Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.

General Pope remained in Washington a few weeks, in constant consultation with the administration.  How he impressed Lincoln one would gladly know, but cannot.  He had unlimited self-confidence, and he gave it to be understood at once that he was a fighting man; but it showed an astounding lack of tact upon his part that, in notifying the troops of this, his distinguishing characteristic, he also intimated that it would behoove them to turn over a new leaf now that he had come all the way from the West in order to teach Eastern men how to win victories!  The manifesto which he issued has become famous by its folly; it was arrogant, bombastic, little short of insulting to the soldiers of his command, and laid down principles contrary to the established rules of war.  Yet it had good qualities, too; for it was designed to be stimulating; it certainly meant fighting; and fortunately, though Pope was not a great general, he was by no means devoid of military knowledge and instincts, and he would not really have committed quite such blunders as he marked out for himself in his rhetorical enthusiasm.  On the whole, however, the manifesto did harm; neither officers nor soldiers were inclined to receive kindly a man who came presumably on trial with the purpose of replacing McClellan, whom they loved with deep loyalty; therefore they ridiculed part of his address and took offense at the rest of it.  Mr. Lincoln could hardly have been encouraged; but he gave no sign.

On July 29 Pope left Washington and joined his army, near Culpepper.  He had not quite 45,000 men, and was watched by Jackson, who lay near Gordonsville with a scant half of that number.  On August 9 Banks was pushed forward to Cedar Mountain, where he encountered Jackson and attacked him.  In “a hard-fought battle, fierce, obstinate, sanguinary,” the Federals were worsted; and such consolation as the people got from the gallantry of the troops was more than offset by the fact, which became obvious so soon as the whole story was known, that our generals ought to have avoided the engagement and were outgeneraled both in the bringing it on and in the conducting it.

Greatly as Jackson was outnumbered by Pope, he could hope for no reinforcements from Lee so long as McClellan, at Harrison’s Landing, threatened Richmond.  But when gratifying indications showed the purpose to withdraw the Northern army from the Peninsula the Southern general ventured, August 13, to dispatch General Longstreet northward with a strong force.  Soon afterward he himself followed and took command.  Then for two or three days ensued a sharp matching of wits betwixt the two generals.  By one of those audacious plans which Lee could dare to make when he had such a lieutenant as Jackson to carry it out, Jackson was sent upon a rapid march by the northward, around the army of Pope, to cut its communications.  He did it brilliantly; but in doing it he necessarily offered to Pope such an opportunity for fighting the

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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