John Pope


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(1822–92) Union army officer, born in Kentucky. Pope was cited for bravery in the Mexican War (1846–48). A topographical engineer, he helped lay out the Pacific Railway. Pope was commissioned a brigadier general when the Civil War erupted, and he served under Gen. John C. Frémont, in 1862 heading the army of the Mississippi. President Abraham Lincoln named Pope to head the new Army of Virginia, a post he accepted reluctantly because he did not trust Gen. George B. McClellan to provide adequate backup in battle. His fears were realized during the Peninsular campaign when McClellan retreated, and Gen. Robert E. Lee split his troops and trapped Pope's forces, winning the Second Battle of Bull Run (1862). The defeat cost Pope his field command, although questions still remain about whether he was at fault or whether the inaction of his subordinate Fitz John Porter was to blame for the debacle.

From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence.

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