previous next

[387] the support of McClellan from the West and of Patterson from the North. It was a fatal departure from the anaconda policy which he had previously been pursuing. The consequence is the backbone of the serpent is broken. The advance of McClellan's column in Western Virginia is rendered inconsequential, and if it advance far into the mountains its destruction is inevitable; while Butler at Fort Monroe is constrained to moderate his exorbitant military ambition to the humble office of performing garrison duty.

Opinions differ here materially as to what will or should be the war policy of the Confederate Government after the Manassas victory. Many think that the victory should be instantly followed up by a dash upon Washington and a rush into Maryland. They say that we have forborne from the aggressive long enough to convince the most stupid and most deluded of the Northern people that we did not aim at conquest; that we had no wish to destroy the National Capital, or to overturn the Government which they were supporting, but that our only desire was to be let alone and to live under a government of our own choice. It is time now, they think, to set about conquering a peace by carrying the war into the enemy's country, since it is evident we cannot secure peace by scrupulously remaining within our own. There are others, however, who argue that it is best to prove at once our forbearance and our invincibility, by pausing after every victory and giving the enemy an opportunity to profit by the “sober second thought.” These last are for letting Washington alone, and advancing no further than the Potomac, from the belief that an attack upon the National Capital and an invasion of territory beyond the limits of the Confederate States would cause the same universal outburst and uprising in the North as was witnessed on the capture of Sumter. Such views are plausible, but they are totally without practical value.

The North has explicitly, in word and act, challenged to a fight to the death, and forced us to the deadly issue. It has shown no repentance under frequent failures to overpower us in battle; and much less has it exhibited magnanimity under the encouragement of partial success. We must disable it from harm, or put our power to do so beyond question, before it will be ready either to tender or accept the olive branch. The enemy's people, in my opinion, will be far from satisfied with their trial of strength on the 21st. They will impute the defeat to any thing but intrinsic superiority in our army. They call Scott a dotard, McDowell an incapable, Patterson a coward, and distributing the responsibility for the defeat among the three, confidently predict a different result under the generalship of McClellan. Be it so. Let them bring their highest military genius, their choicest soldierly prowess against us, and we need have no misgivings of the final event. Yesterday thousands of our soldiers were but striplings; on the 21st thousands of them were heroes; and another battle will find thousands of them hardy and invincible veterans. Nor need we fear that our Generals will fail us. Davis, Beauregard, Johnston — it cannot be said of them, to-morrow or the next day, that their spirit has abated and their vision dulled — that they have

hearts worn out with many wars,
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot stars.

--New Orleans Delta, July 28.

The moral of Manassas.

There is a danger we fear that the Southern mind, intoxicated with its exultations over the recent great victory of our arms at Manassas, may over-estimate the present advantage as well as the ultimate consequences of that brilliant achievement.

Certainly there can be no difference of opinion as to its having proved a God-send to the cause of Southern independence and true constitutional liberty. It has greatly strengthened the confidence of our people in the ability of their government to maintain itself, even at the point of the bayonet, against the marauding legions of Hessian soldiery who have been precipitated by the enemy upon our sacred soil. It has impaired the energies of the “old wreck” of the Federal Government, and has so far annihilated the confidence of its subjects in the final success of its boasted scheme of subjugation, as to work the most serious detriment to the national credit — which, according to the recent acknowledgment of a congressman, has already failed. It has given a prestige to the young republic of the South, just emerging, like Venus, in all the perfection of her beauty, from the foaming sea of political convulsion, which will put to naught the vaunting assertion of Northern superiority, and perhaps decide the question of foreign recognition which now trembles in the hesitating balance held by the hands of European powers. In addition to these there may be even other, though less important results flowing from it.

But to suppose that our independence is an accomplished fact, without other like desperate struggles, is palpable absurdity, the entertainment of which will prove a delusion and a snare. It is true that the forces of the enemy, outnumbering our own more than two to one, were utterly routed, and driven into a retreat styled by themselves both disgraceful and cowardly. But the defeat is not such as to turn the reckless politicians, who manage this movement, from the attempted execution of their direful purpose. Their pride has been sorely wounded, and their passion of revenge stimulated to the performance of new deeds of infamy. At any sacrifice of life or of the people's money, they will rally their routed forces and attempt with still greater desperation to retrieve their lost fortunes. Relying upon the brute force of mere numbers, the enemy are evidently determined to risk other engagements, perhaps of greater magnitude, if for

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: