tv The Civil War Union General John Pope CSPAN December 28, 2021 6:13pm-7:15pm EST
decide. which comes back to this guy. i've had this guy come up to me at the end of the presentation and say that was fine, but i still don't like dan sickles. again, i will say i was not trying to get you to like dan sickles, but what i do hope you come away with is a better appreciation of the story of kind of what i talked about, the three phrases, his role in the battle, his role in the history and his role in the preservation and, as i've said at the outset, if you love gettysburg as much as we do, i think it's important to understand the phases of his career. hate him, love to hate him or hate to love him. i'm seeing the cue in the back of the room. thanks. ♪♪
hey, everybody. my name is john tracy. i'm 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. i'm here to talk about dan welch, who is a very long-time seasonal ranger at gettysburg national park, which is where i had the pleasure of meeting and working with him for a couple of years. he's the coauthor of last road north, co-author of an immediately coming out book on ohio and also the co-editor of the emerging civil war tenth
anniversary series that have just recently come out. 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, the man with too many laughs and not enough free time. [ applause ] >> well, good evening, everyone. one of the things i've not shared with a lot of you is my absolute love of the southern 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 tour manager and say don't let 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 want to begin tonight by thanking my colleagues, jon, eric, and 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, because growing up, my superheroes didn't wear capes. it was the historians i got to meet and 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 notaries is a true honor. so thank you. so where do we begin this evening? we're going to begin with perhaps one of the most famous moments in john pope's career. and i ask you to bear with me as i read through these dynamic words that were 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 enemy 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. meantime, i desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases, which i am sorry to find so much in vogue amongst you. i hear constantly of, quote, taking strong positions and holding them, of, quote, lines of retreat, end quote, and of, quote, base of supplies. let us discard these ideas. the strongest position of a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can easily advance against the enemy. let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents and leave our own to take care of themselves. let us look before us and not behind. success and glory are an advance. disaster and shame lurk in the rear. let us act on this understanding. and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed
with many a glorious deed and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever. for many contemporaries of john pope and historians over the last 159 years, this military proclamation will mark the zenith of john pope's military career in the united states army. a narrative that continues into modern works. a narrative that for everything after this military proclamation for the next several weeks across july and august of 1862, that everything is downhill for john pope, and it will eventually 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 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 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. despite this pedigree, pope has even more connections that will propel him as the war breaks out all of those years later. first and foremost, john pope is a collateral descendant of george washington. his uncle was a 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 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 american-mexican war, he would work as a surveyor in minnesota, he would go on to demonstrate the navigatability of the red river. he would be promoted all the way up to the rank of captain by 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 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. he's not the only one. several of our high ranking officers in the federal army will have that same privilege, one of which would be george gordon meade. upon abraham lincoln's successful election, he will write a seven-page letter to the
newly elected president and he's going to start that letter to giving a lot of advice to the president-elect on the state of the united states military at the time. that takes a lot of gusto, if you will, to write a seven-page letter to the newly-elected president telling him your thoughts on the state of the united states military. not only will he give lincoln 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 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 escort the president-elect to washington, d.c. that train will leave from illinois on february the 11th of 1861 and pope would later recall the moment he said i became a member, though a very insignificant one, of the party which surrounded and in a sense guarded mr. lincoln and in that wonderful journey, the like of 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 of the district of central missouri in july, 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 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 timidity, to offer a better a better explanation of pope at this moment than treachery, though he 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 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 focus on replacing john c. fremont. who to replace him? that attention is coming from none other than major general henry w. halleck. 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 himself is a very interesting fellow. i'll give you some of the odd jektives that would describe general pope as a person in
1861. gruff, bombastic, foul-mouthed, direct in speech, decisive in actions. blunt, despondent and silent. being a native ohioan myself, i couldn't ignore this quote, from a soldier of the 39th ohio, describing pope in 1861. he said those of you that have 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 pre-existing 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 sight and he's giving serious consideration to resigning his commission. he decides it's perhaps best to pack up his wife, take her to his parents' house and to ride out the pregnancy and the 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, must under the circumstances be so unsettled and uneasy that it fills me with anxiety for her. pope is despondent and silent because he has not been promoted. where is 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 governor of illinois and the treasury rer to get an army commission up to the rank of brigadier general. it's not working. they're applying all this pressure in washington, d.c. and he's getting nowhere in this promotion. he'll lash out at lincoln. he'll stay my self-respect is startled at what i have done and i cannot go farther. mr. lincoln's treatment of me has been so shabby that i would feel almost humiliated today to receive an appointment from him. what an interesting fellow, to say the least. clambering to rise and get a promotion, the opportunity may be there, and, well, too humiliated to accept it. but just several days after he writes about this, pope's star begins to rise once again. he overcomes these setbacks. 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 commission merited promotion.
