thoroughly in earnest
. Their chief had been educated at West Point
, had fought through the Mexican War
, had been four years at the head of the War Department, and been succeeded therein by Floyd
, a man after his own heart, who left the service, at the close of 1860, in precisely that state which was deemed most favorable to their great design.
One, if not both, of them knew personally almost every officer in our service; knew the military value of each; knew that he was pliant or otherwise to the behests of slave-holding treason.
They knew whom to call away to help organize and lead their own forces, and who, even if loyal, would serve them better in our armies than he could do in their own. The immense advantages they thus secured can never be overestimated.
exposed their lives in leading or repelling charges with a reckless courage which made promotions rapid in their ranks ; and, where the troops on both sides are raw and undisciplined, the bravest and most determined officers, if capable, are seldom beaten.
In the course of the war, eminent courage and conspicuous cowardice were often displayed on either side; but the Rebels
were seldom beaten through the pusillanimity, never through the treachery, of their leaders.
On the other hand, President Lincoln
, without military education or experience, found himself suddenly plunged into a gigantic and, to him, most unexpected war, with no single member of his Cabinet even pretending to military genius or experience, and with the offices of his army filled to his hand by those who were now the chiefs of the Rebellion
His officers were all strangers to him; many of them superannuated and utterly inefficient, yet bearing names associated with remembered heroism, and not to be shelved without invoking popular as well as personal reprobation.
How should an Illinois lawyer, fresh from comparative obscurity, and who never witnessed the firing of a platoon or read a page of Vauban
, presume to say, even had he dared to think, that the illustrious Lieutenant-General
at the head of our armies, covered all over with the deep scars of wounds received in glorious conflicts nearly half a century ago, no longer possessed the mental vigor requisite to the planning of campaigns or the direction of military movements?
The bare suggestion, on Mr. Lincoln
's part, would have been generally scouted as the acme of ignorant conceit and fool-hardy presumption.
But not merely was it true that, while Jefferson Davis
was not only able to place every man in his service exactly in the position he deemed him fitted for, while Abraham Lincoln
had neither the requisite knowledge1
nor the legal authority to do likewise with our
officers, the fact that every one who went over to the Confederates
thereby proved that his heart
was in their cause, gave that side a just confidence in their military