POPE, JOHN (1822-1892), American soldier, was the son of Nathaniel Pope (1784-1850), U.S. judge for the district of Illinois, and was born at Louisville, Kentucky, on the 16th of March 1822. He graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1842 and was assigned to the engineers. He served in the Mexican War, receiving the brevets of 1st lieutenant and captain for his conduct at Monterey and Buena Vista. Subsequently he was engaged in engineering and exploring work, mainly in New Mexico, and in surveying the route for a Pacific railroad. He was commissioned captain in 1856. He was actively opposed to the Buchanan administration, and a speech which he made in connexion with the presidential campaign of 1860 caused him to be summoned before a court-martial. Early in the Civil War he was placed, as a brigadier-general U.S.V., in charge of the district of Missouri, which by vigorous campaigning against guerrilla bands and severe administration of the civil population he quickly reduced to order. In 1862, along with the gunboat flotilla (commanded by Commodore A. H. Foote) on the Mississippi, Pope obtained a great success by the capture of the defences of New Madrid and Island No. 10, with nearly 7000 prisoners. Pope subsequently joined Halleck, and hi command of the Army of the Mississippi took part in the siege of Corinth. He was now a major-general U.S.V. The reputation he had thus gained as an energetic leader quickly placed him in a high command, to which he proved to be quite unequal. The " Army of Virginia," as - his new forces were styled, had but a brief career. At the very outset of his Virginian campaign Pope, by a most ill-advised order, in which he contrasted the performances of the Western troops with the failures of the troops in Virginia, forfeited the confidence of his officers and men. The feeling of the Army of the Potomac (which was ordered to his support) was equally hostile, and the short operations culminated in the disastrous defeat of the second battle of Bull Run. Pope was still sanguine and ready for another trial of strength, but he was soon compelled to realize the impossibility of retrieving his position, and resigned the command. Bitter controversy arose over these events. Halleck, the general- inchief, was by no means free from blame, but the public odium chiefly fell upon generals McClellan and Fitz-John Porter, against whom Pope, while admitting his own mistakes, made grave charges. Pope was not again employed in the Civil War, but in command of the Department of the North-West he showed his former skill and vigour in dealing with Indian risings. In 1865 he was made brevet major-general U.S.A. (having become brigadier-general on his appointment to the Army of Virginia), and he subsequently was in charge of various military districts and departments until his retirement in 1886. In 1882 he was promoted to the full rank of major-general U.S.A. General Pope died at Sandusky, Ohio, on the 23rd of September 1892.
He was the author of various works and papers, including railway reports (Pacific Railroad Reports vol. iii.) and The Campaign of Virginia (Washington, 1865).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)