An 1842 West Point graduate and an Old Army veteran, John Pope rose swiftly to senior command in the West. By late 1862, his success in clearing New Madrid and Island No. 10 of Confederates had opened the Mississippi River almost as far as Memphis.
Lincoln chose him in the summer of 1862 to replace the popular McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac. With a bombastic opening address in which he questioned the courage of his troops, Pope alienated himself from them at the outset, and things quickly got worse. Robert E. Lee humbled him at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 29-30, 1862, thoroughly outwitting him and inflicting heavy casualties on his army. Despite Pope's claims that his subordinates were to blame, Lincoln relieved him of the command the next day.
Although Pope was never to be field commander after the Bull Run disaster, he held a series of district and department commands during the 1860s and 1870s. He officially retired from the service in 1886.