Sunday, September 2, 2012

September 2, 1862

September 2, 1862:  In Washington, despite the efforts of Sec. of War Stanton and Sec. of the Treasury Chase to get McClellan sacked, Pres. Lincoln decides not to remove the Young Napoleon from his command.  At a Cabinet meeting on this date, Stanton presents the letter that he and Chase have been circulating amongst the Cabinet members.  He argues how McClellan had withheld reinforcements from Pope, and points that when he asked Gen. Halleck, the general-in-chief said, “was not obeyed with the promptness I expected and the national safety, in my opinion, required.”  However, Lincoln responds that he has decided to keep McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Virginia combined.  He and Halleck have already agreed that McClellan was the man of the hour, and that his skills as an engineer and at organizing the army would be most needed now, to counter what the Confederates will do next.   

---Sec. of the Navy, Gideon Welles, records some of the events of this Cabinet meeting:

September 2, Tuesday. At Cabinet-meeting all but Seward were present. I think there was design in his absence. It was stated that Pope, without consultation or advice, was falling back, intending to retreat within the Washington intrenchments. No one seems to have had any knowledge of his movements, or plans, if he had any. Those who have favored Pope are disturbed and disappointed. . . . The general conviction is that he is a failure here, and there is a belief and admission on all hands that he has not been seconded and sustained as he should have been by McClellan, Franklin, Fitz John Porter, and perhaps some others. Personal jealousies and professional rivalries, the bane and curse of all armies, have entered deeply into ours.

    Stanton said, in a suppressed voice, trembling with excitement, he was informed McClellan had been ordered to take command of the forces in Washington. General surprise was expressed. When the President came in and heard the subject-matter of our conversation, he said he had done what seemed to him best and would be responsible for what he had done to the country. Halleck had agreed to it. McClellan knows this whole ground; his specialty is to defend; he is a good engineer, all admit; there is no better organizer; he can be trusted to act on the defensive; but he is troubled with the “slows” and good for nothing for an onward movement. . . . There was a more disturbed and desponding feeling than I have ever witnessed in council; the President was greatly distressed. . . .
Gideon Welles

---Gen. Robert E. Lee sends this letter, along with Gen. Kearney’s body, through Union lines:

September 2, 1862.
Major General JOHN POPE, U. S. Army:
SIR: The body of General Philip Kearny was brought from the field last night and he was reported dead. I send if forward under a flag of truce, thinking the possession of his remains may be a consolation to his family.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

---1st Lieut. William Penn Lloyd, of the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry records in his diary his assessment of what went wrong for the Federals during the late campaign:
Tuesday 2nd

Marched through Alexandria, and encamped near the Long Bridge. We are safe I suppose now from the pursuit of the enemy, who has driven us 80 miles [?] the last 20 days, as we are huddled beneath the forts which surround Washington. It is enough to arrose the honest indignation of not only the soldier, who has born the privations of the fruitless campaign; but of every loyal citizen, to see the present condition of an army and know the cause from which it resulted.

Now that the enemy has fully accomplished his designs thus far, it is easy to see, by tracing his movements for the last few weeks, what his plan of operations were.

It is evident now that Jackson’s retreat from Cedar Mountain, was merely to draw our forces farther after him, and where he failed in this and advanced on us, and forced us to fall back beyond the Rappahannock, that he never intended crossing the river at the station; or the various fords at which he made the feints; but left a force along the river merely to draw our attention, and engaged us, while he marched with the main body of his army he pushed up the Culpepper and Luray pike, through Thoroughfare Gap and down to Manassas, in our rear, thus completely out witting our Generals.

---Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith and his Confederate army have marched into Lexington and taken possession of the city.  The governors of Ohio and Indiana send off panicked messages to Washington requesting artillery and troops.
Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith, CSA

---The Rev. Dr. Alexander Davis Betts, chaplain in the 30th North Carolina Inf. Reg., writes in his journal of their march across the Bull Run battlefield this day:

Sept. 2 - Pass down to Groveton, where fearful fighting was done last week, August 28, 29 and 30. Horrid scenes! Many dead Federals still on the field, though a squad of their men, under flag of truce, has been some days caring for wounded and burying dead.

I found a wounded Federal sitting on the field - a broken thigh, a rifle ball through his arm and a bruised shoulder made him right helpless. His undressed wounds were sore. He asked me if I thought our surgeons would care for him. I assurred him they would. He said he had a wife and two little children in his northern home. His parents were pious and had raised him piously, but he had neglected his own soul. I said: "Brother, Jesus loves you. You came down here to kill my brothers, but I love you." He broke down and sobbed aloud: "You don't talk like one man that came here. He upbraided me." He told me our men had been very good to him during the three or four days he had been there. As one hurried by he would give him water and food, and raise him up to rest certain tired muscles. Another would stop to give him more food and water and lay him down.

They had just taken the last Confederate wounded from that part of the field. He was on the surgeon's table a few yards away. I trust this Federal was soon taken to that table. As I was about to hurry away to overtake my regiment he asked me to lay him down! How could I? Where could I take hold? I did the best I could. As I took him by the hand and commended him to God, I think my heart was as tender as it ever was. His bones may be in that field now. I hope to meet his soul in Heaven in a few years. Hurry on ten miles and overtake our regiment. Sleep cold and take cold. Frost next morning.

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