A Glorious Union or America: the New Sparta

Chapter One How a Little Napoleon Was Drowned
Chapter One

How a Little Napoleon Was Drowned


Taken from "A Revolution at Sea: How the Confederate States Navy changed the making of war at sea" by Admiral Sir James Sinclair-Davies RN KCMG
Portsmouth Press 1978

“The enmity between the Secretary of the Navy, Stephen Mallory and the Chief of Sea Coast, River and Harbour Defences, Matthew F. Maury had the potential to be extremely prejudicial to the effective operation of Maury’s branch of the Naval Service. Commander Maury had not forgiven Mallory for the latter’s work in instituting compulsory retirement for old and incompetent officers in the Naval Service when Mallory served on the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. Though Commander Maury was certainly not incompetent, as his tenure in the Confederate service was to prove, he was considered too old for the United States Naval Service prior to the Civil War…

...It is unclear who persuaded Maury to seek a reconciliation with Secretary Mallory on his appointment. His own letters refer only to “a good friend and better subordinate than any man deserves”. Some suggest Lieutenant Hunter Davidson of Maury’s office, but there is no evidence to support this. The results however were immediate. Commander Maury sought a private meeting with Secretary Mallory on 10 October 1861 to effect a reconciliation. Secretary Mallory is reported to have graciously reciprocated and one of the most effective relationships in the Confederate Government was born. One of the first beneficiaries of this spirit of co-operation was Commander Maury’s plan for the deployment of “torpedoes” (modern day mines) in the rivers and inlets of the Confederate coastline in the event of a naval incursion by Union forces. To this end Commander Maury’s office began, with the full support of the Naval Department, stockpiling torpedoes at key points along the Atlantic Coasts from as early as January 1862. Furthermore Secretary Mallory channelled some of his Department’s limited resources into Commander Maury’s scheme for “electric torpedoes”. A new threat to Navy shipping was being birthed by the partnership of Mallory and Maury.”


The Last Photograph of the USS Galena

Taken from "The Sinking of an American Napoleon" by Professor Bartlett L. Keane
LSU 1957

“Why Major General George Brinton McClellan thought his place during the Battle of Malvern Hill was on board the USS Galena 12 miles away on the James River remains an open question. He was completely out of contact with his forces for most the day, leaving effective command of the battle in the hands of Brigadier General Fitzjohn Porter.

Nonetheless on 1 July 1862 General McClellan was to become the most significant Union casualty to date. At approximately 1.34pm the USS Galena struck a torpedo which tore out a huge section of her hull and in 8 minutes the ship had heeled over on its side and sank. It would be more than 24 hours before the fate of General McClellan was known to General Porter and it would be another 24 hours before the first news began to circulate in Washington. It is now well established Civil War legend that both Secretary Seward and Major General Joseph Hooker coined the same quip on the same day about the fate of General McClellan – “he died as he had fought – all at sea”
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My first attempt at a full timeline so I appraciate any comments anyone might have. Now let's see if anyone can guess who I have in mind to ultimately succeed McClellan...
Chapter Two The Army has a Fitz and needs a Lie Down
Chapter Two

The Army has a Fitz and needs a Lie Down


"General Porter, you are hereby ordered to take command of the Army of the Potomac until such time as directed otherwise. You are to take steps immediately to prepare your troops for transfer north to support the operations of General Pope and the Army of Virginia..." Extract from the order of Secretary Stanton dated 6th July authorizing General Porter to formally adopt the command he had effectively been exercising since Malvern Hill.

Taken from "The Gallant Fitz - The Life and Letters of Major General Fitzjohn Porter" Edited by Terence O. Oliver
Great Bear Books 1982

"David I must warn you, should you come up to the [Harrisons] Landing you will see a forlorn sight. The heart has gone out of this army. The fight has gone out of this army. It mourns as I never imagined such a company could for its great Captain. This army will be fit for little until we can return to the banks of the Potomac to refit and rest. Frankly I tell you this army will not be fit to fight until the wounds it has suffered, in its lost comrades and beloved commander, have had time to heal. There are those here who believe otherwise. Who cry out for an attack - men like Hooker, Kearny and Richardson. They do not know this Army. They do not know, they do not feel its love for my great friend and beloved Captain - even now I cannot bear to write his name.

