Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Appearance of Robert E. Lee

How did Lincoln view this infighting between his generals?

There were times when he could scarcely believe it. Practically all day on the Second Battle of Bull Run, Lincoln telegraphed McClellan, urging him to move to Pope’s assistance. One of McClellan’s replies, to the effect that Pope had to cut his own way out of the situation he had created, was especially revealing. But these personal animosities cost the North a major defeat.

When he learned the extent of the loss—10,000 men killed, wounded, or missing—Lincoln collapsed into a chair, exclaiming, “What will the country say?” Typically, he was quicker to recover than some of his generals. Within hours, a plan was established for a defensive perimeter of Washington, D.C. There were plenty of men available to serve, but the difficulty lay in their low morale, brought about by a series of missed opportunities and striking defeats.

The area surrounding Bull Run where Confederate and Union troops faced off in two significant battles during the Civil War.


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