Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) online

. (page 32 of 42)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 42)
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of the Potomac, then fighting a battle in his front and
within his hearing, bnt 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 incomparably more disastrous to the
nation than the capture of Washington itself. We find
in these dispatches, which he cites in his own vindica
tion, no evidence to sustain the declaration pf frig report^


that from the moment of his arrival at Alexandria lie
"left nothing in his power undone to forward supplies
and re-enforcements to General 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 Presi
dent, "leave Pope to get out of his scrape," and devote
himself exclusively to the safety of Washington.* He
thinks any disposition of Franklin s and Sumner 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 Corco
ran anywhere and everywhere except where they were
wanted most, and where alone they could assist in get
ting Pope "out of his scrape," and in saving the Army
of the Potomac. It was natural and proper that he
should give attention to the defence of Washington, for
he had, as General Helleck says, " general authority over
all the troops" that were defending it. But his special
duty was * c sending out troops from Alexandria to re-en
force 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 ex
pect, and which General McClellan was repeatedly and
peremptorily ordered to give ?
Those of McClellan s forces which had reached Alex

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

I am clear that one of two courses should be adopted : First, to concentrate
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 Capi
tal perfectly safe. No middle ground will now answer. Tell nv 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," ie th
right one, but I wish not to control. That T now leave to General Halleck, aided
by vour counsel?. -A-



andria before him, or were there before his arrival, Stur-
gis, Kearney, Hooker, and Heintzelman, had all gone
forward and joined in these battles. Why could not
Franklin all of whose movements were controlled by
McClellan do as much with him as his brother com
manders had done without him \

The first thing that McClellan did, on reaching Alex
andria, in the discharge of his duties to send forward
troops, was to stop those actually going ! In his dispatch
<>f August 27th, nine o clock P. M., he says to General
llcilleck " I found part of Cox s command under orders
to take the cars: will halt it with Franklin until morn
ing ! " And Cox never went out, though anxiously ex
pected 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 quarter past eleven P. M ,
immediately after the positive order was issued for Frank
lin to move by forced marches and carry three or four
days provisions, McClellan says :

Franklin s artillery has no horses except for four guns without cais-
ons. 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
o not know.

A part of the perplexity he seems to have been in was
removed that day at six 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 one o clock 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 artillery be
hall go."

Again, at forty minutes past four of the 28th, he tele
graphs :

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 Corps if
now in a condition to move and fight a battle. It would be a sacrifice to
send them out now ! I have sent aids to ascertain the condition of Col
onel Ty.e>. ; but I still think that a premature movement in small foro*
will accomplish nothing but the destruction of the troops sent out.

The small force (?) to which he refers consisted, as here
tofore stated, of Sumner s Corps of fourteen thousand
and Franklin s of eleven thousand, a total of twenty -five
thousand not going to fight a battle by itself, but to re-
enforce an army already engaged, and constituting cer
tainly 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 have 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? He is
without reserve ammunition and without transportation.

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

So, it seems, it was General McClellan s judgment that
Franklin cc^ild not be sent, as soon as he landed, to re-
enforce Pope because, first, he had his artillery only
partially mounted ; second, he had no cavalry ; third, he
had but forty rounds of ammunition, and no transporta
tion 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
tmpport him, as it would leave the Capital unprotected !


It is fortunate some of McClellan s Corps preceded liirn
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
reascns that stayed Franklin. Kearney joined without
artillery, and Pope ordered two batteries to be given
him ; Porter had but forty rounds of ammunition Heint-
zelman joined without cavalry.

Why, may it be asked, were neither Sumner s nor
Franklin s Corps in a condition to move and fight a bat
tle?" 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 ex
hausted with fighting and lack of food, as were theii
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. Transpor
tation 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 extraor
dinary 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 Washing
ton, 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 was no need of pressing any private
property into service that there was plenty of public
transportation on hand? Let the following dispatch
show :


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 bad applied for it any time since his arrival at Alexandria. He

the importance of opening communication with General Pope s army,

and should have acted more promptly.

