Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

. (page 24 of 46)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 24 of 46)
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enemy were pressing with a powerful army, and whose head
quarters were then at Warrenton Junction. A portion of the


Army of the Potomac which arrived before General McClellan,
had at once gone forward to the aid of Pope ; of those which
arrived after him, or which were at Alexandria when he ar
rived, not one reached the field or took any part in the bat
tles by which the army was saved from destruction, and the
capital from capture.

The extent to which General McClellan, who had the
" entire direction of the sending of these re-enforcements," was
responsible for this result, is a matter of so much importance,
not only to himself and the Government, but to the whole
country, as to demand a somewhat detailed examination.

In his Report of August 4th, 1863, after giving a portion
only of the correspondence between himself and the Govern
ment on this subject, General McClellan Bays :

It will be seen from what has preceded that I lost no time that could
be avoided in moving the Army of the Potomac from tho Peninsula to
the support of the Army of Virginia ; that I spared no effort to hasten
the embarkation of the troops at Fort Monroe, Newport News, and
Yorktown, remaining at Fort Monroe myself until the mass of the army
had sailed ; and that after my arrival at Alexandria, I left nothing in my
power undone to forward supplies and re-cnforcenietits to General Pope. I
sent, with troops that moved, all the cavalry I could get hold of. Even
my personal escort was sent out upon the line of the railway as a guard,
with the provost and camp guards at head-quarters, retaining less than
one hundred men, many of whom were orderlies, invalids, members of
bands, &c. All the head-quarters teams that arrived were sent out with
supplies and ammunition, none being retained even to move the head
quarters camp. The squadron that habitually served as my personal
escort was left at Falmouth with General Burnside, as he was deficient
in cavalry.

Before taking up more important matters, it may be well to
remark, that as General McClellan was in the city of Alex
andria, and not in any way exposed to personal danger, it is
difficult to appreciate the merit he seems to make of yielding
up his personal escort, provost and carnp guards, and head
quarter baggage teams, when he had no use for them himself,


and when they were needed for the purpose for which they are
maintained operating against the enemy, and that too in a
pressing emergency. Even as it was, he seems to have retained
rtearlv a hundred, many of whom he says were orderlies, etc.,
etc., around his person.

Leaving this personal matter, we come to the important
question Is it true that General McClellan left, as he avers,
nothing undone in his power to forward supplies and re-en
forcements to General Pope s Army? Did he, on this
momentous occasion, honestly and faithfully do his whole duty
in this respect, without any personal aims, or any jealousy, and
with the single eye to the success of our arras, and the honor,
welfare, and glory of the nation ?

He had been repeatedly urged to hurry forward the troops
from the Peninsula. On the 9th of August, he was informed
by General llalleck that " the enemy is massing his forces in
front of General Pope and Burnside to try and crush them
and move forward to the Potomac ;" and was further told :
" considering the amount of transportation at your disposal,
your delay is not satisfactory. You must move with all
celerity 1

Again on the 10th, General Halleck informed him that " the
enemy is crossing the Rapidan in large force. They are fight
ing General Pope to-day. There must be no further delay in
your movements : that which has already occured was entirely
unexpected, and must be satisfactorily explained. Let not a
moment s time be lost, and telegraph me daily what progress
you have made in executing the order to transfer your troops."
Again on the 21st, he was told "the forces of Burnside and
Pope are hard pushed and require aid as rapidly as you can.
By all means see that the troops sent have plenty of ammuni
tion. We have no time to supply them ; moreover, they may
have to fight as soon as they land."

Whether or not the delays of General McClellan were ex-


cusable, tliose telegrams must have sho\vn him, if proof were
necessary, the emergency in which Pope was placed, and that
the concentration of the two armies was not being effected in
the time expected, and as a consequence that Pope was in a
- critical position, needing immediate help to save his army from
defeat. Jt was under these circumstances that General
McClellan left the Peninsula.