Do not mistake me now for I still believe this Army is the finest weapon our country has. I have inherited a great burden but my friend has left me the finest weapon this country has ever known in this, the Army of the Potomac. I hope and trust in God that in a short time the shock of our loss will begin to pass and this Army will begin to think on revenging itself for the dishonourable assassination of its Captain. When that time comes no force in the rebellious South can stop us. I was all for peace with honour to end this war before the murder of our Captain, but by God I hope there will be no peace - no peace until this Army has been revenged..." [A letter to his cousin, Admiral David Dixon Porter].

Taken from "The Slumbering Giant - The Army of the Potomac in the Rappanhannock Campaign" by George Cresap Ord
MacMahon Publishing

"The Army of the Potomac had certainly been stunned by the loss of its Commanding General, but the depressing picture painted by the letters and reports of General Porter and certain of his subordinates (William F Smith and George Morrell in particular) was not an accurate reflection of its fighting readiness. Indeed several divisional and brigade commanders reported that "The fighting spirit in this army is undiminished. Indeed the fighting spirit of revenge is abroad in this army with a will. And we mean to have our revenge soon as we can." (General Dan Sickles in a private letter to Edwin Stanton).

However it was the spirit of depression and loss that pervaded the highest councils of the Army of the Potomac over the two months following McClellan's death. Porter was slow to overcome the personal loss he had suffered in both a close friend and trusted commander. Though he moved quickly to replenish the supplies and stores lost in the retreat to Harrisons Landing, he was in no hurry to respond to the call for troops to support General Pope. It was therefore 23rd August before large numbers of troops from the Army of the Potomac were transported north, and these landed at Alexandria, well north of the landing at Aquila Creek were Lincoln and Stanton thought they had ordered Porter to land.

Yet Lincoln and his cabinet gave Porter time, for in truth they too were stunned by the unexpected loss of their Commanding General. McClellan may not have been a willing subordinate to the executive power, but his presence had been taken for granted, even by his enemies who had no expectation of getting anyone "better" for the time being. The choice of Porter to retain the command left to him on the day of Malvern Hill by McClellan was always seen as a stop gap measure by the President and his cabinet for Porter was "McClellan's creature" (William Seward in a note to Thurlow Weed 15 July 1862). Indeed while Fitzjohn Porter may have proved a harder fighter than McClellan in a scrape, he seemed no keener than his old captain to get into one. Pressure to end his "temporary" command of the Army mounted just as events on the Rappanhannock took a turn..."
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Chapter Three We want No Pope Here Part I: On the Union Side of the Rappanhannock
Chapter Three

We want No Pope Here
Part I: On the Union Side of the Rappanhannock


Extracts from "The Campaign along the Rappanhannock Line - In their own words" by Professor John C. Dunning
New York 1995

"Henry Wager Halleck's appointment as Commander in Chief to replace the fallen McClellan, and John Pope's appointment to command the Army of Virginia were not popular among the officers and men of the Armies of the East...Samuel Sturgis expressed the views of many in his own colourful language - "I don't care for John Pope one pinch of owl dung"...

It was also the view of several of Pope's senior commanders that he was out of his depth organising and leading an army. "I feel that disgrace here is inevitable. This is the state of things - no order - no system - all is confusion" according to Brigadier General Marsena R. Patrick...

Nonetheless General Pope was ordered to defend the line of the Rappanhannock with the three corps of the Army of Virginia - Sigel's I Corps, Bank's II Corps and McDowell's III Corps, and one corps of the Army of the Potomac which had been pried from Porter - Burnside's IX Corps. The language of Halleck's order to "dispute every inch of ground and fight like the devil till we can reinforce you" expresses an urgency not felt either by John Pope or Fitzjohn Porter. Indeed Pope was looking for an opportunity to attack any isolated elements of Lee's army. In correspondence with General Burnside, in seeking support for a bold stroke, Pope was very clear "of course I shall be ready to recross the Rappanhannock at a moment's notice"...

