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Longstreet's arrival, and while Porter remained in observation at Dawkin's Branch, McDowell had, by a circuitous and toilsome march sought to rejoin the main body. And now, wearied and weakened by useless labors and unsuccessful assaults, the Federal army must try conclusions not with Jackson alone, but with the whole Confederate army. Pope placed his losses on the 29th at 8,000 men at the time, and in his report afterwards repeated that they were not less than from 6,000 to 8,000. There seems no good reason to doubt the correctness of his statement, except the fact that the Confederate loss was not over one-third of this amount.
In view of the unsatisfactory results of the day, a cautious leader would have drawn back his army on the night of the 29th behind Bull Run, have rationed and rested his forces, have received the re-enforcement of 20,000 veteran troops which were on the way from Alexandria, and but a short march distant, and then have received or delivered battle. But Pope was not a cautious leader. Mr. Ropes describes him as a sanguine man, and the view he took of things on the morning of the 30th certainly proves it. He ordered up Porter from his position of the day before to Groveton, and telegraphed to Washington at sunrise on the 30th, that he had won a great victory on the 29th, and was about to press forward after the beaten foe. He entertained the conviction that Jackson had been worsted on the 29th and was falling back towards the Bull Run mountains, and still did not clearly realize that any large part of Longstreet's forces was present. Some movements of Fitz-Lee's cavalry, which on the 29th had returned from its raid by way of Centreville and Sudley to take position on Jackson's left, gave the impression that Jackson had drawn in his left very greatly. McDowell and Heintzelman and Sigel were all deceived and helped to strengthen Pope's delusion. The result was that on mid-day on the 30th Pope, convinced that the Confederates were flying, and having now his whole army in hand (except Banks's corps, which was guarding the baggage near Bristoe), ordered it “forward in pursuit.” The representations of Porter and others that the attitude of the Confederate army was anything else than that of flight, had no effect.
There are things, however, to be said in favor of an attack by Pope upon Lee, on August 30. The Federal army had been partially engaged the day before, and, though it had suffered heavily, no decisive result had been reached. To have retired without further fight would have been a confession of defeat, and would have still further damaged the morale of the troops. Nor was the Federal commander without ground for considering his army when concentrated more than a match for Lee's. Four days before their respective numbers had been about as 75,000 and 50,000. and even if the past few days had cost him 10,000 men to Lee's 5,000, he had still 65,000 to 45,000. He permitted 8,000 or 9,000 of these to remain idle all day at Bristoe and Manassas. They were Banks's corps, guarding the ammunition stores and trains of the army. Much of these stores were on railroad trains that could not be sent toward Alexandria, because of the destruction of bridges, and hence Banks was charged with the guarding of them, and the rebuilding of the railroad. The result proved that Banks might have better effected this object on the battle-field.
One of the best reasons against Pope's attack on the 30th,.was the fact that it was precisely what his antagonist desired him to do. Lee spent the forenoon in posting his right wing (Longstreet) and in placing a mass of artillery on the heights west of Groveton, between his two wings. The army in his front gave every indication of aggression, and he was anxious to receive its attack before delivering his own. He therefore quietly bided his time.. It was near 3 P. M. when the Federal assault was made. McDowell had been placed in general command of what Pope called the “pursuit." Fitz John Porter was placed at the Federal center and ordered to lead. Pope, angry at Porter's inaction the day before, was determined that he should be in the front to-day. Porter knew well enough that it was not a question of pursuit, but of driving a defiant army from a strong position, and therefore disposed his corps and King's division (now under Hatch), who was to support him, for a determined attack. This attack fell upon the right of Jackson-mainly upon Taliaferro's division (now under Starke). It was most gallant and fierce. The Federals under a storm of fire advanced to the very edge of the railroad cut in which the Confederates were, and engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict. It was here “Greek to Greek.” The gallantry of Porter's charge was only paralleled by the splendid courage of Jackson's old division, who led by Si, rke and Stafford, by Bradley Johnson, and Baylor, and A. G. Taliaferro, held the line of the railroad and formed once more a “ Stonewall" against which the flower of the Federal army dashed in vain. “ The line must be held at all hazards,” said Jackson. When ammunition was gone, or arms became useless, some of the Confederates seized as weapons of offense the stones with which the ground was covered. Both Generals Johnson and Porter testify to the wounds inflicted with these primitive weapons. Two flags of the opposing ranks were fixed for some time within a few feet of each other, and on these spots were piled the brave dead when the charge was ended.
The corps of artillery on Jackson's right, under S. D. Lee and Crutchfield, poured an incessant and devastating flank fire into the charging columns. In spite of this, Porter's men continued the fight for some time. Jackson, sorely pressed, asked for re-enforcements. Longstreet, as the most effective way of giving aid, added the fire of another battery completely on the flank of the attacking force. Porter gave way in disastrous repulse, and the effort to break Lee's left center had failed. The afternoon was already half-spent, and Lee lost not a moment in taking advantage of the exhaustion produced by Porter's unsuccessful charges, to attack in turn. Longstreet's command was thrown forward against Pope's left, while Jackson, leaving the railroad cut and embankment he had held so stubbornly, drove back the forces in his front. S. D. Lee with his artillery, which had done so much to defeat Porter, advanced at the center along the turnpike. The Confederate army formed in this movement an immense V, the vertex on the turnpike and the two arms embracing the Federal army between them. The fighting was severest in Longstreet's front, where Pope and McDowell made strenuous efforts to hold firm the Federal left wing. These efforts were in vain. The fierce onsets of Longstreet's men carried one position after another, crushing and doubling up the Federal masses, until the Federal left was rolled back to the Henry hill, which had been the focus of the battle of July 21, 1861. The Confederate lines, when the night grew so dark that it was impossible to tell friend from foe in the confused battle-field, rested near the Henry house, some two miles in advance of the point where the battle on Longstreet's front had begun. Meantime Jackson had driven the Federal right wing back a mile, to the Carter house, where after dark Ricketts and Stevens were driven from the last position the Federals attempted to hold on this part of the field.
