[CIVIL WAR]. STANTON, Edwin M. (1814-1869), Secretary of War. Letter signed, in secretarial hand, with autograph addition, to Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell, Washington, 17 May 1862. 1p, 8vo, War Dept. stationery. Orders directing McDowell to move upon Richmond along McClellan's right flank, "by the general route of the Richmond Fredricksburg Rail Road," keeping sure always to stay between Washington and the Confederate armies, to "cover the Capitol of the Nation against a sudden dash by any large body of the Rebel forces. General McClellan will be furnished with a copy of these instructions, and will be directed to hold himself in readiness to establish communication with your left wing and to prevent the main body of the enemy's army from leaving Richmond and throwing itself upon your column before a junction of the two armies is effected. A copy of his instructions...is annexed." -- STANTON. Autograph letter signed ("Edwin M. Stanton") to McDowell, Washington, 24 June 1862. "The President directs that the forces under your command, Banks, and Fremont be consolidated under command of General Pope into one army of three Corps, one commanded by Fremont, one by Banks and one by yourself...."
"THE PRESIDENT DIRECTS": LINCOLN STEPS IN TO TAKE COMMAND OF THE UNION ARMIES. Two crucial despatches in the roiling dispute between McClellan, Halleck and Lincoln as Commander in Chief over Union strategy in the spring and summer of 1862, documenting Lincoln's increasing role in battlefield strategy. Convinced that his 80,000-man force on the Peninsula was too weak to move against Richmond, McClellan insisted that McDowell's entire army be sent down the Peninsula by water. Lincoln adamantly refused to leave the capitol unprotected and would only agree to send McDowell's force by land. When the Confederates learned of McDowell's impending move, they sent Stonewall Jackson into the Shenandoah Valley. News of Jackson's highly mobile offensive reached Washington just after this first despatch and resulted, on May 24, in Lincoln's suspending McDowell's orders to reinforce McClellan (see T. Harry Williams, Lincoln and His Generals, pp.94-105).
Lincoln and Stanton attempted to use McDowell's and Fremont's forces to entrap Jackson in the Valley, but the attempt failed, to Lincoln's intense displeasure, due to the slow response of the two commanders. "The important lesson the Federals learned from their failure to trap Jackson was 'unity of commmand' (Boatner, p.742)." In the second despatch, just two weeks after Jackson brilliantly evaded capture, Lincoln combines Fremont's Mountain Department, Banks's Department of the Shenandoah, and McDowell's Department of the Rappahannock into a unified force under Genl. Pope (1822-1892). Pope and his new Army of Virginia would prove no more successful than McDowell. Together two items. (2)