While Pope, Banks and Burnside believed there might be an opportunity to strike at Lee others thought it was the ambition to be appointed to the Potomac Command that drove all three (the rumours of Porter's "temporary" appointment now being widespread). In a meeting with his old friend Pope, George Meade expressed himself forcefully "What are you doing out here? This is no place for this army. It should at once fall back so as to meet the Army of the Potomac coming up and by superior force overwhelm Lee". An angry Pope is reported to have responded that he could "whip Jackson's whole force before me with half the number of Westerners, but I shall have to make do whipping them with twice the number of Easterners". Pope not only fell out with his old friend Meade during these summer months. He had feuds running with Franz Sigel, Samuel Sturgis and Gordon Granger...


Taken from "The Slumbering Giant - The Army of the Potomac in the Rappanhannock Campaign" by George Cresap Ord
MacMahon Publishing

“With Burnside’s IX Corps assigned to Pope and Keyes’ IV Corps still in Eastern Virginia under John A. Dix’s command, Porter had full four Corps at Alexandria – Sumner’s II Corps, Heintzelman’s III Corps, Franklin’s VI Corps and Philip Kearny’s V Corps. Porter had wanted to raise up George Morrell or George Sykes to command his old corps, but Lincoln’s will had prevailed – “I mean for this corps to go to one of my fighting Generals”. In trying to placate Joe Hooker who was also campaigning for the Corps Lincoln said “I do feel sorry [General Hooker] for General Kearny has given you hard standard to beat, for I expect you, with both your arms, to fight twice as hard”…

As the Army of the Potomac was to march off for the Rappanhannock, General McClellan intervened one final time to slow his old army down. “I have the sad duty to inform you that the rebels have found the remains of General George McClelland [sic] which have been identified by means of many personal items still on his person. General Lee has very kindly made arrangements to return the remains and I have made immediate arrangements to return the same to Washington on the first steamer out.” General John A. Dix to Secretary Stanton…

To Stanton’s fury and Halleck’s bewilderment President Lincoln agreed to the request of General Porter that the four corps might remain for a few more days so as to pay their respects to their beloved commander with a final march past. “They must see him buried and with him I hope the spirit of shyness and defeat that has dogged this army”. It was a view not shared by the newest of the Army’s Corps Commanders Phil Kearny – “let us have no more of this damned nonsense [referring to the funeral parade]. It’s well enough when there’s nothing else to do; now we are up here to fight, and, when we can’t fight, let your men sleep. Feed ‘em well, give ‘em plenty of sleep and they’ll fight like hell!

Those few days became a week, a week that was to cost the Union dear...
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Very interesting so far, I like the use of quotes and excerpts to present the history.

With one or two exceptions only I have tried to stick to real quotes or very slightly amended quotes where I can. Who needs to make stuff up when you've got people like Samuel Sturgis to quote...
Chapter Three We Want No Pope Here Part II: On the Confederate Side of the River
Chapter Three

We Want No Pope Here
Part II: On the Confederate Side of the River


From “Baiting the Trap: The Southern History of the Rappahannock Campaign” by Professor Virgil Earp Stacey.
LSU 1983

“It was not in General Lee’s character to show personal dislike of anyone, friend or foe, but in the Summer of 1862 General Lee found a man so detestable that even he could not conceal his dislike. That man was John Pope…in one of his dispatches he refers to him as the “miscreant Pope”, and in a private letter, when he mentioned his nephew Louis Marshall, who had sided with the North, he remarked “I could forgive [his] fighting against us , but not his joining Pope”. Lee had acquired a contempt for John Pope and he had resolved to “suppress that man”…

Pope had settled in with the Army of Virginia at Rappahannock Station. Buford’s cavalry was barely pushing patrols out as far as Brandy Station., while Burnside’s Corps rested at Fredericksburg. Lee had initially planned a wide flanking maneuver around Pope’s western flank but while he understood McClellan, Fitzjohn Porter was more of an unknown character. Lee resolved not to divide his army in the face of Porter and Pope, rather it was Stuart who presented an initial idea to lure Pope’s cavalry, under Buford and Bayard, out in the open around Brandy Station. A germ of an idea that Lee grew into a plan to destroy the Army of Virginia before it was joined by the Army of the Potomac.”

