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 must have gone down in the first storm she met; and her draught of water was such that she could not get far enough up the James River to be out of the reach of the Federal navy, to which the river was now opened, and which at any cost would have avenged upon the Merrimac the loss of the Cumberland and Congress. She must either be destroyed or fall into our hands. This now seems obvious enough; but the sacrifice of the Merrimac — the Virginia, as they called her — was a bitter draught for the Southern people to swallow. It wounded them in their sectional pride, where the Southern mind has always been so sensitive. The newspapers were loud and general in lamenting and denouncing it; and even the court of inquiry which was summoned to investigate the subject reported that her destruction was unnecessary at the time and place at which it was effected. But, for all this, the sacrifice of the Merrimac was a necessary result of the policy of defence which, after great deliberation, was adopted; and that the policy was sound, subsequent events have proved beyond a doubt. It may be not without profit to pause here a moment, and consider in what spirit and with what measures the Confederate States prepared themselves for the conflict before them. The whole military resources of the Confederates at that time were under the control of three men, President Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Joseph E. Johnston,--all of them trained soldiers, and one of them also a trained statesman. There was entire confidence and perfect harmony of action
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