John Pope (March 16, 1822 – September 23, 1892) was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East. After the Civil War, he resumed a successful military career in the Indian Wars.
John Pope in Southern Victory
John Pope was serving on lighthouse duty when the War of Secession began. Early in the war he was appointed to a number of commands, in which his success on the battlefield won him a promotion to Brevet Major General.
After the collapse of Maj. Gen. George McClellan's Peninsular Campaign in 1862, Pope headed the newly formed Army of Virginia. He brought an attitude of self assurance that was offensive to the eastern soldiers under his command. Despite this assurance, Pope was defeated by Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Bull Run. He was relieved of command in September 1862 and his army was merged into the Army of the Potomac. He spent the remainder of the war in the Department of the Northwest in Minnesota, dealing with the Sioux Uprising. In the war's aftermath, Pope grew extremely bitter at both the loss of the war, and Lincoln for sending him into, what he considered, humiliating exile.
By 1881, Pope was a Brigadier General in the regular army, commanding several regiments from Fort Catton, Nebraska. When the Second Mexican War began later that year, Pope found himself called upon by US President Blaine to put down a Mormon revolt in the Utah Territory. Pope understood that what he was facing was insurrection, and brought heavy fire power to bear against the rebel Mormons. However, he chose not to engage them in combat but rather overawe them with his military might. It worked and the rebels surrendered without a single shot being fired.
After taking full control of the territory, Pope used a constant display of overwhelming force to keep the populace from rioting, as he introduced draconian policies and hanged a number of Mormon leaders. During his rule, he had a few encounters with Abraham Lincoln, who had been stranded in the territory after it rebelled. Conversing with the former president, Pope expressed his anger towards him, and even had him arrested on evidence that Lincoln was actively assisting the Mormons. Although he tried to have him too, executed, he was under strict orders not to. He was finally ordered to release him by President Blaine, under the condition he was to leave the territory for a destination where there were few people to stir up. Pope took great relish in this reversal of fates, sending Lincoln into exile, and saw that as a fitting fate rather than hanging him.
Pope was able to work well with his second-in-command for much of his time in Utah, George Armstrong Custer, despite Custer having served as an aide to Pope's hated rival, George McClellan, during the War of Secession. In fact, his dispatches led to the War Department giving Custer a promotion to Brevet General and command of the defense of Montana from British invasion.
|Commander of the Army of the Mississippi
February 23, 1862 - June 26, 1862
A period of vacancy following
Albert Sidney Johnston
|Military Governor of Utah
A period of vacancy, then