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[53] subsequently announced the same policy in rather different language, to-wit: β€œTo hammer continuously again st the armed force of the enemy and his resources, until, by mere attrition, if by nothing else, there should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the loyal section of our common country to the constitution and laws of the land.” Under this pegging-hammer process, we must inevitably have succumbed, if we had remained on the defensive entirely, just as it is said the constant dropping of water will wear away the hardest stone.

Let us look at the condition of affairs at the close of May, 1863. The Federal forces held possession of Fortress Monroe, Yorktown and Norfolk in Virginia, with the control, by means of gunboats, of the Chesapeake, York river, and James river up to the mouth of the Appomattox β€” of the entire coast of North Carolina, except the mouth of Cape Fear river-of Port Royal and Beaufort island on the coast of South Carolina, with Charleston harbor blockaded and the city of Charleston besieged β€” of Fort Pulaski, at the mouth of the Savannah river, in Georgia--of the mouth of the St. John's river, Key West and Pensacola, in Florida--of the lower Mississippi, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Memphis, with Vicksburg and Port Hudson besieged, the fall of which latter towns was all that was necessary to give complete possession of the Mississippi river--of West Tennessee, the northern portion of Middle Tennessee, all of Kentucky, northwestern Virginia, including the Valley of the Kanawha, the lower Valley of Virginia, and all of eastern Virginia north of the Rappahannock. At the same time the entire coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico were so rigidly blockaded and patroled by war vessels, that it was a mere chance when the blockade was evaded.

The large army under Grant, besieging Vicksburg and Port Hudson, could very readily have been brought against one or the other of our armies in the field on the fall of the beleaguered towns, which was a mere question of time, as Gen. Johnston was unable to concentrate a force large enough to relieve

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Joseph E. Johnston (1)
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