed to providing eligible families access to affordable internet, bridging the digital demand one connected and engaged student at a time. cox, bringing us closer. >> cox, along with these television companies supports c-span 2 as a public service. our next speaker is tom mcmillen. he's a life-long student of the history and civil war.


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