The defeat was thorough. The Federal army had been driven with heavy loss at every point. Many parts of it were little better than a mass of fugitives. Franklin, who was coming up to Pope's assistance from Centreville in the afternoon, was met by such a crowd of stragglers before he reached Bull Run, that he drew up his corps in line of battle, and attempted to stop them. He stopped 7,000 in half an hour, and then, deeming it too late to effect anything in front, fell back to Centreville. Night alone saved Pope's army from overwhelming disaster. Under its friendly cover his broken and confused forces, still having control of the turnpike in their rear, made their way swiftly across Bull Run. By midnight there was nothing left west of Bull Run of that magnificent array which at midday had been launched in "pursuit” of Lee, save the débris of the battle-field, the 26 cannon, the 6,000 or 7,000 prisoners, and the wounded and dead it had left in the hands of the victors.
When Pope reached Centreville he was joined by the fresh corps of
VOL. XII.-No. 2.--10
Franklin and Sumner, of about 20,000 or 25,000 men, and, with numbers thus raised again to 60,000, he thought at first that he might resist Lee's further advance, but he soon became convinced that the demoralization of his troops was such that, however superior he might be in numbers to his adversary, it would not be wise to risk another battle. He therefore advised Halleck to withdraw the army to the defenses of Washington. This was done on September 2. Before the order to fall back came, however, a sharp conflict took place at Ox Hill between portions of the opposing armies. Lee, the day after the battle, finding that Pope was strongly posted at Centreville, began to move with Jackson in advance toward the Little River turnpike in order to turn the Federal right flank. Bad weather and the fatigue of his troops made Jackson's progress slow, but on September i he passed Chantilly and advanced toward Germantown. Pope, finding his right about to be turned, fell back from Centreville, and took a position in front of Germantown, so as to cover the movement of his trains. Near Ox Hill, late in the afternoon, Jackson came in contact with Kearny's and Stevens's divisions, and a sharp struggle ensued, in which A. P. Hill was principally engaged. The fight took place in the midst of a blinding thunder-storm,* and resulted in little beyond the death of a number of brave men, among whom were Generals Kearny + and Stevens.
Night ended the strife, and the Federals retired under cover of the darkness. Next morning Pope retreated toward Washington and Alexandria, and Lee, seeing that nothing further could be effected at this point, turned his eyes northward, and after resting a day, began his march toward the Potomac in order to cross into Maryland. The campaign against Pope was ended.
It is impossible to tell with accuracy the losses of the respective combatants in this campaign of a fortnight, but they can be approximated. Lee's losses in battle during the campaign, from the Rappahannock to Ox Hill, were, by the official reports, about 9,000, to which must be added those broken down by the exertions and privations of the campaign. There are no full returns of the Federal losses, but Pope in his report, as well as in a despatch to Halleck of September 2, says he could muster on that day
* It was in the midst of this storm that one of his brigadiers, who had been fiercely engaged, sent word to General Jackson that he would not be able to hold his position much longer, as the cartridges of the men were becoming so wet they would not go off. “Hold your ground," replied Jackson. “ If your muskets will not go off, neither will the enemy's.”
+ General Kearny, whose courage was always conspicuous, had dashed quite up to the Confederate lines without knowing it, and as he turned to gallop away was shot through the body and killed. Next day, by General Lee's order, his body was sent into the Federal lines under a flag of truce.
only about 40,000 troops exclusive of the fresh ones that had joined him at Centreville. If this be so, the Federal army had shrunk in a week from 75,000 to 40,000. Of course a large number of these were stragglers who afterwards came in; but as Pope's losses on the 30th must have exceeded those on the 29th, his actual losses in battle were probably not less than from 20,000 to 25,000 men.
This was one of the most brilliant of Lee's campaigns. In ten days he had demolished Pope and forced the Federal army from the Rappahannock to take refuge in the lines of Washington. Greatly inferior in strength to the forces with which he had to contend, Lee had neutralized this inferiority by the boldest strategy and the most vigorous fighting He had not been able to bring Pope to a decisive battle until after some 25,000 or more of McClellan's troops had joined him, but he had paralyzed the remainder of McClellan's forces, while he defeated the augmented army of Pope. Jackson's operations at Manassas were the key to the great victory which followed, and they will ever remain a model of audacity and skill. In circumstances requiring nerve, decision and military judgment of the highest order, he had proved himself fully equal to the occasion.
A mere glance at the bitter controversies to which the campaign gave rise must suffice. That Fitz-John Porter was unjustly condemned for failing on August 29 to march over Longstreet's corps in order to attack Jackson, is now admitted everywhere, save where the bitterest political and personal rancor still lingers. He was a sacrifice to the blind rage of Pope, and to his own unprofessional and imprudent criticisms. A large share of direct responsibility for Pope's disasters has sometimes been transferred to Halleck's shoulders. The facts do not warrant this. There is no doubt that Halleck did everything within the limits of his capacity (which was small) to support Pope. The course of Halleck toward McClellan, and the action of the latter are matters involved in more doubt. The course of the Federal Government toward McClellan at this time was certainly unwise as well as unjust, and if that course was dictated by Halleck, the latter deserves great blame. Over 25,000 of McClellan's troops reached Pope and participated in the campaign. Whether, after Jackson had broken Pope's communications, Franklin's and Sumner's corps could have been pushed out from Alexandria more promptly; and, if this had been done, whether they would have changed the result or have simply extended the disaster, are matters of such doubt that it is not worth while to speculate about them.