Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pope on McClellan

Message Pope to Halleck, September 3, 1862.
[Pope has just returned to Alexandria and is upset at McClellan's "Treachery"]
I do not exactly understand my status here. Will you ask the general, so I may know. Does McClellan command on this side of the river or do his functions only extend to designating the positions to be occupied by the troops arriving from Centreville? Everybody in this army considers him responsible for the failure to send forward Sumner and Franklin and Cox or anybody else, and for the inefficient condition in which they did arrive, without artillery and with only 40 rounds of ammunition. There is, and can be, no good feeling here under these circumstances. Beg the general, if nothing else can be done, to command himself. It is easy to do so from Washington, as the telegraph lines are all.

Message Pope to Halleck ,September 5, 1862.
[Pope has been relieved and informed McClellan in Charge]

DEAR GENERAL: I must again ask your attention to the condition of things in this army. By the present arrangement you are doing me more injury than my worst enemy could do. It is understood, and acted on, that I am deprived of my command, and that it is assigned to McClellan. An order defining his exact status here as well as my own is Necessary at once. I send you an official protest against his action.

Letter Pope to Halleck ,September 30, 1862.
[Pope writes Halleck from St. Paul MN, where is he was sent to fight Indians]

I begin, then, by saying that in my judgment every sense of justice and fair dealing, as well as a sense of deep personal obligation should have impelled you to sustain me against the machinations of McClellan and his parasites, knowing well, as you did, that the result of the late campaign in Virginia was directly due to the neglect of duty (to call it by no worse name) of these very men.

It may be, and doubtless was, true that considering the relations between myself and McClellan and many of his followers who held high commands in that army, it was better to change the commander of the armies around Washington, but this fact did not necessitate nor justify, in view of the facts in your possession, that McClellan should be thus advanced nor that I should be banished to a remote and unimportant command.

A great and fatal mistake for the country as for yourself was committed when he was thus assigned. If you had sustained me as I had every reason to expect, and did expect you would do, you would have had a warm and earnest friend, as I had always been. By yielding to and advancing McClellan you have only put into the hands of an enemy a club to beat your own brains out with. You can never be forgiven for occupying the place you do. You of course do not imagine McClellan to be your friend in any sense. Every motive a man can have he has to displace you from your position, which is a constant reproach and humiliation to him. Neither he nor his clique will omit any means to destroy you. Having at your own urgent request and from a sense of duty laid before the Government the conduct of McClellan, Porter, and Griffin, and substantiated the facts stated by their own written documents,

Letter Pope To Halleck October 20, 1862
[Pope's response to Halleck's reply to the 9-30-62 letter]
...Why are McClellan,, and Griffin retained in high commands with such charges of treachery and baseness hanging over them? Do you not believe these charges true? Are they not substantiated to your satisfaction by the papers attached to the report containing them? Did not both you and the President know before the battles at Manassas, from Porter’s intercepted dispatches, that he was likely to do precisely what he did? The President himself told me so. I would not care to press these charges if the Government would only do me the barest justice

It is now too late to set matters right by a court, which has been long enough delayed to allow the full impression to be made against me. You assume that I confine my charges to Porter and Griffin. My report tells another story. The greatest criminal is McClellan, and my charge is direct and lain against him.

You say that I “complain” that McClellan was placed in command of the army in Maryland. I think the expression misplaced. I said that facts in your possession did not “justify” it. He is under grave charges of neglect and abandonment of the Army of Virginia. He should never have been placed in command of anything under such circumstances. You know that he failed to do his duty, and I am glad that you deny having had anything to do with his assignment to that command.

Letter Pope to Halleck November 7, 1862
[Pope won't let go of the Bone and continues the correspondence]
...One of the great points made against me and ill favor of McClellan’s that he took an army which had been defeated and demoralized under my command and immediately marched against the same enemy and defeated him at South Mountain and Antietam. I presume it is unnecessary to tell you that the only troops of the Potomac Army which ever drew triggers under my command were the army corps of Heintzelman and Porter, and the Reserves, under Reynolds, numbering, all told, about 21,000 men. Of these one-half was commanded by Porter, who did nothing. lleintzelman, Sigel, and Banks were left in the entrenchments’ at Washington. McDowell’s corps, numbering about11,000, and Porter’s corps, unhurt by any actions or operations under my command, were the only portions of the force ever engaged with me that McClellan took with him. They did not number over 21,000 all told, of whom Porter’s whole corps was kept carefully out of action inMaryland.• Of a piece with this falsehood is the one stating that I had lost numbers01 wagons, &c.; utterly and wholly false. My wagon trains were always out of the way and the enemy at no time pressed upon me. No wagons were reported lost to me except some 20 or 30, broken-down, between Centreville and Fairfax Court-House, which I sent back for on Tuesday morning whilst my whole force was at Fairfax Court-House. A report of the quartermaster- in charge will exhibit this, and ought to accompany the official reports of corps commanders.

I say to you, in all views, that unless the Government would have great embarrassment in the future, the whole of McClellan’s career should be laid bare. The overt act at Alexandria, during the engagements near Centreville, can be fully substantiated by letters from many officers since I have been here, it is quite certain that my defeat was predetermined, and I think you must now be conscious of it. You remember that I expressed to you before I entered Virginia my conviction that McClellan would not co-operate with me, nor in factwith any other man, under such circumstances.

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