From “The Trojan Cigars” an article by William F. Williams in Virginia History Quarterly 1953

“George Dashiell Bayard was skeptical. One thing he had learned about the Colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry was that he was given to a certain amount to hyperbole, but then Colonel Alfred Duffie was French and a certain amount of that kind of thing was to be expected. But when he reviewed the orders a Rhode Islander had found in Beverley Robertson’s camp, wrapped around a bundle of cigars, he realized the Colonel was not exaggerating for once. Not only had the Rhode Islanders driven off the complacent rebel cavalry from an encampment arrogantly close to the Union Army, but they had captured a order detailing the marching orders for the entire rebel army in Northern Virginia.

Bayard and Duffie immediately rode into Rappahannock Station looking for General Pope. They first met Generals John Reynolds, George Meade and Marsena Patrick. The three generals were quickly consulted. Meade confirmed that the scrawled amendments to Jackson’s marching orders were definitely in Lee’s hand. Meade was certain - he and Lee had served together in on Scott’s staff in the Mexican War. A few minutes later the four generals and one colonel arrived at Pope’s headquarters at the Bowen House. Pope reviewed the document, in silence for a moment. “By God if I can’t lick Bobby Lee now I deserve to be hung!” proclaimed Pope “and all before Porter can come up.”

Special Order No.73
Hdqrs Army of Northern Virginia
August 24, 1862

1. General Jackson’s command is to return to Culpepper Court House from the area of the Manassas Gap with General W.H.F Lee’s Brigade. [The following in General Lee’s own hand writing] General Jackson is not to bring on an engagement with the enemy but is to return by the same route, again using Lee’s brigade to screen his movements. The movement towards Warrenton is cancelled - the enemy is concentrating.
2. General W.H.F Lee is to detach no more than one regiment with instructions to interrupt and damage the railroad between the Manassas and Thoroughfare Gaps as practical and to return by the same route bringing up all stragglers who may have been left behind.
3. General Longstreet is to concentrate his corps at Culpepper Court House. Of the two divisions before Fredericksburg, Kemper’s Division has been directed to report to you on August 30. Hood’s Division is to remain before Fredericksburg and is to be considered as under the commanding general’s direct orders.
4. General Evans is directed to take his Brigade to Orange Court House to assist in obtaining supplies and forage for the concentration of this army.
5. All officers belonging to the commands of Generals French and D.H. Hill , still with the Army of Northern Virginia for whatever reason, are to disregard Special Order No. 71 to return to their commands, having missed the demonstration.
6. All commanders are reminded of the General Orders pertaining to the placement of appropriate pickets to detect any movement by the enemy, which the commanding general has had cause to notice has not been complied with in several instances heretofore

The indications were that Longstreet was isolated with only part of his command at Culpepper Court House. Jackson was off on a, now defunct, raid on Pope’s flanks. It could two, three, perhaps even four days before Jackson would receive the order and return to Culpepper Court House as ordered. The skeptics in Pope’s command were silenced upon receipt of confirmation that the commands of Generals S. French and D.H. Hill had launched a demonstration against Dix and Keyes during the previous evening, in the Peninsular theater, with the obvious intention of distracting attention away from the Rappahannock.


That settled it - Pope gave the order: Banks, Sigel and McDowell were to prepare for an advance on Longstreet on the following morning (August 25). Burnside was ordered to leave a division to hold Fredericksburg and to hasten to Rappahannock Station as swiftly as possible. Pope’s intention was to use Burnside to deal with Jackson should the forward elements of his command arrive while Pope was still mopping up Longstreet’s forces. And the message to Halleck - "Am planning a reconnaissance in force in the morning. Will report progress throughout the day." As far as Pope was concerned the laurels were his for the taking and he'd be damned if Halleck or Porter would share, and anyway he did not want to spoil the "festivities". The Army of the Potomac had just paid its final respects to General McClellan that afternoon, and come the morning there would be more than a few sores heads in Alexandria and Washington.

