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[72]

The First great crime of the War.

Major General W. B. Franklin.
Nearly sixteen years ago the country was wrenched to its centre by the battle of Bull Run. This battle was the climax of a campaign, undertaken at the dictation of a clique in the press led by the New York Tribune, and in the then excited state of public feeling, the spirit awakened against the apparent inaction at Washington was enough.to override the President, the Secretaries, and the General-in-Chief. The facts that 75,000 militia should have been called out nearly three months before, and that a large number of them were encamped near Washington, that they had, so far, struck no blow for its defense (although their presence alone was ample defense), that few, if any, had been killed, and that the rebels were in force at Manassas, defying these defenders to come forward, were so flagrant and preposterous, that their mere presentation broke down all military caution and conservatism, and the “On to Richmond” cry forced the Bull Run campaign on the country, with all its sequence of disaster and depression, and the mixed feelings of shame, and grief, and rage, which swept over the country like a whirlwind. The Bull Run fight had one good result for our side, and, so far as I am aware, only one. It taught our people to be a little patient, and not to expect the army to be ready to move next week. The disaster which came upon us in July, when thirty thousand three months men, whose terms of enlistment would expire in a few days, commanded by general officers, not one of whom had been in action in a grade higher than that of captain, were hurried forward to defeat, would certainly have come upon us in September,

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