« 上一頁繼續 »
McClellan complained of his lack of men, and of the failure to give him the army of Burnside, or of some other general, operating in other and more distant parts of the Republic.
Lincoln felt the need of a military adviser who should be always at hand and readily accessible. The successes of the generals in the western part of the Republic, contrasting as they did with the humiliating failures of the campaigns around Washington and in Virginia, suggested the designation of some one of these men to the post to be created. General H. W. Halleck accordingly was called to Washington, on the 11th of July, with the rank and title of General-in-Chief. Another Western general called to the East was General John Pope, whose successes in the valley of the Mississippi had given him fame. General Pope took command of a new military organization of three army corps commanded by Generals Frémont, Banks, and McDowell. This was known as the Army of Virginia, and its creation was naturally regarded by McClellan and his partisans with jealousy, a jealousy that was heightened by an intemperate and indiscreet address issued by Pope on taking command. In this address, Pope assumed a tone of confidence and boasting that was apparently designed to contrast the deeds he proposed to do with the failures of the Army of the Potomac. This aroused an intense and bitter hostility among the officers of the Army of the Potomac, and greatly vexed and disappointed Lincoln, who, from that moment, was apprehensive that Pope would raise up enemies against himself and impair his usefulness as a soldier.
On the 28th of June, 1862, there assembled at Altoona, Penn., the famous conference of loyal governors. It was a meeting of the governors of seventeen States to confer on the best means for supporting the President in carrying on the war. They united in an address to the President, assuring him of the readiness of the States to respond to calls for more troops, and to support the most vigorous measures for carrying on the war. Thereupon the President issued a call for three hundred thousand
Notwithstanding defeats and reverses, delays and sluggishness, the spirit of the country was unbroken. It was felt that this was a struggle for life or death.
Pope's command, numbering thirty-eight thousand men, was employed to defend Washington, against which point Lee was now advancing with a large force of the Rebels. Pope was also to hold the valley of the Shenandoah, in which active and aggressive squadrons of Rebel cavalry were manquvring. If McClellan now made a bold attack on Richmond from his position on the James, Lee's attention would be diverted from Pope, and keep him on the defensive. But McClellan, it was evident, could not be expected to execute any such movement. The Army of the Potomac was, accordingly, ordered to the line of the Potomac, to support Pope. The situation was full of peril. Lee's army was being massed to crush Pope, before he could be reinforced by McClellan, whose forces were in Virginia, farther from Washington than were Lee's. McClellan was repeatedly ordered to make haste. He delayed and dallied, as
if sullen and unwilling to obey orders. On the 13th of July he was ordered to send away his sick and prepare for his return to the Potomac. He waited, and on the 3d of August he was directed to move his army to Acquia Creek, a small stream emptying into the Potomac below Washington. He remonstrated and said he would obey “as soon as circumstances would permit.” Again, on the gth of the month, General Halleck, at the direction of the President, admonished McClellan of the dangers that menaced Pope, and told him that he must move with all possible celerity. Next day Halleck telegraphed McClellan that the Rebels had crossed the Rapidan and were attacking Pope; and he added: “There must be no further delay in your movements.” Still the tardy and slow-moving McClellan did not respond. Finally, on the 23d of August, he sailed from Fortress Monroe, arriving at Acquia Creek on the following day, and at Alexandria on the Potomac on the 27th, nearly one month after receiving his orders.
Meanwhile, Pope was being driven towards Washington, assailed in turn by the Rebel forces under Jackson, Longstreet, and Lee. Not one of McClellan's trusted and favorite lieutenants came to Pope's relief, although they were within supporting distance. Fitz John Porter heard the guns of the hardly pressed Pope, as well as those of the Rebel army assailing him; he knew the desperate condition of the Army of Virginia. He refused to go to its relief. For this he was tried by a military court, found guilty, and sentenced to be dismissed from the army. The President approved this sentence.
Pope was driven back upon Washington. His humiliation was complete. The army was torn by dissensions and cabals. Party spirit ran high, not only in Congress and in the country, but in the camps around Washington and in Virginia. In the field were disaster and defeat; in the Cabinet, divided counsels; and in Congress, virulent and heated debate, and a growing opposition to the war, with, now and again, a recommendation that terms for peace be offered to the Rebel Government. It was a dark and gloomy time. Lincoln, alone in his sublime trust in God and in the righteousness of the cause of the Federal Union, did not hesitate to manifest his unshaken belief in the ultimate triumph of the Federal arms and in the power of the people to quell the slaveholders' rebellion. Men who listened to him, in those days of peril, went away marvelling at his patience, fortitude, and courage.
Once more McClellan had an opportunity offered him to achieve a great success. Yielding to what seemed a military necessity, Lincoln placed him at the head of a newly reorganized army. He now had under him the Army of the Potomac, the remnants of Pope's Army of Virginia, and the forces brought from North Carolina by General Burnside. To these were added reinforcements from the raw levies, making the force under McClellan the largest that had ever been massed together in one army-more than two hundred thousand, all told. If ever "the young Napoleon” was to win laurels, this was his time and opportunity. But he seemed impatient and discontented that any troops should be under
a command separate from his own. He wished that the force retained in the defence of Washington should be sent to him, saying that the capture of Washington would not be so great a calamity to the country as a single defeat of the Army of the Potomac. He asked that the twelve thousand troops holding Harper's Ferry should be sent to him, and when told that if he would open communications with that point, Harper's Ferry would be included in his command, he failed to take the necessary steps, although he knew that a Rebel force was marching against Harper's Ferry. He delayed, dic. not seize the precious opportunity to strike at Lee's army while it was divided, and did not relieve Harper's Ferry, which, on the 15th of September, surrendered to the Rebels.
Lee, meantime, was advancing into Maryland, and it became absolutely imperative that he should be checked. McClellan, finally roused, but one day too late, attacked Lee, and the bloody battle of Antietam was fought, September 17th. The Rebels were thoroughly whipped, and began a sullen retreat across the Potomac. It would appear that McClellan might have followed, one entire corps of his army not having been in the fight. But he remained where he was, and called for more reinforcements. This amazing demand, following the delay to move, alarmed the President, and he made a personal visit to the army to see for himself how affairs stood. On his return to Washington he issued an order, dated October 6, 1862, through General Halleck, directing McClellan to “cross the Potomac and give battle to