henry halleck will appoint pope to the command of the army of the mississippi on february 23rd, 1861. halleck would recall hope from his time with his wife in st. louis to give him the command, and he's willing to talk with his wife and assure her that she would be okay in his absence, so he went. pope would be given the command of 25,000 men, his largest command yet, and he's ordered to clear confederate obstacles on the mississippi river. his commanding officer wants to capitalize on grant's recent victories, to move the armies deeper into the confederacy itself. he wants to open the mississippi river as far as memphis and cut off the retreats 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 on march the 14th, and upon so, his commanding officers halleck,
would heap praise on this already very self-confident general. halleck would say i congratulate you and your command on the success which has crowned your toils and exposures. you have given the 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 ten, forcing its vendor on april the 17th, officially opening the mississippi river as far as memphis. pope will receive credit that his campaign was a bloodless victory. he would claim 7,000 prisoners, the capture of the general and 123 pieces of heavy artillery, 35 pieces of field artillery, huge quantities of supplies and ammunition, and the total loss for pope's men during the entirety of this campaign and actions 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 he'll once again rely on what he did following the small victory in blackwater, missouri, in 1861. he will utilize the victory and media coverage thereof to resume his petition to his benefactors in the state of illinois for a regular army promotion. pope will write to those ben factors, he says, you will see from the papers and from general halleck'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 a major 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. his two political ben factors would appeal to lincoln, nonetheless. transfer john pope to regular army. give one of her sons a position in the united states army who has so gloriously achieved the just reward we asked of him. lincoln by this point in time 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. lincoln writes back, i fully appreciate general pope's splendid achievements with 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 cornith. 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. he would disobey halleck's stricture of moving no faster than the other elements of the union army, in this case that command of buhl. he'll also disobey by ordering an attack during the campaign about four miles east itself. this new trait that has emerged, constantly disobeying orders, including, not expelling one of pope's tools to promote himself.
henry halleck had ordered the removal of the media and the press out of the army during the campaign and pope has yet again been insubordinate to his commander's orders. he enjoys boasting of himself and gossiping about himself to the media and the press. it was written that pope no was doubt an able man and a good soldier, but he talked too much of himself. of what he could do and of what he ought to be done and he indulged, contrary to good discipline and all pro priet and very free comments of his superiors and their fellow commanders. in essence, 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've got some books back there for sale at the end of the program this evening. by the middle of june of 1862, june the 19th, to be exact, john pope receives a telegram from the secretary of war, edwin
stanton. stanton sends this to pope. he says if your orders will emit you and you can be absent long enough from your command, i would be glad to see you at washington. when pope receives this from stanton, he's visiting with his family at st. louis at the time. his wife, clara, had just given birth to their first child and pope does not have time right now, or a desire, to go to washington, d.c. he's got time off from an active campaign that has just wrapped up. his wife has just given birth. the family are together in st. louis. he's not interested in going to dc. so pope asks for advice of his friend and superior, henry halleck, about what he should do. and halleck writes back to pope, he says 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 here 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 halleck and pope and pope and stanton, nowhere in there is a reason given why he was 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, throughout june of 1862, pope's men under his command take a moment to reflect on his abilities as their commander, while he had commanded them throughout the recent campaigns. captain carpenter, one day future governor of illinois would write that pope was pugnacious and confident and conceited. i do not think much of general pope as the man, yet i consider him a good general. an orderly said i thought of him as a patriotic and orderly soldier. what i learned about him caused me to believe that he understood his business and attended to it.
