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Cold comfort.

Do our readers remember a newspaper entitled The Atlanta Confederacy?--a journal which has, even in gloomy times, furnished us with matter for cheerful comment. We are grieved to announce that this once jovial sheet is now deeply “depressed at the (Rebel) reverses sustained during the winter months.” According to The Confederacy, the thermometer is greater than the sword, and the traitors must not expect to win any more battles until hot weather is well established. At present the Southern population is “chilled, benumbed, and lifeless.” At present the Southern patriot “would scarcely move from a good hickory log to dodge a cannon ball.” Wait 'till the mercury bobs up to above eighty degrees in the shade! Confederate valor is of a dormouse variety. Just now, Chivalry is hybernating! Poor Tom's a-cold! He can't be expected to thaw into invincibility until about the middle of June. Then he will come out, like a polar bear, lean but ferocious. “Then,” says [227] The Confederacy, he will “revel in his tropical glory.” He is never irresistibly savage until he sweats. He cannot be valorous save in his shirt-sleeves. In hot weather “he pants for blood.” At least, so says The Confederacy.

On the other hand, according to this newspaper, a Yankee is never half so valorous as when half frozen to death. He does n't begin to show himself until lie shivers. He is nobody, unless the wind is north-east. He is a sweltering zany at a temperature one degree above nothing. The solar rays are more fatal to him than famine. When “the Southerner revels in his tropical glory,” the Yankee “wilts, and goes under.” “Mark what we say,” exclaims this military meteorologist, “the first battle on a hot day, we will whip the fight.” This is plucky, if not precisely grammatical. It is evident that nothing can save us but a providential succession of the nastiest North-Easters. Under these circumstances, perhaps our generals should receive instructions never to fight except when it is chilly. To be sure, a good many years ago it was not what you might have exactly called cold at Concord and Lexington; and we believe overcoats were rather than else discarded at Bunker Hill. We know something about warm weather up here, planted as we are in close proximity to the North Pole. We beg leave to assure our brother of The Confederacy that we do not go in bear-skins the year round. Exudation will not be a phenomenon altogether new to us. We have that rarity, “the hottest day of the season,” even in these [228] latitudes. What says the poet, Dr. Holmes? “The folks that on the first of May, Wore winter-coats and hose, Began to say, the first of June, ‘Good Lord, how hot it grows! ’ ” And that was in Boston, the very nursery and ague-paradise of North-Easters.

If ninety degrees above, in the shade, were necessarily fatal, we should have “a very dying time” here in New York every Summer. One set of dog-days would leave Manhattan a desert. Yet, somehow, by virtue of straw hats, linen coats, and ice at discretion, we do, some of us, survive surpassingly high temperatures. We do not call ourselves absolute salamanders — nor Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos — but we do not believe that the fiery sunbeams of Secessia will quite singe the hair off our soldiers' heads, nor that our braves will be driven to Sydney Smith's extremity, of getting out of their flesh to sit, or stand, or do battle in their bones. Somehow, we can not think of our gallant fellows advancing with fans in one hand and the rifle in the other. Thus far in more than one fight, they have shown themselves cool enough. We hope it will not be entirely different in June.

It is curious to notice the fatuity with which the Rebels rely upon Hot Weather and the Yellow Fever. It would be still more curious to see them upon their knees praying for a pestilence-supplicating for miasma-beseeching Heaven to change the proportions of atmospheric air, and to diminish the quantity of ozone — tenderly invoking the gentle offices of the measles and fever-and-ague — sighing for the co-operation [229] of the small-pox — begging that fate may cut us off from our quinine, and that every shell which they discharge may shiver at least one of our medicine-chests. They do not seem to remember that if death should become general, they might be called upon to die just a little. Under the most favorable circumstances, in past years, acclimation has not saved them from fatal, periodical epidemics — they have been swept off even as if they were common mortals. How will it be with the hot skies bending over their dirty camps — with their Commissariat in confusion — with the army-uniforms and blankets in rags — with no habits among the men of self-restraint, and with but little intelligence among the officers? Will not those “children of the sun,” as The Confederacy calls them, be in some danger of disease? The Atlanta newspaper assures us that, under these circumstances, “the current of life,” in Southern arteries, “flows with accelerated speed.” It may flow altogether too fast.

This acute journalist is complacent in the opinion that no Yankee will fight unless the weather be such as to make “a heavy coat and thick boots” comfortable. To be sure, some of our army-coats have not heretofore been of the heaviest, nor have our army-boots been of the thickest — but let that go! If The Confederacy be right, it becomes us to make haste and to do our fighting before the days of the dog-star. If the Southron “dreads cold weather,” now is the time to give him a little brisk exercise.

April 30, 1862.

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