So on the morning of August 25 the Corps of Banks, Sigel and finally McDowell began crossing the Rappahannock by the Rappahannock Bridge and several nearby fords. The Army of Virginia was on the march, with Burnside in its wake..."
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Chapter Four "I mean to bag the lot" The Battle of the Rappahannock Part I
Chapter Four

"I mean to bag the lot"
The Battle of the Rappahannock

Part I


Taken from "The Slumbering Giant - The Army of the Potomac in the Rappanhannock Campaign" by George Cresap Ord
MacMahon Publishing

“It was just after 10.30am when the sound of cannon fire was heard by the outlying pickets of the Army of the Potomac. A hand full of generals quickly gathered at General Porter’s Headquarters. “There is no need for alarm gentlemen. General Halleck has informed me that General Pope is carrying out a reconnaissance in force this morning to establish the enemies numbers between the Rappahannock and Culpepper Court House. There is no need to rush our departure.” General Porter’s words that morning satisfied most of the Generals present, but Kearny and Hooker were straining at the leash to be off. Kearny had given orders to his divisional commanders to be ready to march as soon as the reports of cannon fire had been heard…”

Extracts from "The Campaign along the Rappanhannock Line - In their own words" by Professor John C. Dunning
New York 1995

Why we hesitate I cannot imagine. It is fearful infatuation to wait. The men are ripe for it, as you remark. Of course they are. First they are as earnest as patriots, and next they have an instinct of the storm brewing on the horizon.” General Kearny to General Hooker upon leaving the first conference at Porter’s HQ.

Taken from "The Slumbering Giant - The Army of the Potomac in the Rappanhannock Campaign" by George Cresap Ord
MacMahon Publishing

“It was around 11.45am when rumours of the Marching Order began to circulate that again a bevy of Generals descended on Porter’s Headquarters. Several proposed the immediate departure of troops by rail to Warrenton and Rappahannock Station. “It is criminal that General Pope would not immediately warn us of the potential presence of 30,000 troops near Thoroughfare Gap. Regardless of what this Marching Order says we must take action to secure Warrenton and our communication with Pope”. General Porter then sought reports from his Corps commanders – when could they march? Kearny confirmed the V Corps could march immediately. Heintzelman confirmed that Hooker’s Division could move immediately and that Sickles’ Division would be ready by 1pm. Of the remaining commanders only Sumner could report that Richardson’s Division would be ready to move in less than two hours. The parade and McClellan’s send off on the previous day had left commands scattered and ill prepared for an immediate march.

General Porter then made what many consider his best decision of the day: General Kearny was ordered to go by rail with Hooker’s Division as far as Warrenton. He was to act as forward commander as troops were sent up – Hooker’s and Richardson’s Divisions by rail and V Corps by road. Kearny was to report on the security of Warrenton and try to maintain communication with Pope. Kearny was to be assisted by Colonel Haupt to get the troops up to Warrenton as fast as possible.

At this point, however, no one in the Army of the Potomac knew the precise contents of the marching Order or, more importantly, that Pope’s “reconnaissance in force” consisted of the entire Army of Virginia…”
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Chapter Four "I mean to bag the lot" The Battle of the Rappahannock Part II
Chapter Four

"I mean to bag the lot"
The Battle of the Rappahannock

Part II


From “Bird on a Rail – the Civil War Career of Colonel Herman Haupt” by Jacob W. Hunsacker
Carlisle Press 1972

“From the moment Kearny alighted from the first train into Warrenton Junction and met Haupt, it was clear to Haupt that Kearny did not believe Warrenton was threatened or that he intended long to remain at Warrenton. Kearny’s first enquiry of Haupt was how quickly he and his staff could get Hooker and Richardson to Warrenton. Haupt then interrupted to tell Kearny that Pope had in fact advanced with his whole Army over the Rappahannock, and that by now Burnside with his remaining division may have crossed too. For a moment, Haupt reports, there was silence. Then Kearny spoke – could Haupt continue to transport more divisions from Alexandria to Warrenton and still have enough rolling stock to transport two divisions to Rappahannock Station. Haupt, thoughtful, nodded his assent.”