general pope possessed the right conception of the american soldier. that is to say he thought the men in the ranks to be the real heroes of the war. and a sergeant in pope's command said he's given to blowing a little, but he's a stirring man and one they fear 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 dc. captain jackson would note of pope's departure that, quote, it is with regret we parted with pope, who for so long a time had held our entire confidence as a commander. but perhaps it was a man by the name of gordon granger that summed up the moment best as pope boards the train to leave saint louis. good-bye, pope, your grave is made. pope arrives to washington, d.c. on june the 24th, to what he
describes an enthusiastic welcome, as it's also reported in the philadelphia inquirer. upon his arrival his wife wrote him a quick note that this moment, this movement out to washington, d.c., this movement, this order, this meeting, was perfectly -- and she was perfectly convinced 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 to her husband, i am almost sure that you now will have banks and perhaps mcdowell's departments and that you will then take the field against jackson. it is possible that you may supersede mcclelland, but i do not, with my present light on the subject, consider it likely. how clairvoyant was pope's wife in that moment. now, on june the 25th, pope has arrived to washington, d.c. and he 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 small chitchat about light hearted topics and that's it. stanton shares no reason to pope one day in dc 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 the 23rd. 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 winfield scott to, quote, ask my views in writing as to further dpis positions to be made. lincoln is traveling to west point to meet with winfield scott to ask scott if pope is capable of commanding several armies in the eastern theatre of
the war. sounds like lincoln's placing a lot of confidence in pope, and that perhaps pope's braggadocios has something to back it up with. scott nor lincoln specifically mentioned pope in this conversation, and the suitability of whether or not he can take this command and any of the accounts that are written down about this meeting, it was certainly discussed. lincoln on his return back from west point has a train stop in new jersey and he shares with the press then why he had gone to west point, and he alludes to the situation that is brewing back in washington, d.c. lincoln said, again, in his folksy way, he said when the birds and animals are looked at in a fog, they are seen to disadvantage. 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 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 rein on the press so that they shall not tell more than they ought to, and i'm afraid that if i blab too much, he might draw tighter on me. lincoln will arrive back to d.c. and on the following day, on june 26th, there will be another meeting between pope and stanton. they'll meet in private chambers in the war department. stanton will finally reveal to pope there's been a fiasco in the shenandoah valley and concedes that they're to blame for all that's developed and come across from this fallout of this most recent campaign in the shenandoah valley. stanton says, look, we made mistakes in the following ways. first of all, we placed political patrons in command of
these armies. we shouldn't did done that. we also shouldn't have tried to regulate their movements from washington, d.c. after these commands were defeated across keys and port republic, stanton and lincoln finally give in to what secretary of the treasury chase has been arguing about for weeks, and what they've been arguing or what he's been arguing is that these two armies in the valley need to be united under one commander. and following the defeats across keys and port republic, lincoln and stanton give in. the genesis for lincoln's trip to west point, the genesis for stanton calling pope east. stanton reveals that there's going to be an objective for this newly created army, several, in fact. he says the first objective to be to protect washington, objective to to protect the shenandoah valley and, three, disrupt the railroad in the neighborhoods of schar lotsville and goredensville. by accomplishing these objectives and particularly
threatening the vital link with the shenandoah valley, the administration, lincoln and stanton, hoped that it would compel the confederates opposite richmond and opposite mcclelland's army, that they would pull away from mcclelland and it would ease mcclelland's way into the city of richmond. stanton tells pope at that moment he's been called east to carry out these objectives and it's at this point in the conversation that stanton stops talking and they just look at each other. and there's this long, awkward silence. stanton finally says to pope, general, you don't seem to approve of the arrangements i have outlined for you. pope responds, mr. secretary, i entirely 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 do certainly 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. for the last 18 months 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, look, you should be flattered that i brought you out here, that i'm offering you this command. and pope says, listen, 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 you want this? so pope begins to explain. he says, first of all, there's three general of these armies 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 thusly be carried to their troops under their command.