When he reached Aquia on the 24th, under most positive
and pressing orders from Washington, General Pope, who had
been holding the line of the Rappahannock for nearly a week
against the assaults of Lee s whole army, and keeping up com
munication with Fredericksburg, so as to receive the re-en
forcements McClellan had been ordered to send up from the
Peninsula finding these re-enforcements not coming by water
to join his left as fast as Lee inarched by land around his
right, and that his right, though stretched to Waterloo Bridge,
had been turned and his rear threatened, had been obliged to
throw back his right first to Warrenton, and then to Gainesville,
and his left and centre from Rappahannock and Sulphur
Springs, to Warrenton Junction, Bristol and Manassas. Gen
eral McClellan knew on the 24th, when at Aquia, of the
abandoning of Rappahannock Station, and of Pope s having
broken his communication with Fredericksburg, and himself
reported the facts to General Halleck.

August 2Gth, General Halleck ordered General McClellan
from Aquia to Alexandria, and told him " General Franklin s
Corps" which had arrived at Alexandria, " will march as soon
as it receives transportation."

General Pope had, when his line was stretched from below
Rappahannock Station to beyond Warrenton, asked that
Franklin s Corps might be sent out to take post on his right at
Gainesville, to which there was transportation by turnpike and
railroad, to guard against what afterwards happened, the
movement of the enemy through that place, on his rear. The


failure to have that corps at that place or in the action at all,
was one of the chief causes of Pope s failure. Why was

August 27th, as already stated, General McClellan was
directed " to take entire direction of the sending out of the
troops from Alexandria." On the same day he was informed
of the position of Pope s head-quarters ; of that of most of
Pope s forces; of where Pope wished re-enforcements sent
him Gainesville ; and that Fitz John Porter, then under Pope,
reported a battle imminent. At 10 A. M. on that day, he was
told by Halleck, " that Franklin s Corps should march in that
direction (Manassas) as soon as possible ; and again at 12 p. M.,
ho was further told by Halleck that "Franklin s Corps should
move out by forced marches, carrying three or four days 1 pro
visions, and to be supplied as far as possible by Railroad"

It is well to bear in mind these explicit orders, and the cir
cumstances tinder which, and the object for which they were
given, for General McClellan either seems to have forgotten
them, or to have utterly failed to appreciate their importance.
A battle reported by his favorite general, Fitz-John Porter, as
imminent, within cannon sound of where he was, the road
to the battle-field, a wide, straight, Macadam turnpike, well-
known to both General McClellan and General Franklin, as each
had been over it more than once, the whole of the enemy
and army which had been pressing Pope since the 9th, now
concentrating to overwhelm him, here one would think, was
every motive for him to do, as he claims to have done, every
thing in his power to send re-enforcements forward, and to
send them instantly.

Why was it then, that, at 7.15 p. M., on the 29th, more than
two days after the order for it to go by forced marches to re-
enforce an army engaged in battle, Franklin s Corps was still
at Anandale, about seven miles from Alexandria, and Franklin
himself in Alexandria? General Halleck says it was all con-


trary to his orders, and McClellan acknowledges himself " re
sponsible for both these circumstances."

In the meantime, Pope s forces fought the battles of the
27th, 28th, and 29th, and were now to fight that of the 30th
without Franklin s help. Why was this ? Were the orders to
send Franklin out countermanded ? General Halleck says they
were not. As it is never just to judge a person by the light
obtained after the fact, let us see, so far as the correspond
ence enables us, what were the different phases of the case as
they presented themselves at the time.

The intimation to McClellan on the 26th, that Franklin was
to go to the front, was followed by the positive orders of the
27th, given at 10 A. M. and 12 M. On that day General Mc
Clellan reports that Generals Franklin, Smith, and Slocum are
all in Washington ; and that he had given orders to place
the corps in readiness to march to the next in rank. At the
same time, he reports heavy firing at Centreville.

On the 28th, Halleck, learning that McClellan, who it seems
had also gone to Washington, had not returned to Alexandria,
sent orders to Franklin direct, to move with his corps that day
(the 28th) towards Manassas Junction. On the 28th, at 3.30
p. M., Halleck informs McClellan that " not a moment must be
lost in pushing as large a force as possible towards Manassas
so as to communicate with Pope before the enemy is re-en-
forced." On the same day, at 7.40 P. M., he again tells him :

" There must be no further delay in moving Franklin s Corps towards
Manassas. They must go to-morrow morning ready or not ready. If we
delay too long to get ready, there will be no necessity to go at all, for
Pope will either be defeated or victorious without our aid. If there is
a want of wagons, the men must carry provisions with them till the
wagons come to their relief."

