in their faculty of what they call coming “right side up'ard,” that as a community they are no more depressed by a total rout than they would be in their individual capacities by a pecuniary loss.
A singular trait in human character is exhibited in their open acknowledgment to all the world of defeat, coupled with the “enthusiastic reception” which they are giving to whole regiments of volunteers, who, on pretence of their time being up, are marching homeward on the morrow of a great defeat and on the eve of an expected advance of the Southern
The more aristocratic New York volunteers had returned home long before the battle at Bull Run
, and now regiments from almost every State are hastening back to their respective districts, to be received with the loudest plaudits of their friends.
The 14th Ohio, on returning to Toledo
, “experienced a cordial reception.”
It was mentioned that, after a few weeks' furlough, they would be ready to reenlist
--those few weeks, for all that they know, being destined to decide the fate of the Union
But the most extraordinary case is that of General Patterson
The general, according to his own account, was in front of General Johnston
, who had 40,000 men. “My force is less than 20,000 men. Nineteen regiments, whose term of service was up, or would be within a week, all refused to stay an hour over their time
, with the exception of four. Five regiments have gone home, two more go to-day, and three more to-morrow.
To avoid being cut off with the remainder, I fell back and occupied this place.”
This is, we think, one of the most astounding incidents in the history of war. It entirely agrees with the statement given by our Special Correspondent, that while the cannon of Beauregard
were thundering in their ears, a regiment of volunteers passed him on their way home, their three months terms of service being complete.
If such a thing had happened to one corps, it might have been set down to the bad counsels of one or more discontented spirits, or to the injudicious conduct of some commanding officers.
But here it is evident that the whole volunteer army of the Northern States
is worthless as a military organization.
It is useless to comment on the behavior of men who, pretending to rush to arms for the salvation of their country, make off in thousands when the enemy comes in sight, and leave their general to take care of himself.
This is certainly carrying to its furthest limit that right of secession which they flew to arms to punish.
In any other country such conduct would be looked upon as the extreme of baseness.
But the Americans
do not visit it as such, and they, perhaps, have an instinctive sense of the justice of the case.
They feel how hollow has been so much of the indignation expressed by their party — how much the campaign against the South
is a sham, entered into in obedience to a “sensation” policy, and differing widely from the earnest and steady resolve which animates men who are fighting for objects really dear to them.
were invading the Northern States
, no one can believe that a whole American army would evaporate because three calendar months were up; nor, to bring matters nearer home, can we imagine that the Southerners will take the rail homeward while New York rowdies and Boston
abolitionists are desolating the villages of Virginia
In all ages success in war has inclined to the party which is fighting for its existence, and is consequently steeled to a sterner resolve.
There is a want of this earnestness to be noticed in the conduct of the Northerners.
They take things easy to a degree which astonishes an Englishman who recollects the frenzy which followed the first misfortunes of our army at the end of 1854.
The whole story of the battle of Bull Run
is given by the Northern
papers, of course with many variations, but, we are bound to say, with entire candor.
The completeness of the defeat, the courage of the enemy and the panic of their own army, are not extenuated or denied in any way. There is, of course, the usual tendency to lay the blame on the commanders, and to save the self-love of the army at the expense of its chiefs.
But, making allowances for this, it is probable not only that the leaders were incompetent, but the mass of the troops felt that they were.
From the first there seems to have been little purpose in any thing that was done.
The advance began before dawn, and one writer says that even at that hour there seemed a lack of unity and direct purpose among the officers, which sometimes was made too evident to the troops not to affect their spirit and demeanor.
At the very opening of the day it was plain to all, that real and sound discipline was abandoned.
On the other hand, the Confederates
were evidently commanded by men who knew something of war. The ground on the Federal
side was wooded almost down to the ravine, through which the stream flows, but on the other side “the enemy had cleared away all obstructive foliage, and bared the earth in every direction over which they could bring their artillery upon us.”
The battle began about sunrise, and was at its height a little after noon. The accounts given by the Northern
correspondents describe the enemy as almost destroyed by the repeated charges of the Federalists.
Allowing for exaggeration, it may be taken as pretty certain that they were hard-pressed, and that some, at least, of the Federal
troops behaved with gallantry.
The 71st New York Regiment is described as having inflicted severe loss on the enemy.
Indeed, the bulletins published by the Confederate
authorities appear to admit that the Southern
army suffered severely at one point of the action.
But this was but the beginning of the day's work.
Whether the Confederates
had any plan of fighting settled beforehand by their commanders, we do not as yet know; but the account