Thursday, May 10, 2012

Success or Failure?

On this day, the results of the Confederates' misinformation campaign are becoming clear.  They tricked  Pope  into exposing his numbers by reconoitering in full force.This caused Halleck to order two-thirds of Buell's army to protect his exposed right and two divisions of The Army of the Tennessee to their left to occupy the positions vacated by Buell.  Pope's misguided exploits have effectively shifted the Union advance three miles to the east despite Sherman's warnings of the previous day that he was encountering the enemy in force on the west. 

Pope seems intent on attacking Corinth through Farmington which lies five miles to the east.  Is he merely experiencing the exuberance of  easy victories the rebels have provided?  Are the Confederates truly that weak or are they drawing him into a trap? Remember that Pope and Halleck arrived at Shiloh several days after the battle and have never confronted the strength of the CSA's representatives in the field. Also that Halleck has never amended his report to Stanton denying that the rebels surprised the Union forces on April 6th.  He claimed that his men had two or three days prior notice of the attack. Perhaps this thread of communications will shed more light on the character of these two newcomers.

MONTEREY, May 10, 1862.
Major-General POPE:

I have been through the right and center to General Nelson. Buell moves two divisions to the left. Enemy reconnoitering on the right, apparently in force, evidently disposed to dispute the passage of Seven Mile Creek.


Pope remains preoccupied with his recent successes and proudly proclaims his dominance in the area.

May 10, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK:

All quiet in my front. My pickets occupy Farmington, as usual, the grand guards being in the hills beyond the creek. I can cross without difficulty any day.
I had the whole country on my left, as far as the railroad, thoroughly scoured by cavalry to-day. No signs of any enemy or that he had been there recently.
I am making several crossings of the creek at different places and can readily pass it any day you name.

JNumbers POPE,
Major-General, Commanding.*

Near Farmington, May 10, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK:

Deserter from Louisiana regiment in skirmish yesterday just in. Rebel force 35,000, under Bragg, Van Dorn, Hardee, and Price, with thirty-five pieces of artillery. Their purpose was to overwhelm my command and pursue to Tennessee River. We are supposed to number 10,000. Their loss was heavy, both in officers and men. Our loss I will report as soon as I can get returns. The country is clear to Farmington and beyond.

JNumbers POPE,
Major-General, Commanding.*

*ORE reports courtesy of my Favorite Link, Ohio State's eHistory

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