There is no possible room for misunderstanding the inten
tion of the General-in-Chief from these orders. He wished,


and ordered, that communication should be at once re-estab
lished with Pope, and Pope re-enforced in time to be of service.

Why did not McClellan re-establish the communication, and
re-enforce Pope in time to be of service ? Why did he halt
Franklin s Corps at Anandale ?

He gives reasons for this in his telegram to Halleck of
August 29th. "By referring to my telegrams," he says, "of
10.30 A. M., 12 M., and 1 p. M., together with your reply of
2.48 r. M., you will see why Franklin s Corps halted at Anan
dale." Let us examine these telegrams in connection with the
circumstances then existing. The first is follows :

August 29, 10.30 A. M. [

" Franklin s Corps are in motion ; started about six A. M. I can give
him but two squadrons of cavalry. I propose moving General Cox
to Upton s Hill to hold that important point with its works, and to push
cavalry scouts to Vienna via Freeman Hill and Hunter s lane. Cox has
two squadrons of cavalry. Please answer at once whether this meets
your approval. I have directed Woodbury, with the Engineer Brigade,
to hold Fort Lyon. Sumner detached last night two regiments to the
vicinity of Forts Ethan Allen and Marcy. Meagher s Brigade is still at
Aquia. If Sumnermoves in support of Franklin, it leaves us without any
reliable troops in and near Washington ; yet Franklin is too weak alone.
"What shall be done ? No more cavalry arrived. Have but three squad
rons belonging to the Army of the Potomac. Franklin has but forty
rounds of ammunition, and no wagons to move more. I do not think
Franklin is in a condition to accomplish much if he meets strong resist
ance. / should not have moved him but for your pressing orders of last
night. What have you from Vienna and Drainsville ?

GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Major- General.

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

To this Halleck replies :

12. f

WASHINGTON, D. C., August 29, 18G2.
Upton s Hill arrangement all right. We must send wagons and am
munition to Franklin as fast as they arrive. Meagher s Brigade ordered


up yesterday. Fitzhugh Lee was, it is said on good authority, in Alex
andria on Sunday last for three hours. I hear nothing from Drainsville.

H. "W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

"Major-General McCLELLAN, Alexandria.

To this McClellan sends the second of the dispatches he re
fers to, as follows. There are two telegrams of the same date.

August 29, 1862, 12 M. f

Your telegram received. Do you wish the movement of Franklin s
Corps to continue f He is without reserve ammunition, and without
transportation. GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Ma/or- General.

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

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, Aug. 29, 18(52, 12 M. f

Have ordered most of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry to report to
General Barnard for scouting duty toward Rockville, Poolesville, etc.
If you apprehend a raid of cavalry on your side of river, I had better
send a brigade or two of Sumner s to near Tennallytown. "Would it
meet your views to post rest of Sumner s Corps between Arlington and
Fort Corcoran, where they can either support Cox, Franklin, Chain Bridge,
and even Tennallytown ?

Franklin has only 10,000 to 11,000 ready for duty. How far do you
wish the force to advance %

GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Maj.-Gen. U. S. Army.
Major-General HALLECK. General-in-Chief.

Then follows the telegram of 1 p. M. :



August 29, 1SG2, 1 p. M.

I anxiously await reply to my last dispatch in regard to Sumner.
Wish to give order at once. Please authorize me to attach new regiments
permanently to my old brigades. I can do much good to old and new
troops in that way. I shall endeavor to hold a line in advance of Forts
Allen and Marsh, at least with strong advanced guards. I wish to
hold the line through Prospect Hill, Marshall s, Miner s, and Hall s
Hills. This will give us timely warning. Shall I do as seems best to me
with all the troops in this vicinity, including Franklin, who I retilly think
oufjht not, under the present circumstances, to proceed beyond Anandale ?