H. W. HALLEOK, General-in-Chitf.
Major-General MCOLELLAN, 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 obeying his orders to send re-enforcements.
He says, in hip dispatch of August 30, to General Pope :

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

The inference is irresistible that General McClellan,
ivho had charge of every thing in and around Alexan
dria and 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 Gen
eral McClelian, in which the latter made so many propo
sitions about the movements of Simmer s Corps and the
disposition of Cox s force and the other troops for the
defence of Washington, is as follows :


Your proposed disposition of Sumner s Corps seems to me judicious.
Of course I have no time to examine into details. The present daogdf
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 eithei
b} telegrams or through Franklin s scouts. Our people must move &t>
lively and find out where the enemy is. I am tired of guesses.

H. W. HALLEOK, General-in- Chty

Major-General MV -r 1 ! ELL AN, Alexandria.


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

In his telegram to Halleck of one o clock 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 Alexan
dria. 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 pro
ceeds to say, I want t 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 forty thousand 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, wer^
thus as it seems to us intentionally withheld from Pope
at the time he was engaged in holding the army of Lee in

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

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

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


August the 30th (1.45 p. M.), General Halteck tele
graphed him :

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

To which he replied :

1 know nothing of the calibres of Pope s artillery. All I can do is i
direct niy 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 commu
nication 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 ex
treme need ?

He directed Franklin to say to Pope he would send
him out supplies if he, Pope, would send cavalry to es
cort them out! "Such a request" (says Pope, in his
dispatch of 5 A. M., August 30), " when Alexandria is full
of troops, and I lighting the enemy, needs no comment."

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 fought every
battle with a gallantry and tenacious courage that would
have insured a decisive victory 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,
and a military clique in the army ; and it suited the pur
poses 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 Washing
ton eminently favorable to the designs of General Mo
Clellan s partisans ; and upon the urgent but unjust rep
resentation 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 Potomac, and on the 4th of September
he commenced the movement into Maryland to repel the
invading rebel forces.

On the llth, he made urgent application for re-enforce
ments, asking that Colonel Milet "he withdrawn from Hai-
per s Ferry, and that one or two of the three army corps
on the Potomac, opposite Washington, be at once sent to
join him. u Even if Washington should be taken," he
said, "while these armies are confronting each other, this
would not in my judgment bear comparison with the ruin
and disaster that would follow a single defeat of this
army," although, as will be remembered, when that army
was under Pope, arid engaged in a battle which might
destroy it, he had said (Aug. 27), U I think we should first
provide for the defence of the Capital." General Halleck
reDlied that u 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 renew
ing the attack, although the corps of General Fitz-John
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 Potomac. General McClellan
did not feel authorized on account of the condition of hia


arrny to cross in pursuit, and on tlie 23d wrote to Wash
ington, asking for re-enforcements, renewing the applica
tion on the 27th, and stating his purpose to be to hold the
army where it was, and to attack the enemy 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 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 Octob^ , President Lincoln visited the
army and made careful inquiry into its strength and con
dition. On the 6th, he issued the following order for an
immediate advance :

WASHINGTON, D. O., October 6, 1862.

I ain instructed to telegraph to you as follows : The President direct*
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 tho enemy and Washington, and cover the latter
Dy your operation, you can be re-enforced with thirty thousand men. I/
you move up the valley of the Shenandoah not more than twelve or fit
teen thousand can be sent you. The President advises the interior line
between 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-in-Chief fully concur with
the President in these instructions.

H. W. HALLEOK, General-in-Chief.

Major-General MOCLELLAN.

