‘We fought a terrific battle here yesterday with the combined forces of the enemy which lasted with continued fury from daylight until after dark, by which time the enemy was driven from the field, which we now occupy. . . . The enemy is still in our front, but badly used up. . . .’
Written on the final day of the Second Battle of Bull Run, Pope’s letter grossly exaggerates almost every aspect of the battle. Having underestimated the Confederate force, Pope either ignored or was unaware of the arrival of Confederate General James Longstreet’s forces. When Union troops attacked Stonewall Jackson’s troops on August 30, Confederate artillery crushed General Fitz John Porter’s corps and then Longstreet’s five divisions decimated the remainder of the Union force. Pope’s army was driven from the field in defeat.
Pope lost his command two weeks later, and blamed Porter, who was arrested, court martialed, and dismissed. Porter was exonerated by special commission in 1878.
Read Pope’s letter, published in a rare broadside 150 years ago today . . .