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[385] more and more clamorous. Exciting appeals to popular feeling were soon followed by open aspersions and denunciations of Gen. Scott. And finally, with a presumption and insolence unheard of, a leading journal, assuming command of the army, issued and reiterated the order, “On to Richmond.”

While widely spread newspapers were thus weakening the Administration by assaults upon its Commanding-General, his embarrassments were aggravated by the persistent hostility and every-day aspersions of the Postmaster General, whose brother, a prominent member of Congress, assailed him from the stump.

Meanwhile Congress assembled. Senators and representatives, with more zeal than knowledge, caught up and reiterated the cry, “On to Richmond.” The impatient Congressmen were leading and influential. They waited upon the President to complain of the inactivity of the army, and upon General Scott, urging him “On to Richmond.” Army bills, prepared with deliberation by Senator Wilson, (in accordance with the views of the Government,) were emasculated by the House Military Committee, of which Mr. Blair is Chairman. The President and his Cabinet had reason to apprehend — if not the censures of Congress — the failure of measures essential to the prosecution of the war, unless the Tribune order of “On to Richmond” was obeyed.

And now the sensation journals began to disparage the strength and courage of the rebel army. “The rebels will not fight!” “The cowards will run!” &c., &c., appeared in flaming capitals over flash paragraphs. The whole popular mind was swayed by these frenzied appeals. A movement upon Manassas was universally and blindly demanded. Passions and animosities, kindred to those which once deluged France in blood, were being excited. The tyranny of the press, the denunciations of a Cabinet minister, and the impetuosity of a dozen members of Congress excited the masses, “moved” Gen. Scott “from his proprieties.” For once in his life his purposes were thwarted — for once “his mind became the mind of other men.”

The result has shown that it was a fatal weakness. And yet who knows what would have been the effect of an adherence to his plan? The New York Tribune was educating millions to distrust the wisdom of the Administration and the fidelity of the commanding generals. Every day emboldened its audacity — every rail and wire disseminated its treason — and every hour augmented the popular discontent. Congress, though its session opened auspiciously, began to falter. The Blairs, one in the Cabinet and the other in Congress, were organizing the “On to Richmond” faction. To have resisted these demands would have overthrown the Administration, and might have destroyed the Government. “Madness ruled the hour,” and a battle at Manassas, right or wrong, became not a military but a political “necessity.”

It is not true, however, as has been averred, that General Scott was constrained to hazard this battle by the President. Between the President and, with one exception, the Cabinet and General Scott, there have been a mutual regard and confidence.

I will not now stop to consider details or criticize acts. The major blunder includes all the minor ones. There should have been no general engagement until we were in the field with an army strong enough to overwhelm and crush out rebellion. There are other points at which we could be advantageously and successfully occupied.

But even if it were excusable to assault an army equal in numbers to our own, in its chosen position behind its intrenchments, the purpose should have been abandoned when the army of Manassas was reinforced by that from Winchester. Then, surely, the conflict was too unequal. With all the conditions and circumstances so changed, General McDowell should have taken the responsibility of disobeying his orders. The reason would have justified him in the judgment of the Government and people.

But the order of “On to Richmond” was obeyed, and where does it leave us? Where we were three months ago, with a harder conflict on our hands, and a dismal, if not doubtful future. The “On to Richmond” dictators have added another year to the war, an hundred millions of dollars to its cost, and opened graves for fifteen or twenty thousand more soldiers.

And what have we gained? Alas, too little for such a fearful expenditure of time, treasure, blood, and reputation. We have learned, what few doubted, that our army is all that is expected of it; that our men fought with the courage of veterans; that we may always, and under all circumstances, rely on them. We have learned, what was also too well known, that the army was in many instances indifferently officered. We have learned, too, the importance and necessity of discipline. Effective troops, however excellent the material, cannot be found in workshops, the cornfields, or the cities. They must have military training, without which every “On to Richmond” movement will prove a failure.

Though we have encountered a great and disastrous check — though we are pained and humiliated — we possess the means and the energy to retrieve all, if these means henceforth are wisely employed. I may in a future letter indicate how, in my judgment, these means should be employed.--Albany Evening Journal.

Southern press on the battle.

It would be a very difficult task to review the various accounts current in this city and along the railroad to Manassas, of the great battle which was fought on the 21st inst., in the vicinity of Manassas Junction and Centreville,

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