On receiving this order, General 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
supplies, and said that without these the army could not
move. On the llth, the rebel General Stuart, with a
force of about twenty five hundred men, made a raid into
Pennsylvania, going completely round our armv, and

f ; -.;


thwarting all the arrangements by which General Me-
Clellan had reported that his capture was certain. On the
13th, in consequence of his protracted delays, the Presi
dent addressed to General McClellan the following letter :


MY DEAR SIR: You remember my speaking to you of what I called
your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that
you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not
claim to be at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim ?

As I understand, you telegraphed General Halleck that you cannot sub-
list your army at Winchester unless the railroad from Harper s Ferry to
that point be put in working order. But the enemy does now subsist his
army at Winchester, at a distance nearly twice as great from railroad
transportation as you would have to do without the railroad last named.
He now wagons from Culpepper Court-House, which is just about twice
as far as you would have to do from Harper s Ferry. He is certainly not
more than half as well provided with wagons as you are. I certainly
should be pleased for you to have the advantage of the railroad from
Harper s Ferry to Winchester; but it wastes all the remainder of autumn
to give it to you, and, in fact, ignores the question of time, which cannot
and must not be ignored.

Again, one of the standard maxims of war, as you know, is, " to operate
upon the enemy s communications as much as possible, without exposing
your own." You seem to act as if this applies against you, but cannot
apply in your favor. Change positions with the enemy, and think you
not he would break your communication with Richmond within the next
twenty-four hours ? You dread his going into Pennsylvania. But if ho
does so in full force, he gives up his communications to you absolutely,
and you have nothing to do but to follow and ruin him ; if he does so
with less than full forp^ fall upon and beat what is left behind aL the

Exclusive of the water line, you are now nearer Richmond than the
enemy is, by the route that you can and he mitst take. "Why can you not
reach there before him, unless you admit that he is more than your equal
on a march? His route is the arc of a circle, while yours is the chord.
The roads are as good on yours as on his.

You know I desired, but did not order, you to cross the Potomac below
instead of above the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge. My idea was, that
this would at once menace the enemy s communications, which I would
seize if he would permit. If he should move northward, I would follow
him closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent our
seizing his communications, and move toward Richmond, I would prest
closely to him, fight him if a favorable opportunity should present^ and at
least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside track; I say "try" it


we nerer try, we shall never succeed. If he make a stand at Winchester,
moving neither north nor south, I would fight him there, on the idea that
if we cannot beat him when he bears the wastage of coming to us, we
never can when we bear the wastage of going to him. This proposition
is a simple truth and is too important to be lost sight of for a moment.
In coming to us, he tenders us an advantage which we should not waive.
We should not so operate as to merely drive him away. As we must beat
him somewhere, or fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier near to u*
than far away. If we cannot beat the enemy where he now is, we nevfi
can, he again being within the intrenchments of Richmond. Recurring
to the idea of going to Richmond on the inside track, the facility of sup
plying from the side away from the enemy is remarkable, as it were, by
the different spokes of a wheel, extending from the hub towards the rim,
and this whether you move directly by the chord, or on the inside arc,
hugging the Blue Ridge more closely. The chord-line, as you see, carries
you by Aldie, Haymarket, and Fredericksburg, and you see how turn
pikes, railroads, and finally the Potomac by Aquia Creek, meet you at
all points from Washington. The same, only the lines lengthened a little,
if you press closer to the Blue Ridge part of the way. The gaps through
the Blue Ridge I understand to be about the following distances from
Haiper s Ferry, to wit: Vestal s, five miles; Gregory s, thirteen; Snick
er s, eighteen ; Ashby s, twenty-eight ; Manassas, thirty-eight ; Chester,
forty-five; and Thornton s, fifty -three. I should think it preferable to
take the route nearest the enemy, disabling him to make an important
move without your knowledge, and compelling him to keep his force8
together for dread of you. The gaps would enable you to attack if you
should wish. For a great part of the way you would be practically
between the enemy and both Washington and Richmond, enabling us to
spare you the greatest number of troops from here. When, at length,

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and time : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages and proclamations and closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 1) → online text (page 32 of 42)