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my own army, I simply ask to be permitted to share their fate on the field of battle."
On the 30th, the following order was issued from the War Department
“WAR DEPARTMENT, August 30, 1862. “The following are the commanders of the armies operating in Virginia :
“General Burnside commands his own corps, except those that have been temporarily detached and assigned to General Pope.
“General McClellan commands that portion of the Army of the Potomac that has not been sent forward to General Pope's command.
General Pope commands the Army of Virginia and all the forces temporarily attached to it. All the forces are under the command of Major-General Halleck, general-in-chief.
“E. D. TOWNSEND, “ Assistant Adjutant-General.”
The practical effect of this order was that General McClellan had no control over anybody, except his staff, some hundred men in camp near Alexandria, and a few troops at Fortress Monroe.
The campaign of General Pope in Virginia was closed with the disastrous battle of August 30, 1862, fought on the ill-omened field of Bull Run,
and with that of Chantilly, two days after, in which our success was dearly bought by the loss of two of the best officers in the service, General Stevens and General Kearney. On the 1st of September General McClellan went into Washington, where he had an interview with General Halleck, who instructed him verbally to take command of the defences of the place, with authority expressly limited to the works and their garrisons, and not extending to the troops in front under General Pope.
On the same day General McClellan waited upon the President of the United States, at the house of General Halleck, and in obedience to a message from him. He was then and there told by the President that he had reason to believe that the Army of the Potomac was not cheerfully co-operating with and supporting General Pope, and was asked to use his influence in correcting this state of things. General McClellan replied that the information could not be true, and that the Army of the Potomac, whatever might be their estimate of General Pope, would obey his orders and do their duty. But this did not satisfy the President, who seemed much moved during the interview; and, at his earnest and reiterated request, General McClellan telegraphed to General Porter as follows:
“WASHINGTON, September 1, 1862. “I ask of you, for my sake, that of the country, and the old Army of the Potomac, that you and all my friends will lend the fullest and most cordial co-operation to General Pope in all the operations now going on. The destinies of our country, the honor of our army, are at
stake, and all depends now upon the cheerful co-operation of all in the field. This week is the crisis of our fate. Say the same thing to my friends in the Army of the Potomac, and that the last request I have to make of them is that, for their country's sake, they will extend to General Pope the same support they ever have to me.
“I am in charge of the defences of Washington, and am doing all I can to render your retreat safe, should that become necessary.
“GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN. “Major-General PORTER."
General Porter sent the following reply:
“Fairfax COURT-House, 10 A.M., September 2, 1862. “You may rest assured that all your friends, as well as every lover of his country, will ever give, as they have given, to General Pope their cordial co-operation and constant support in the execution of all orders and plans. Our killed, wounded, and enfeebled troops attest our devoted duty.
“F. J. PORTER, Major-General. “General George B. MCCLELLAN,
It need hardly be said that General McClellan's message, unexplained, is open to the obvious inference that he had some doubt whether General Por. ter and the troops under him would be faithful in the discharge of their duty to the nation and its cause; but no such impression ever crossed his mind, and what he did was done solely at the President's request.
On the same day, September 2, the roads leading
into Washington from the west began to be filled with the broken fragments of a defeated and demoralized army, like a lee shore strewn with the wreck of a noble fleet. Ambulances moved slowly along with their mournful freight of wounded men. Groups and squads of straggling soldiers appeared, weary and footsore, some slightly burt, and all dispirited, some sadly silent, and some uttering curses and threats. The emergency of the case required immediate action; and in view of the attachment of the Army of the Potomac to their late commander, and of their unabated confidence in him, the President of the United States did the best and wisest thing he could have done under the circumstances: he turned to General McClellan for help. In a personal interview, he begged of the latter to reassumo command of the forces, make provisions for the defence of the capital, and act according to the best of his judgment for the common cause. Not readily, not without a good deal of anxious misgiving, did General McClellan yield; but he did yield at last. He accepted the trust, and instantly began the discharge of its duties with his wonted energy. Aides were sent out to the commanders of divisions, with instructions to move their commands to designated points. On the very day of his reappointment, General McClellan was himself in the saddle, giving personal directions to portions of the advancing army; and the next day he was at Alexandria, rectifying the positions of the troops and issuing necessary orders.
The soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, as soon
as they learned that their beloved commander was to lead them again, took heart once more. Confidence returned. "Hope elevated and joy brightened their crests." Missing men reappeared, the broken fragments of divisions and brigades were reunited, order reigned anew in the lately disordered files, and the shattered and demoralized host began instantly to assume the method and proportions of an army, with “degree, priority, and place." Bofore the close of that very 2d of September, such dispositions were made as insured the successful defence of Washington against any attack on the south side of the Potomac.*
* “To-day, by order of the President, General McClellan has again assumed the supreme command of the army. Immediately after accepting the chief command of all the Union forces in the neighborhood of Washington, General McClellan proceeded to inspect the troops and fortifications on the south side of the river. This occupied him until after midnight. His reception by the officers and soldiers was marked by the most unbounded enthusiasm. In every camp his arrival was greeted by hearty and prolonged cheering, and manifestations of the wildest delight. Many of the soldiers who fought under him in the hardest battles of the war wept with joy at again having for their commander one upon whom they could place implicit reliance. Already his hurried visit to our camps las wrought a remarkable change in the soldiers. His presence seemed to act magically upon them : despondency is replaced by confidence, and all are glad that McClellan will hereafter direct them."-Ellis's Leaves from the Diary of an Army Surgeon,
“To-night the Union army will all be concentrated in the works around this city, and General McClellan has already assumed the position of commander-in-chief of all the forces in the field