G. B. MCCLELLAN, Major- General.

General HALLECK, General-in-Chief,


It certainly is not easy to discover in these dispatches any
indications of a strong desire to re-enforce the Army of the
Potomac, then fighting a battle in his front and within his
hearing, but under another commander. They evince no
special interest in the result of that battle, or the fate of that
army the army for which, while under his command, he had
expressed so much affection, and whose defeat he afterwards
declared, when he was again at its head, would be incompar
ably more disastrous to the nation than the capture of Wash
ington itself. We find in these dispatches, which he cites in his
own vindication, no evidence to sustain the declaration of his
report, that from the moment of his arrival at Alexandria he
" left nothing in his power undone to forward supplies and re-
enforcements to Gen. Pope." On the contrary, they seem to
show that he had decided to do, what in a telegram of the
same date he had suggested to the President, " leave Pope to
get out of his scrape" and devote himself exclusively to the
safety of Washington.* He thinks any disposition of Frank
lin s and Simmer s troops wise, except sending them forward,
to re-enforce Pope. He is anxious to send them to Upton s
Hill, to Chain Bridge, to Tennallytown, to Arlington, and Fort
Corcoran anywhere and everywhere except where they were
wanted most, and where alone they could assist in getting

* On the 29th he had telegraphed to the President as follows :

I am clear that one of two courses should be adopted : First, to con
centrate all our available forces to open communications with Pope ;
second, to leave Pope to get out of his scrape, and at once use all our means
to make the capital perfectly safe. N"o middle ground will now answer.
Tell me what you wish me to do, and I will do all in my power to
accomplish it.

To this the President had thus replied :

WASHINGTON, August 29, 1862 4.10 p. M.

Yours of to-day just received. I think your first alternative, to wit,
" to concentrate all our available forces to open communication with
Pope" is the right one, but I wish not to control. That I now leave
to General Halleck, aided by your counsels. A. LINCOLN.

.Major-General McCLBLLAN.


Pope " out of his scrape," and in saving the Army of the
Potomac. It was natural and proper that he should give at
tention to the defence of Washington, for he had, as Gen.
Ilalleck says, " general authority over all the troops" that
were defending it. But his special duty was " sending out
troops from Alexandria to re-enforce Pope." Why did he
give so much attention to the former, and so little to the
latter duty ? Why was it that, from the time of his landing
at Alexandria, not another man of his army joined Pope, or
made a diversion in his favor, till after Pope had fallen back
from Manassas and fought four battles without the aid he had
a right to expect, and which Gen. McClellan was repeatedly
and peremptorily ordered to give ?

Those of McClellan s forces which had reached Alexandria
before him, or were there before his arrival, Sturgis, Kearney,
Hooker, and Heintzelman, had all gone forward and joined in
these battles. Why could not Franklin all of whose move
ments were controlled by McClellan do as much with him
as his brother commanders had done without him ?

The first thing that McClellan did, on reaching Alexandria,
in the discharge of his duties to send forward troops, was to
stop those actually going! In his dispatch of August 27th,
9 o clock P. M., he says to General Ilalleck " I found part
of Cox s command under orders to take the cars : will halt
it with Franklin until morniny /" , And Cox never went out,
though anxiously expected and under orders to move. What
are the reasons given by McClellan for not sending, or not
permitting Franklin to go? On the 27th, at 11.15 P. M.,
immediately after the positive order was issued for Franklin
to move by forced marches and carry three or four days pro
visions, McClellan says :

"Franklin s artillery has no horses except for four guns without cais
sons. I can pick up no cavalry. * * I do not see that we have force
enough in hand to form a connection with Pope, whose exact position
we do not know."


A part of the perplexity lie seems to have been in was
removed that day at 6 o clock, p. M., when he received, as he
says, a copy of a dispatch from Pope to Halleck, in which
Pope says : " All forces now sent forward should be sent to
my right at Gainesville."

The next day, at 1 P. M., he telegraphs,

" I have been doing all possible to hurry artillery and cavalry. The
moment Franklin can be started with a reasonable amount of artilkry Tie
shall go."

Again, at 4.40 of the 28th, he telegraphs,

General Franklin is with me here. I will know in a few moments
the condition of artillery and cavalry. We are not yet in a condition to
move ; may be by to-morrow morning.