so pope continues to explain those things. he'll decide what's best, and at that moment he decides it's not best for him. it's not best for his reputation, it's not best for his command abilities, it's not best for his command in the west. pope would later write at that moment, he said, my assignment to command the army of virginia by the president, occasioned dissatisfaction among a number of officers of high rank, and no doubt a good deal of severe comment was endillnged in. no one stopped to inquire whether it was by my own act or even wish that i came to washington, or whether such transfer of military arrangement was or was not satisfactory to me. i did not desire a transfer. but he had been summoned from another theatre would add to this already tense situation if he was to command these three disparate armies brought
together. pope also tells stanton 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. and for the command he was to be given, he said, quote, it is of a forlorn hope under the most unfavorable conditions possible for success. stanton is unconvinced. he says, okay, i hear your ideas of why you don't want to do this, but i've got 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 he's taking this kman. on june the 27th, pope will soon command the army of virginia. lincoln has chosen pope for political purposes, not for his battlefield abilities. lincoln is not at this point in time ready to relieve general mcclelland. there's other factors going into this decision.
secretary chase and edwin stanton have chosen pope because he will fight a hard, relentless contest unsparing of southern populus, especially in virginia chase is arguing to lincoln and stanton will bringing him east and giving this command primarily on the grounds of policy and doing so with patronage. stanton's sole objective for pope is to humiliate mcclelland. imagine being placed in a 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 of the sub context in mind, and now you're expected to be successful on it. pope demurs again, he says i don't want this position. send me back out west. but then the question comes in at this moment for historical debate, who else would be the right fit at this moment? the lincoln administration needs someone that is outspokenly
republican. pope fits that box. antislavery, check. suggesting using african americans in the federal military service, check. willing to wage a hard war against the civilian populus, check. and a commander that is aggressive. all of these things that mcclelland is not. the new york tribune would note that pope was not the type of man to sit around and wait. he is a man of action, a man of bold dash and bayonet. the philadelphia public ledger would write that pope will bring order out of the chaos in the shenandoah valley and be ready at once for service. now, pope takes command and 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 some advice from pope on how to help mcclelland on the peninsula. mcclelland is screaming for reinforcements. pope is saying all of this is bad news down on the peninsula, and basically tells lincoln and
stanton the reality of the situation. pope says, perhaps the biggest mistake then occurring is mcclelland's withdraw toward the james river, and it's at this moment, for a fourth time, pope says, look, it's a big mistake what mcclelland is doing. if you do not order him to halt his withdraw toward the james river, i would prefer to return to the west. lincoln 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 is 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 fallout 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 [ laughter ] i've always admired stanton's facial hair [ laughter ] >> 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 is in the lowest possible sense, their supply situation is disastrous, there's hardly any cal varry to rely on, most 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 he would issue, including general issues number five, which is going to order the men to live off the land, holding the local citizenry accountable for any damage to railroad tracks, railroad cars, attacks on trains, et cetera, and general orders 11, arresting all male citizens within union army sphere of operations, if you will. all of these things have good effect, if the military proclamation damaged the morale of the army of virginia, soured relationships with mcclelland 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 hennessey, respected historian, would write, quote, that these orders are a calculated outgrowth of the federal government's changing approach to the war. they're made necessary by the failure or, at best, a stalemate
on the battlefield. the goal of these 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 administration against mcclelland 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 made an arrangement with lincoln. he wants mcclelland removed from command. lincoln tells him, nope, not ready to remove him from command. so they make a compromise. pope is actually the one responsible for bringing henry halleck east. he says if you won't remove mcclelland, how about you bring my former commander in the west to supervise the armies in virginia. lincoln agrees, but there's a catch to the compromise.
until halleck gets here, you are my de facto military adviser. pope is going to have to organize his army and prepare for a campaign while he is still stuck in washington, d.c. as he prepares for the second manassas campaign, the objectives for the campaign he is given, given, not his objectives, the objectives he is given are very limited. first objective for this developing campaign for the army of virginia, to cover washington, d.c. number two, oppose and delay the confederate advance to the last extremity, to allow the army of the potomac to make their way to alexandria and fredericks berg and link up with the army of virginia. number three, pope is to attack the critical rail lines and communications. this is going to force lee to send reinforcements away from the confederate capital and he can turn the tide of the campaign on the virginia peninsula.
