Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
Southern forces in detail as is rarely given by a good general to an adversary whom he fears.  Pope would fain have availed himself of the chance, and in the effort to do so he hurried his troops hither and thither, mingled wise moves with foolish ones, confused his subordinates, fatigued his men, and finally accomplished nothing.  Jackson retired safely from his dangerous position, rejoined the rest of the Southern army, and then the united force had as its immediate purpose to fight Pope before he could receive reinforcements from McClellan’s army, now rapidly coming forward by way of Washington. E converso, Pope’s course should have been to retire a day’s march across Bull Run and await the additional troops who could at once join him there.  Unfortunately, however, he still felt the sting of the ridicule which his ill-starred manifesto had called forth, and was further irritated by the unsatisfactory record of the past few days, and therefore was in no temper to fall back.  So he did not, but stayed and fought what is known as the second battle of Bull Run.  In the conflict his worn-out men showed such constancy that the slaughter on both sides was great.  Again, however, the bravery of the rank and file was the only feature which the country could contemplate without indignation.  The army was beaten; and retired during the evening of August 30 to a safe position at Centreville, whither it should have been taken without loss two days earlier.[29] Thus was fulfilled, with only a trifling inaccuracy in point of time, the prediction made by McClellan on August 10, that “Pope will be badly thrashed within ten days."[30]

In all this manoeuvring and fighting the commanding general had shown some capacity, but very much less than was indispensable in a commander who had to meet the generals of the South.  Forthwith, also, there broke out a series of demoralizing quarrels among the principal officers as to what orders had been given and received, and whether or not they had been understood or misunderstood, obeyed or disobeyed.  Also the enemies of General McClellan tried to lay upon him the whole responsibility for the disaster, on the ground that he had been dilatory, first, in moving his army from Harrison’s Landing, and afterward, in sending his troops forward to join Pope; whereas, they said, if he had acted promptly, the Northern army would have been too strong to have been defeated, regardless of any incompetence in the handling of it.  Concerning the former charge, it may be said that dispatches had flown to and fro between Halleck and McClellan like bullets between implacable duelists; Halleck ordered the army to be transported, and McClellan retorted that he was given no transports; it is a dispute which cannot be discussed here.  Concerning the other charge, it was also true that the same two generals had been for some days exchanging telegrams, but had been entirely unable to understand each other.  Whose fault it was cannot easily

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