(Part II in a series)
In June 1862, John Pope assumed command of the Eastern Theater’s newest army made up of disparate forces – the Army of Virginia. Unfortunately, Pope’s strong ego and dislike for the Army of the Potomac’s popular commander George B. McClellan (at least with the soldiers) placed him at odds with much of his own command. Nonetheless, he hoped to bring a Union victory to the East, specifically in northern Virginia. To accomplish this mission, he needed to control the region.
Similar to his previous command in northeast Missouri, Pope issued a series of orders to his new army regarding their authority over the northern Virginia populace, specifically to curb spying and guerrilla warfare. From the earlier campaigns in the region, in which several spies were caught, Union officers and men were convinced bands of marauders and spies lingered throughout the area. When Pope took command, he hoped to put an end to insurgency in the region near his army.
For instance, in General Order Number Five, the army was given free range to “subsist upon the country in which their operations are carried on.” Another order from Pope was near identical to policies used in Missouri, which once again placed responsibility of guerrilla activity and destruction in the hands of the civilians. In Order Number Eleven, civilians were required to take the oath of allegiance. If they refused, they would be banished beyond the Union lines. If those who pledged allegiance violated that oath, they would be executed. It was a similar punishment for those who re-entered Union lines after being banished. Unlike in Missouri, where he had limited support from his superiors, Pope had near-unanimous backing from the War Department and some of his own army.
In the words of historian Daniel Sutherland, who wrote one of the best-researched books on guerrilla warfare in the Civil War, in 1862, John Pope “redefin[ed] occupation policy in Virginia.” Soon after Pope took command, the Army of Virginia sustained a devastating loss at the Second Battle of Manassas, considered by many to be Lee’s greatest victory. Though the defeated general would be ordered west to Minnesota and would rarely be heard from again during the Civil War, Pope’s legacy went beyond his humiliating defeat and an abrasive personality.
Pope’s war in the Trans-Mississippi West had shaped the limits of enforcement policies to counter guerrilla warfare across all theaters of the war. In conclusion, it is fair to give him credit where credit is due. Pope helped shape the nature of total warfare that would ultimately pave the way for counter-insurgency measures and strategies used by the United State military ever since.
 John Matsui, The First Republican Army: The Army of Virginia and the Radicalization of the Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016), 118.
 General Order No. 5, dated July 18, 1862, Thomas C.H. Smith Papers, Ohio Historical Society; Peter Cozzens, General John Pope: A Life for the Nation (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 86.
 Secretary of War Edwin Stanton may have been involved in the writing and composition of Pope’s orders.
 Sutherland, 105.