Four pieces, includes ALS, 2pp., dated Mar. 23 1864, on Dept. of Northwest stationery, Milwaukee, to Genl. E.A. Hitchcock
. Pope writes (in part): I have read with profound interest & satisfaction your very thorough and exhaustive analysis of McClellan's report as published in the N.Y. Times & I may safely congratulate the Army and the country that the character and conduct of the military & political anti-Christ of the U.S. are being thus made manifest. If you continue the series as you have begun it McClellan's neck will be broken."
This letter is followed by an ALS of Hitchcock's
dated March 28th from Washington, accepting his congratulations but giving credit for the Times article to a Mr. Wm. Swinton, who interviewed Hitchcock: "I talked freely with him and made some suggestions to him. I went even a little further and permitted him to see and to use some few written notes of mine, touching [on] the causes of the detention of McDowell & c....History will give you the credit of beating the rebel army in front of Washington so far as your own plans and arrangements were concerned. You beat them, at any rate, but would have
crushed them had your orders been obeyed. McClellans entire merit consisted in organizing the freshly raised troops, as they arrived here in the beginning of the war. The moment he attempted to handle the troops, he proved himself entirely unequal to the task. I hope this is the worst that can be said of him, for it is painful to suspect anything beyond that."
etc. In a 3rd ALS
, dated April 4th, Pope thanks Hitchcock for his "flattering view"
and goes on to say, "I may at least assert with confidence that whatever mistake was made in that campaign, I, at least, did the best I knew how to do...If there were mistakes committed by me,they were due to erroneous judgement only & I am very grateful for the given opinion of an offiver of such high character & thorough military knowledge as yourself...I repeat, that in my judgement the vital point of McClellan as a patriot & unhonorable man will be found in his conduct at Alexandria. He stands there by his own record convicted not alone of military incompetency but of plain & manifest treachery to his country & to the army which was being slaughtered within his hearing."
etc. Also included is a National Intelligencer editorial of May 1866 about Swinton's "Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac", with a 3-page anonymous ms. letter sent in but never published, criticizing Swinton's defense of Fitz John Porter. Very Fine, a remarkable and important series of letters that begin in frankness, and end in indiscretion and vanity - those qualities that led Pope to be "put on the shelf" in the Dept. of the Northwest
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