The Court-Martial of General John Pope
Publication date: October 2011
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
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Newcomer Steven E. Condon's breakthrough analysis and novel presentation of one of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson's most celebrated Civil War victories, Second Manassas (a.k.a. Second Bull Run), is full of surprises. The list includes a mistaken mountain, a warning that never was, and John Pope's supposed real plan for entrapping Stonewall Jackson—a plan that Condon claims could have worked, had it only been implemented as Pope had ordered it. No, "The Court-Martial of General John Pope" is not alternate history. And, no, the many startling insights and new discoveries within this book are not fictions, even though they are presented inside the framework of a fictional trial taking place in the afterlife.
It seems that the much maligned Union general John Pope has demanded a trial in order to once and for all clear his military reputation from 150 years of accumulated slights, slanders, and misconceptions. And who is defending Pope in the Valhalla Courthouse? None other than that peerless American defense attorney Clarence Darrow.
The packed courtroom blazes with electricity and occasionally thunders in outrage as the wily Darrow pulls one white rabbit after another out of his well-stocked magician's hat in a performance that rivals his very best. But Darrow has his work cut out for him as he faces a tribunal as daunting as any that ever sat in judgment at Nuremberg, packed as it is with the ablest generals of history; ranging across the centuries from Alexander the Great to America's George S. Patton, these masters of the military art have—like all others—long considered Pope to be a laughingstock. Equally entertaining are the events outside the courtroom as twice each day three noted members of the press corps—including Mark Twain and Nellie Bly—furiously debate among themselves the merits of Darrow's long string of revelations. Readers can enjoy the excitement of courtroom drama as they thrill to some of the most startling discoveries in Civil War history in recent times and discover one of the fiercest but least known rivalries in American history.
This is because "Court-Martial" boasts as one of its centerpieces a rivalry that Condon reveals to be one of the most fascinating in American history: the fierce competition between Union General John Pope, the darling of the radical Republicans, and Union General George McClellan, the military standard bearer of the conservative Democratic Party and later Abraham Lincoln's Democratic opponent for President in 1864. Condon's book convincingly demonstrates for perhaps the first time the true depth and terrible impact of this fateful rivalry.
President Obama's June 2010 removal of General Stanley McChrystal from command of American forces in Afghanistan was not the first case of a US commander-in-chief experiencing a strained relationship with one of his senior generals while in the midst of waging a difficult war. Harry Truman had his share of troubles with the imperious Douglas MacArthur in the Korean War. And before both these Presidents, Abraham Lincoln suffered the misfortune of being saddled with the vain, contemptuous, and overly cautious George McClellan.
But whereas both Truman and Obama were decisive in ridding themselves of their troublesome general, Lincoln was not. Although privately favoring the replacement of McClellan with Pope, the President did not want to anger the Democrats by openly removing McClellan from command. So instead he attempted to surreptitiously feed McClellan's army bit by bit to Pope, an act of political equivocation that led him down a twisting path that ultimately left Lincoln feeling, in his own words, "controlled" by "circumstances" and stranded in a situation "with no remedy at present." This state of affairs proved disastrous for Pope and perhaps for the Union as well, as Condon de