Alert reader Will Keene has looked up some items and proposes these points:
(1) Marcy's orders to Pope to take to the field refer to "your command" which is different than ordering him to take command of a field army or of those forces outside the defenses.
I agree. Pope could have been confused by such an order and it is wrong for me to say that Pope's orders were unambiguously directed toward leading the ad hoc field force. Nor is Rafuse mistaken in viewing this as an order to take the AoV to the field, based on Marcy's wording alone. Orders to Pope were not as "clear and unambiguous" as I stated.
I am rethinking the possibility that McClellan intended the AoV to take to the field on September 5.
(2) There is apparently an early McClellan quote that says "honored with the charge of this campaign, I entered at once upon the additional duties imposed upon me." I am not sure where this quote is from, but it cannot negate the underlying evidence that he was not so honored (which unfolds in the timeline I have posted). McClellan's communications at the time are consistent not only internally but externally (matched against diaries and recalled conversations).
(3) Will asks "when the Army of Virginia was consolidated with the Army of the Potomac, was was the new army called if not the Army of the Potomac?" That is worth a very long post. Look at this wording: ""The Armies of the Potomac and Virginia being consolidated... " that announcement does not name what in mergers and acquisition is called "the surviving entity." Note that the Eichers in their Civil War High Commands nebtion that army names were often "unofficial" and "arbitrary." I think AoP was arbitrary but that it stuck.
More on that in the future.
Please have a go at the grindingly long chronology I have posted; I hope it brings clarity to the command crisis.