and scattered over our vast territory or along our Western frontier, so that it was impossible to collect any considerable force together.
Our militia system had everywhere fallen into neglect, and in some States had almost ceased to have any real existence.
The wits laughed at it, and the platform-orators declaimed against it, to such a degree that it required some moral courage to march through the streets at the head of a company.
The South had been wiser, or, at least, more provident, in this respect.
The military spirit had never been discouraged there.
Many of the political leaders had long been looking forward to the time when the unhappy sectional contests which were distracting the country would blaze out into civil war, and preparing for it. In some of the States there had been military academies, where a military education had been obtained: so that they had a greater number of trained officers to put into their regiments.
This gave them a considerable advantage at the start.
Happily for us, graduates of West Point
were scattered all over the North
: to them the civil authority looked for assistance, and they rendered an assistance which cannot be too highly estimated.
was as unprepared as other States.
There was a small force of militia nominally organized; but the Constitution
and laws of the State
provided that all its officers should be elected by the men, and the Governor
was limited, in his selection of officers in case the militia was called out, to the parties so chosen.
In an emergency like this, it was