August 30, 1862, The New York Herald
The public will be relieved this morning on finding that, instead of rebel raids, our troops are gaining victories in front of Washington, and that our government is giving the news in some authentic form. We publish elsewhere the important despatch from Pope, which shows that the plans of the rebels have thus far been circumvented, and that communication between Washington and the old Army of Virginia is open once more.
It will now be seen that after ten days’ retreating, manoeuvring and fighting between Culpepper Court House and Centreville, it is not Pope, but the rebel army, which is in a tight place; for Pope is not in the situation in which McClellan found himself when his right wing was turned by the enemy in front of Richmond — that it, without supports or reinforcements. On the contrary, on the right of Pope, and on the way up from Fredericksburg, is the new Army of the Potomac, under Burnside; while advancing forward from Alexandria is the newly organized Army of Virginia, under McClellan. Burnside is reported to have since joined Pope, and the two forces unitedly have, with great slaughter, cut their way through the rebel ranks and formed a junction with General McClellan.
After the raids of Stuart and Fitzhugh Lee on Catlett station, Bristow and Manassas Junction, Pope, with commendable promptness arranged his army in three divisions, under McDowell, Reno and himself, and advanced on the rebels by three different routes. This movement was a splendid one. On Thursday, the 28th inst., these corps accomplished their work, driving the rebels before them in gallant style, capturing prisoners, baggage, arms and artillery, and closing the day in the midst of a battle. It was expected by Pope that the disposition of his forces would enable Heintzelman to take part in the glory at daylight yesterday morning, and from the position of Stonewall Jackson’s troops, our General believed in achieving another victory by defeating and driving the rebels before him, and perhaps in destroying that portion of the enemy’s army.
But with all this good and certain news we have yet to fight a battle that is to be the decisive one in front of the national capital, and it will undoubtedly be one of great magnitude and importance. The government takes this view of the position of things in that neighborhood, and to meet the emergency it is announced that McClellan takes the immediate command of the whole army of Virginia, with Pope and Burnside at the head of the two auxiliary armies of the Rappahannock and Potomac.
Our abolition disorganizing radicals may sneer at this reorganization of the several armies of McClellan, Pope and Burnside; they may say that the best we can now look for is the retreat of all these armies behind the fortifications of Arlington Heights, the dropping of the musket, the resumption of the spade, and another winter siege of Washington and blockade of the Potomac by the rebel army. But we expect nothing of the sort. There is to be active and sharp work. The fortifications in front of Washington are the base, and onward is now the word. The question which is presented to General Lee is not how is General Pope to be most effectively put out of the way, but how is an engagement to be avoided without having to fight the superior forces of Pope, McClellan and Burnside combined?
This is the battle which we now anticipate, with or without the choice of General Lee, and there is no reason to apprehend any other than the best results. It is not likely that if General Halleck had any misgivings whatever he would permit, at this crisis, regiment after regiment to return home. The three months service of these regiments has expired; but we know that they would promptly and cheerfully consent to remain near Washington ten, twenty, or thirty days longer, if called upon to do so. In the fact that they have not thus been called upon, it is evident that General Halleck is satisfied that everything is safe, and that the general plan of this campaign has not been disturbed by these late rebel operations around Manassas.
The issue will be settled within a very few days, and we expect the most glorious results to the cause of the Union.