First Bull Run Pope's biggest shortcoming

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MikeyB

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What was the Union cavalry doing during Second Manassas? For all of Pope's shortcomings, was this arguably his BIGGEST? If he had mastery of the cavalry corps, shouldn't even just competent execution have discovered Jackson marching past his rear, and perhaps avoided the embarrassing loss of his supply dump? And more importantly, shouldn't any competent cavalry execution have substantiated Porter's belief that Longstreet was sitting there on the flank ready to strike?

For all of Pope's flaws, was this what cost him the campaign?
 

MikeyB

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1st New Jersey was guarding Throughfare Gap, after Jackson had passed thru it. Ricketts Brigade was to their rear
So these units reported it and Pope misinterpreted the intent as heading back into the valley, is that right?

Goes back to cavalry failure. If one wing of Lee's army is reported on the move, shouldn't you be tracking them with your cavalry?
 
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James N.

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As I recall, John Buford was "guarding" or somehow engaged in the vicinity of Thoroughfare Gap and was either recalled or uncharacteristically fumbled the job. I believe he sent a warning to Pope but was cloudy on the details and failed to stress the importance of the situation. The Second Manassas Campaign was arguably Stuart's finest job doing what cavalry was intended for.
 
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MikeyB

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As I recall, John Buford was "guarding" or somehow engaged in the vicinity of Thoroughfare Gap and was either recalled or uncharacteristically fumbled the job. I believe he sent a warning to Pope but was cloudy on the details and failed to stress the importance of the situation. The Second Manassas Campaign was arguably Stuart's finest job doing what cavalry was intended for.
Would competent cavalry also have been able to figure out what Longstreet was up to (and perhaps saved Porter from being cashiered)? It seems like Pope's problems were based on bad intelligence, which sounds like could have been solved by utilizing his cavalry arm. Who was even commander of AoV cavalry corps?
 

huntdaw

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Pope did quite well here in Missouri at besieging New Madrid and exercising combined arms actions with the Navy at Island #10 just upstream in early 1862. While overshadowed by Ft. Donelson and Shiloh which were right before and after these actions, Pope received great acclaim and his success was hailed as an important victory. Indeed, it opened up the Mississippi to Memphis. Unfortunately, he was given too much to handle when he went East and was a miserable failure.
 

James N.

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Would competent cavalry also have been able to figure out what Longstreet was up to (and perhaps saved Porter from being cashiered)? It seems like Pope's problems were based on bad intelligence, which sounds like could have been solved by utilizing his cavalry arm. Who was even commander of AoV cavalry corps?
Unfortunately, at this time there was NO Union Cavalry Corps - brigades like Buford's were scattered about, willy-nilly often doing courier and escort duty. Lee also had no Cavalry Corps but DID have Stuart as his chief of cavalry, the next best thing. Lee's cavalry were organized into brigades and Stuart led what was then termed the cavalry division but he had oversight and knowledge of what was going on with the mounted arm. Union cavalry had no overall commander until Hooker instituted the Cavalry Corps under Stoneman prior to Chancellorsville in Spring, 1863. Pope could've done the same thing, combining his cavalry into a cohesive command but did not, to his misfortune.
 
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