A few moments later, he says :

Your dispatch received. Neither Franklin s nor Sumner s Coips is
now in condition to move and fight a battk. It would be a sacrifice to
send them out now ! I have sent aids to ascertain the condition of
Colonel Tyler : but I still think that a premature movement in small force
will accomplish nothing but the destruction of the troops sent out."

The small force (?) to which he refers consisted, as hereto
fore stated, of Sumner s Corps of 14,000 and Franklin s of
11,000, a total of 25,000 not going to fight a battle by itself,
but to re-enforce an army already engaged, and constituting
certainly a handsome re-enforcement on any field. On the 29th,
he says :

Franklin has but forty rounds of ammunition and no wagons to move
more. I do not think Franklin is in a condition to accomplish much if
he meets strong resistance. I should not havo moved him but for your
pressing orders of last night.

On this same day

Do you wish the movement of Franklin s Corps to continue f He is with
out reserve ammunition and without transportation.


It may bo remarked here, that Franklin had not yet gone
beyond Anandale about seven miles and had as yet, neither
come upon the enemy or joined the army in front, nor gained
any information about either. If, therefore, his movement
was not to continue, it must be because it was too hazardous,
or because he had no reserve ammunition or transportation.

So, it seems, it was Gen. McClellan s judgment that Frank
lin could not be sent, as soon as he landed, to re- enforce
Pope because, 1st, he had his artillery only partially mounted;
2d, he had no cavalry ; 3d, he had but forty rounds of am
munition, and no transportation for more. The subsequent
difficulties were, that he had no transportation for his reserve
ammunition, and was too weak alone, and Sumner ought not
to be sent to support him, as it would leave the Capital un
protected !

It is fortunate some of McClellan s corps preceded him from
the Peninsula, and arrived and marched before he came up.
For, if not, two of the corps who joined Pope and fought
under him would have been halted for the reasons that stayed
Franklin. Kearney joined without artillery, and Pope ordered
two batteries to be given him ; Porter had but forty rounds
of ammunition Heintzelman joined without cavalry.

Why, may it be asked, were " neither Sumner s nor Frank
lin s Corps in a condition to move and fight a battle?"
McClellan had been told that in embarking his troops he
must see they were supplied with ammunition, " as they
might have to fight as soon as they landed." The men were
not fatigued by hard marches, nor exhausted with fighting
and lack of food, as were their companions in front. What
was there to prevent their going to re-enforce them, but the
orders and pretexts for delay of General McClellan ?

It will have been noticed that lack of transportation was at
the bottom of the alleged difficulties. Transportation was not
required for supplies, for the men were ordered to carry their


food with them. Is it not strange that, in view of the emergency
of the case, some extraordinary means were not resorted to to
impress horses and wagons if none existed in the hands of the
Government in the cities of Alexandria, Georgetown, and
Washington, where there was an abundance of both ?
Such things have been done even in this war, on much less
important occasions than this one.

But will not this plea seem stranger still when it is found
that there w r as no need of pressing any private property
into service that there was plenty of public transportation
on hand ? Let the following dispatch show :


WASHINGTON, D. C., August 30th, 1862. J

I am by no means satisfied with General Franklin s march of yester
day, considering the circumstances of the case. He was very -wrong in
stopping at Alexandria. Moreover, I learned last night that the Quarter
master s Department would have given him plenty of transportation if he had
applied for it any time since his arrival at Alexandria. Ho knew tho
importance of opening communication with General Pope s army, and
should have acted more promptly.

H. "W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
Major-General McCLELLAX, Alexandria.

But most strange of all is, that General McClellan knew of
there being public transportation at hand, and yet did not use
it, even when the fate of a campaign depended upon it, and
afterwards assigned the want of it as the reason for not obey
ing his orders to send re-enforcements. He says, in his dis
patch of August 30, to Gen. Pope :

The quartermasters here (Alexandria) said there was none dispos
able. The difficulty seems to consist in the fact (he adds), that the greater
part of the transportation on hand at Alexandria and Washington has been
needed for current supplies of the garrisons"

The inference is irresistible that General McClellan, who
had charge of every thing in and around Alexandria and


Washington, thought it was better that the Army of the
Potomac, under Pope, should not be re-enforced, and be de

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 24 of 46)