From “The Forgotten Service – A History of the Cavalry under McDowell, McClellan and Porter” by Col. Jack Danish
United States Military Society

“Kearny took no chances however. He dispatched Col. William W. Averell and his 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry to scout towards and indeed beyond Thoroughfare Gap. “Do whatever is necessary to establish the location, and particularly the numbers of any rebel formations in that area. And for God’s sake make sure word gets through to me” instructed Kearny. It was not the for the last time over the next few days that Kearny was to bemoan the neglect of the mounted arm – its dearth of numbers and the absence of organisation.”​

From “Bird on a Rail – the Civil War Career of Colonel Herman Haupt” by Jacob W. Hunsacker
Carlisle Press 1972

“Haupt put the time at precisely 3.28pm when the crescendo of cannon fire became clearly audible. This was not the occasional fire of the morning. This had the sound of massed batteries. Kearny confided to Haupt that he believed Pope was fighting for his life. If the Movement Order was real Pope should have rolled over Longstreet’s weakened opposition and be moving on Culpepper Court House. In Haupt’s presence Kearny telegraphed his reading of the situation to General Porter, with Haupt's intelligence on Pope's movements and requested authority to take the V Corps to Rappahannock Station when it arrived. Porter refused but did confirm Kearny’s authority over all troop formations of the Army of the Potomac until such time as Porter arrived in person. Kearny is reported to have exclaimed “How do they expect Pope to beat, with a very inferior force, the veterans of Ewell, Jackson and Longstreet? Get me and my fighting corps with Pope – with Pope I would be able to breath again.” Some credit Haupt with the observation that the order prohibited the advance of V Corps beyond Warrenton but made no mention of Hooker or Richardson’s divisions or the division of Sickles which would follow. However Kearny’s earlier enquiry as to the ability to move troops to Rappahannock Station undermines the assertion that it was anything but his own idea.”​

From “A Thunderbolt on the Battlefield – the Battles of Philip Kearny: Volume II” by Professor Kearny Bowes
MacArthur University Press 1960

“Kearny ordered Hooker and Richardson to follow Haupt’s direction in forwarding their troops to Rappahannock Station. He also left orders that George Morrell was to assume command of Warrenton Junction upon his arrival with the I Division of V Corps. Morrell was instructed to establish contact with Averell’s patrol and report urgently to both Kearny and Porter the position at Thoroughfare Gap. A final order was left for Dan Sickles. Sickles was also to follow Haupt’s direction to continue on to Rappahannock Station but critically Sickles (who was likely to be accompanied by the III Corps commander, Samuel Heintzelman) was to consider himself under Kearny’s direct orders and was to brook no delay by Heintzelman, Morrell or anyone else.​

Upon the completing the final order to Sickles, Kearny leapt onto the first train to Rappahannock Station which was pulling out carrying the first part of Hooker’s Division, surprising onlookers by swinging onto the trains footstep with his one good arm. Kearny had made an important decision. He had decided not to confirm his departure or his orders to Hooker, Richardson, Sickles or Morrell to General Porter. Like Pope the previous day his last report was disingenuous – it was to report the dispatch of Averell’s patrol, the increased cannonade from the south and the arrival of Hooker’s Division. Only upon the arrival of Hooker and Richardson at the river would Kearny formally report the movement in the hope that once committed Porter would not order them back…”​
From “Bird on a Rail – the Civil War Career of Colonel Herman Haupt” by Jacob W. Hunsacker
Carlisle Press 1972

“Haupt, who had been privy to both deceptions, privately hoped that Kearny’s would have better results. It would be almost 6pm before Kearny arrived at the Rappahannock with the better part of Hooker’s Division..”​
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If I seem to be overegging this battle it is because, although the sinking of Little Mac is the POD, it is the Battle of the Rappahannock that turns the ripples into waves...
Very Intresting. With McClellan's death, when Pope gets beat by Lee, will there be an Sharpsburg like campaign?
Very Intresting. With McClellan's death, when Pope gets beat by Lee, will there be an Sharpsburg like campaign?

Without giving too much away (and assuming Pope is defeated by Lee! :p) Lee will certainly think about it, but events in the reorganisation of the AoV and the AotP might give him pause...