Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Washington, thought it was better that the Army of the Potomac, under Pope, should not be re-enforced, and be defeated, than that the garrisons should be subjected to the slightest inconvenience!

The answer of General Halleck to the telegrams of General McClellan, in which the latter made so many propositions about the movements of Sumner's Corps and the disposition of Cox's force and the other troops for the defence of Washington, is as follows:

WAR DEPARTMENT,

WASHINGTON, D. C., August 29th, 1862. Your proposed disposition of Sumner's Corps seems to me judicious. Of courso I have no time to examine into details. The present danger is a raid upon Washington in the night time. Dispose of all troops as you deem best. I want Franklin's Corps to go far enough to find out something about the enemy. Perhaps he may get such information at Anandale as to prevent his going further. Otherwise, he will push on towards Fairfax. Try to get something from direction of Manassas either by telegrams or through Franklin's scouts. Our people must move actively and find out where the enemy is. I am tired of guesses.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief. Major-General MCCLELLAN, Alexandria.

It is in this dispatch that General McClellan finds his authority to halt Franklin at Anandale. Franklin had been repeatedly ordered to join Pope, but had been delayed by McClellan, who evidently did not intend he should get beyond his control if possible.

In his telegram to Halleck of 1 P. M. of the 29th, he asks if he

may do as seems to him best with all the troops in the vicinity of Alexandria, including Franklin-Franklin being still in the vicinity of Alexandria. Halleck, in giving him authority to dispose of all troops in his vicinity evidently refers to the disposition to be made of those for the forts and defences, for he proceeds to say, I want “ Franklin's Corps to go far enough to find out something about the enemy."

Franklin's Corps did not go out far enough to learn any thing about the enemy. What he learned he picked up at Anandale from citizens, and probably from Banks's wagon-train, which passed him as it came from the front, which it seems it was able to do with safety at the time McClellan considered it too hazardous for 40,000 men to move to the front to join

the army.

It is unnecessary to pursue this matter any further, and show, as might easily be done, how similar delays were procured with respect to other troops which might have been sent to re-enforce Pope. It is sufficient to say that forty thousand men, exclusive of Burnside's force, were thus—as it seems to us intentionally—withheld from Pope at the time he was engaged in holding the army of Lee in check.

Having thus disposed of the question of re enforcements, it now remains to say a word about supplies which General McClellan says he left nothing undone to forward to Pope.

When at Fort Monroe he telegraphed (August 21st, 10. 52 P. m.):

I have ample supplies of ammunition for infantry and artillery, and will have it up in time. I can supply any deficiency that may exist in General Pope's army.

August the 30th (1.45 P. m.), General Halleck telegraphed him :

Ammunition, and particularly for artillery, must be immediately sent forward to Centreville for General Pope.

To which he replied :

I know nothing of the calibres of Pope's artillery. All I can do is to direct my ordnance officer to load up all the wagons sent to him.

General McClellan might have very easily found out those calibres. His ordnance officer knew those of the corps of his own army, and he was in telegraphic communication with the ordnance officer in Washington, where a register is kept of all the batteries in service.

What was his course with respect to supplies of forage and subsistence, of which Pope's army was in such extreme need ?

He directed Franklin to say to Pope he would send him out supplies if he, Pope, would send back cavalry to escort them out! “Such a request," (says Pope in his dispatch of 5 A. M., August 30), “when Alexandria is full of troops, and I fighting the enemy,

needs no comment."

and a

The Army of the Potomac, under General Pope, was defeated and driven back upon Washington. But it had contested every inch of the ground, and had fonght every battle with a gallantry and tenacious courage that would have insured a decisive viciory if it had been properly and promptly supported. It was not broken, either in spirit or in organization; and it fell back upon the Capital prepared to renew the struggle for its salvation.

By this time, however, General McClellan had become the recognized head of a political party in the country, military clique in the army; and it suited the purposes of both to represent the defeat of the Army of the Potomac as due to the fact that General McClellan was no longer at its head. The progress of the rebel army, moreover, up the Potomac, with the evident intention of moving upon Baltimore or into Pennsylvania, had created a state of feeling throughout the country and in Washington eminently favorable to the designs of General McClellan's partisans; and upon the urgent but unjust representation of some of his officers that the

army

would not serve under any other commander, General Pope was relieved, and General McClellan again placed at the head of the Army of the Potoinac, and on the 4th of September he commenced the movement into Maryland to repel the invading rebel forces.

On the 11th, he made urgent application for re-enforce

join him.

ments, asking that Colonel Miles be withdrawn from Harper's Ferry, and that one or two of the three army corps on the Potomac, opposite Washington, be at once sent to

“ Even if Washington shonld be taken,” he said, “ while these armies are confronting each other, this would not in my judgment bear comparison with the ruirt and disaster that would - follow a single defeat of this army,” although, as will be remembered, when that army was under Pope, and engaged in a battle which might destroy it, he had said (Aug. 27), “ I think we should first provide for the defence of the Capital.” General Halleck replied that “the capture of Washington would throw them back six months if not destroy them,” and that Miles could not join him until communications were opened. On the 14th, the battle of South Mountain took place, the rebels falling back to the Potomac, and on the 17th, the battle of Antietam was fought, resulting in the defeat of the rebel forces, although no pursuit was made, and they were allowed, during the night and the whole of the next day, quietly to withdraw their shattered forces to the other side of the Potomac. The losses he had sustained and the disorganization of some of his commands were assigned by General McClellan as his reason for not renewing the attack, although the corps of General Fitz-Jobn Porter had not been brought into action at all. Orders were issued, however, for a renewal of the battle on the 19th, but it was then suddenly discovered that the enemy was on the other side of the Poto

General McClellan did not feel authorized on account of the condition of his army to cross in pursuit, and on the 23d, wrote to Washington, asking for re-enforcements, renewing the application on the 27th, and stating his purpose to be to hold the army where it was, and to attack the

should he attempt to recross into Maryland. He thought that only the troops necessary to garrison Washington should be retained there, and that every thing else available should be sent

enemy

mac.

to him. If re-enforced and allowed to take his own course, he said, he would be responsible for the safety of the Capital.

On the 1st of October, President Lincoln visited the army and made careful inquiry into its strength and condition. On the 6th, he issued the following order for an immediate advance":

men.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 6, 1862. I am instructed to telegraph to you as follows: The President directs that you cross the Potomac and give battle to the enemy, or drive him south. Your army must move now, while the roads are good. If you cross the river between the enemy and Washington, and cover the latter by your operation, you can be re-enforced with thirty thousand

If you move up the valley of the Shenandoah not more than twelve or fifteen thousand can bo sent you. The President advises the interior line betwcen Washington and the enemy, but does not order it. He is very desirous that your army move as soon as possible. You will immediately report what line you adopt, and when you intend to cross the river : also to what point the re-enforcements are to be sent. It is necessary that the plan of your operations be positively determined on, before orders are given for building bridges and repairing railroads. I am directed to add, that the Secretary of War and the General-inChief fully concur with the President in these instructions.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief. Major-General MOCLELLAN.

On receiving this order, Gen. McClellan inquired as to the character of troops that would be sent him, and as to the number of tents at command of the army. He also called for very large quantities of shoes, clothing, and other supplies, and said that without these the army could not move. On the 11th, the rebel Gen. Stuart, with a force of about 2,500 men, made a raid into Pennsylvania, going completely round our army, and thwarting all the arrangements by which Gen. McClellan bad reported that his capture was certain. On the 13th, in consequence of his protracted delays, the President addressed to General McClellan the following letter:

« AnteriorContinuar »