these challenges, all of these things that pope is fighting against, begin to change him and weigh on him. it was said about pope's challenges on august 4th, he says, how do they expect pope to beat with an inferior force the veterans of jackson. get me in a fighting division with pope's army and i would breathe again. several days into the campaign, however, pope's men are defended at cedar mountain and the defeat and his pulling back from this battlefield surrendered the initiative to robert e. lee. lee will seize the initiative immediately and he'll begin to capitalize on all that it will provide him. as the second manassas campaign continues to unfold, morale on the army of virginia plummets further. many men feel they're being needless any sacrificed, they're not being supported. general orders, number five, living off the land has gotten way out of hand, damaging the
morale to the men in the ranks. the army is hungry. when pope takes command, he fires a very intelligent fellow by the name of herman haught who kept supplies running. by the time is army is almost starving to death, he comes crawling and begging asking him to please come back. now, by the middle of the month of august, pope is beginning to learn that lee's objectives are set upon crushing his army, and 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 this campaign so far, although he has failed tactically at cedar mountain, he's holding of the campaign objectives he's been given. but by august 25th and 26th, pope has gone completely off the rails. the stress of this command, the stress of the objectives, all of that subtext we talked about is
weighing on him heavily. pope is uncertain about lee's intentions by the end of the month. no reinforcements that halleck has been promising him for the last two weeks have arrived. he's receiving no specific orders from halleck or washington telling him what to do next as it relates to his campaign objectives. do so and possible to get in the rear, pursue with following instructions. if possible, attack the enemy in the flank, do so. if possible to get in the rear, pursuant there. what is he supposed to do? by august 26th, pope is already looking at ways to get out of this predicament. the only thing he can think of on the 26th is to towards fredericksburg. but if he retires there, he believes he would be reduced in command. he would be demoted for these actions. the following morning, pope comes up with two other ways to get out of this predicament. he believes one of the things
he could do is, again, retired to fredericksburg, link up with burnside's command, but feels that if he does that his army will be stripped of him, damaging his reputation. he ops for option two, going after individual pieces of the confederate army while they are in transit. and thereby secure my reputation, have my star continue to rise. this leads to the battle at second manassas. pope, admittedly will commit numerous blunders. pope's biographer, peter cousins, will say at times that pope is erratic during the battle. that he has wishful thinking and does not use clear reasoning. he said that pope was choosing to disregard his better judgment. and they are on the field with pope, with wells, would say that pope seems at a loss as what to do. he says he does not know where his own men were.
we all know how the battle of second manassas played out. hope would retreat back to washington d.c. and eventually he would be relieved of command. we move to the end of this program this evening talking about that moment, where everyone in the historiography of 159 years, and even pope's contemporaries, argue that this defeat and his replacement of command to the west ultimately will be his fall from grace in the eyes of the lincoln administration. but it could not be further from the truth. in late august of 1862, as manassas is playing out in virginia, ed wynn stanton is ignoring desperate pleas for help from the governor of minnesota. there is a serious, serious war waging out there. it was the sum dakota war of 1852 and the sioux uprising.
lincoln and stanton have been focusing on virginia. john hey, a private secretary, comes back and tells lincoln that this war is growing more serious. they need help. if pope has lost confidence in lincoln and stanton, as he is being vanished out west, why would you send someone so inept that was defeated at second manassas? to be in charge of a war by themselves? in minnesota? mcclelland goes back to new jersey, not a whole lot going on there. [laughs] they send this guy to another theater of the war. and pope thrives once again. he handles the dakota war of 1862 with brilliance. he will continue to have his star rise throughout the rest of 1863 into 1864.
