they could have been had at once.
Regiments were pressed upon it from all sides; and the hotels of Washington
were crowded by keen competitors for the coveted privilege of raising more batteries and fresh battalions.
None asked for shorter terms to serve, or would have then hesitated to enlist for the war. It was entirely proper to call out the organized and uniformed militia as minutemen to defend Washington
and protect the public property until volunteers could be raised; but no single regiment should have been organized or enlisted, during that springtide of National enthusiasm, for any term short of the duration of the war.
It is impossible not to perceive that the Rebel
troops were better handled, during the conflict, than ours.
, who does not appear to have actively participated in any former battle but that of Buena Vista
, where he served as Aid to Gen. Wool
, seems to have had very little control over the movements of his forces after the beginning of the conflict.
, who fought through the day as brigadier with the 2d Rhode Island, whose Colonel
, and Major
, were both left dead on the battle-field, observed to one who asked him, near the close of the fight, what were his orders, that he had been fighting all day without any. In short, our army was projected like a bolt, not wielded like a sword.
Although our army, before fighting on that disastrous day, was largely composed of the bravest and truest patriots in the Union
, it contained, also, much indifferent material.
Many, in the general stagnation and dearth of employment, had volunteered under a firm conviction that there would be no serious fighting; that the Rebels
were not in earnest; that there would be a promenade, a frolic, and, ultimately, a compromise, which would send every one home, unharmed and exultant, to receive from admiring, cheering thousands the guerdon of his valor.
Hence, some regiments were very badly officered, and others gave way and scattered, or fled, just when they were most needed.
IX. Col. D. J. Miles
, a Marylander, commanding the 5th (reserve) division, was drunk throughout the action, and playing the buffoon; riding about to attract observation, with two hats on his head, one within the other.
As, however, he was pretty certainly a traitor, and was not ordered to advance, it is hardly probable that his drunkenness did any serious damage, save as it disgusted and disheartened those whose lives were in his hands.
No one who did not share in the sad experience will be able to realize the consternation which the news of this discomfiture — grossly exaggerated — diffused over the loyal portion of our country.
Only the tidings which had reached Washington
up to 4 o'clock--all presaging certain and decisive victory — were permitted to go north by telegraph that day and evening; so that, on Monday morning, when the crowd of fugitives from our grand army was pouring into Washington
, a heedless, harmless, worthless mob, the loyal States were exulting over accounts of a decisive triumph.
But a few hours brought different advices; and these were as much worse than the truth as the former had been better: our army had been utterly destroyed — cut to