Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 158
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 158
 
 
no thought of three really able generals in the West, Grant, William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas, whose achievements at the time were greater than Pope’s and Halleck’s.  18
  Pope began his brief career as commander with a tactless address to his army. “I have come to you from the West,” he said, “where we have always seen the backs of our enemies.… I presume that I have been called here to pursue the same system and to lead you against the enemy. It is my purpose to do so and that speedily.” He followed his address with four published orders, one of which was unjustifiable and impossible of execution and the other three unnecessary. Lee at once began the study of Pope.  19
  Frederick the Great, wrote Carlyle, “always got to know his man, after fighting him a month or two; and took liberties with him or did not take accordingly.” Learning to comprehend one’s adversary was commanders easy in our civil war as most of the opposing commanders had been acquainted at West Point or during service in Mexico. Longstreet was graduated in the same class with Pope and undoubtedly conveyed to Lee his judgment of West Point days that Pope “was a handsome, dashing fellow and a splendid cavalryman,” who “did not apply himself to his books very closely.” At all events Lee accepted the general academic estimate of the new commander as a boastful, ambitious man and not a hard student or a close thinker. When he heard of Pope’s address to the army, his estimate was lowered: the Federal general had shown contempt for the military maxim of centuries, “Do not despise your enemy.”  20
  McClellan’s army was at Harrison’s Landing on the James river. He desired that it should be reënforced, after which he would again take the offensive against Richmond; at first the President inclined to the General’s view, but he
 

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