hated blue lines before them, force their way through to the mountains, or die together there.
In estimating Grant
's claims as a general, we must admit that one principle by which he achieved bis success is a new one.
It is known in this country as the “principle of attrition” ; and being a newly-announced principle of war, may be appropriately discussed in a paper like this.
Whatever the military student may find in Grant
's career to admire, he should not unadvisedly adopt this “principle of attrition.”
Humanity revolts at it and history will arraign Grant
for the recklessness with which he dashed his men to death.
, he either could not or would not manceuvre, but knowing that for every thousand men who were slain by the rifles of the army of Virginia he would within ten day's time receive an equal number of recruits, he persevered in a criminal manner in this new principle of war. It is quite remarkable that the tactics of the late Commander
of the Army of the United States and his successor, General Sherman
, were so at variance, and yet carried both men to such substantial personal rewards.
announced and acted on the principle, “I never manoeuvre.”
Sherman never fought
when he could avoid it, except at Chickasaw Bluff, but is the greatest of living manceuvrers.
Without doubt Grant
must be held responsible for the stoppage of the exchange of prisoners, which was the most cruel act of his plan of attrition.
No parallel can be found for this double crime against humanity.
In order that two hundred thousand effectives should be kept from the ranks of the Confederate army, they were incarcerated and starved deliberately in Northern prisons, while a greater number of his own men (two hundred and sixty thousand) were suffered to languish in Southern prisons.
It may be said that Grant
's superiors adopted this cruel measure.
While I am ready to believe it was conformable with their war policy, I cannot resist the conviction that Grant
could at any time have opened all those prisons, North and South, and have arrested the most cruel of all the horrors of this dreadful war. I have seen gentlemen who were confined in Northern prisons for more than two years, and who have assured me they never, during the last year of their imprisonment, knew what it was to be free from the pangs of bunger!