he continues to impress all of his superiors to the point that, as the opening movements of the opening overland campaign begin, pope congratulates grant and councils grant on how to deal with the situation in the west. it does not sound like someone who has lost faith and confidence from the higher echelons of the military or lincoln administration. over the next years, pope is going to continue to rise in prominence. hope will re-write how the united states government deals with indian affairs in the 18 60s and 18 70s. in addition, jon pope is going to be asked about his stance on overhauling the american military system by the 18 70s. pope says that the military system for the last 100 years had largely been based on the
british model, based largely itself on aristocracy. he is exactly right. hope will begin to issue a number of changes that will radically change the armed forces in the country. popstar continues to rise. at one point, in pope's command, i want to share you with you, pope takes command of the missouri. he is in command of 41,000 men and has the largest geographic command in the united states. is this someone who star has fallen? in march of 1865, he asked for the department of arkansas to his command, and with that, pope is now in command of half 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 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 from the military in 1856. his wife had passed away and he rarely left the house after that. but in september, of 1892, he went to send dusky ohio, to visit with his brother-in-law, manning force, who is then the commandant of the ohio soldiers and sailors hub. after dinner, when evening, pope passed away in his sleep. the onsite surgeon said that the cause of death was a breakdown of his nervous system. letting loose all the vital force, which has been properly styled, nervous postulation. he would be buried with full mid-terry honors. the war department, by the 18
70s and 18 80s, had started to turn their thoughts about pope as the minor affair with fits john porter continued to plague his legacy. at second manassas. and and so the spokesman for the war department closes an eminently useful, patriotic and distinguished career of nearly half a century of service to the country. we titled the program today the reluctant rise and the unavoidable fall of john pope. this ambitious man of 1861, flat out told lincoln, this is not the command for me, this is not the command that can carry out the objectives you want to give it. but yet he was forced to take that position. he did the best he could with it and clearly made mistakes in the second manassas campaign. and became practically unraveled during the battle itself. but his fall from grace was not as far as the historiography would tell you.
upon the pope's death, the editors of the army and navy journal perhaps summed up his contribution, trying to restore his reputation of that fall from second manassas. that's how we will close the program this evening. they wrote, quote, military critics may dispute the general capacity of armies in the field. none, however, it can deny that he was a faithful servant of his country, a patriot and a scholar. deserving of the fullest commendation in a place in the hearts of his countryman with those whose ultimate success make them the foremost of the leaders of their time. we thank you. [applause] >> we have time for a few
questions. please introduce yourself and let us know where you are from. >> -- [inaudible] i wanted to find out your opinion, if you thought that 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 seven-page letter definitely puts him on the agenda of lincoln, keeping in mind, keeping his name there for future promotions. i think it's a myth. i think pope had some political aspirations. and political connections that would make his connections related politically, as we heard from chase and stanton. but clearly, pope is a pretty good officer. has a very good understanding of how to wage war. and be successful in the west.
obviously he has a setback at second manassas. but upon his return, he really overhauls the way the government deals with indian affairs, not only to quell of the indian raids and wars that are waging out there, but also to overhaul the military system in the post civil war area. i think it's a 50/50 balance. he is definitely a capable officer, but he also has some of those political connections to help his promotions. >> other questions? >> excellent presentation. i'm kind of curious, in your opinion, who was the author's of general orders five, seven or 11? >> there were some 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 and the fallout affects of those orders. when it comes down to the military proclamation, many believe that general stanton had dictated a large portion of the military proclamation -- there are also accounts that lincoln review the proclamation before pope made it public. those same sources point back to general orders five, seven and 11. that pope is not necessarily 100% of the mastermind behind those orders. i think the truth lies somewhere in between. certainly, pope isn't issuing these orders without somebody knowing their context. whether that be stanton or lincoln or at least how like. at the very, very least. but i would definitely say the war department and lincoln had input on those orders. >> [inaudible]
anybody? ask your question. >> general lee has nothing but contempt for pope. was that well-founded? >> 100%. it's all a fallout result of that military proclamation. when that military proclamation comes out, it leaves robert e. lee to make the famous statement, labeling pope a miscreant. and it's at that point many historians will argue that that pope's command becomes louise objective. lee may have had other plans for 1862, but upon that hope's leads primary objective. we will wipe popes army off the map and get this miscreant out of virginia and then deal with mcclelland's army back on the peninsula. >> thank you. [applause]
an ex speaker is tom mcmillon. he is a lifelong student of the history and the civil war. up until this year he has previously published two books. flight 93, the story, the aftermath and the legacy of american cover courage on 9/11. and gettysburg, -- he came home to fight confederate soldiers and that is actually one accounting to literary award. we have announced today, his newest
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN3 Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on