rapidly, so that it is not at all beyond the reach of probability that they can collect 150,000 or 160,000 men in Virginia, if that number is not now actually in the State. In cavalry they have a superiority, but the country is not favorable for their operations till the armies approach Richmond. In field-artillery they are not so well provided as the Federalists. They have, however, a great number of heavy batteries and guns of position at their disposal. Food is plentiful in their camps; the harvest is coming in. In general equipments and ammunition the Federalists have a considerable advantage. In discipline there is not much difference, perhaps, in the bulk of the volunteers on both sides, but the United States forces have the benefit of the example and presence of the regular army, the privates of which have remained faithful to the Government. If we are to judge from what may be seen in Washington, there are mauvais sujets in abundance among the United States troops. The various foreign ministers have been so much persecuted by soldiers coming to their houses and asking for help, that sentries were ordered to be put at their doors. Lord Lyons, however, did not acquiesce in the propriety of the step, and in lieu of that means of defence against demands for money, a document called “a safeguard” has been furnished to the domestics at the various legations, in which applicants are informed that they are liable to the penalty of death for making such solicitations. Gen. McDowell writes in his despatch from Fairfax Court-House: “I am distressed to have to report excesses by our troops. The excitement of the men found vent in burning and pillaging, which, however soon checked, distressed us all greatly.” What will take place at the close of a hardly contested action in the front of populous towns and villages? The vast majority of the soldiers are very well-behaved, but it will require severe punishment to deter the evil-disposed from indulging in all the license of war. The energy displayed in furnishing the great army in the field with transport and ambulances is very great, and I have been surprised to see the rapidity with which wagons and excellent field hospitals and sick carts have been constructed and forwarded by the contractors. The corps in Virginia under McDowell may be considered fit to make a campaign in all respects so far as those essentials are concerned, and the Government is rapidly purchasing horses and mules which are not inferior to those used in any army in the world. These few lines must suffice till the despatch of the mall on Wednesday. July 22..--I sit down to give an account — not of the action yesterday, but of what I saw with my own eyes, hitherto not often deceived, and of what I heard with my own ears, which in this country are not so much to be trusted. Let me, however, express an opinion as to the affair of yesterday. In the first place, the repulse of the Federalists, decided as it was, might have had no serious effects whatever beyond the mere failure — which politically was of greater consequence than it was in a military sense — but for the disgraceful conduct of the troops. The retreat on their lines at Centreville seems to have ended in a cowardly rout — a miserable, causeless panic. Such scandalous behavior on the part of soldiers I should have considered impossible, as with some experience of camps and armies I have never even in alarms among camp-followers seen the like of it. How far the disorganization of the troops extended, I know not; but it was complete in the instance of more than one regiment. Washington this morning is crowded with soldiers without officers, who have fled from Centreville, and with “three months men,” who are going home from the face of the enemy on the expiration of their term of enlistment. The streets, in spite of the rain, are crowded by people with anxious faces, and groups of wavering politicians are assembled at the corners, in the hotel passages, and the bars. If, in the present state of the troops, the Confederates were to make a march across the Potomac above Washington, turning the works at Arlington, the Capitol might fall into their hands. Delay may place that event out of the range of probability. The North will, no doubt, recover the shock. Hitherto she has only said, “Go and fight for the Union.” The South has exclaimed, “Let us fight for our rights.” The North must put its best men into the battle, or she will inevitably fail before the energy, the personal hatred, and the superior fighting powers of her antagonist. In my letters, as in my conversation, I have endeavored to show that the task which the Unionists have set themselves is one of no ordinary difficulty; but in the state of arrogance and supercilious confidence, either real or affected to conceal a sense of weakness, one might as well have preached to the pyramid of Cheops. Indeed, one may form some notion of the condition of the public mind by observing that journals conducted avowedly by men of disgraceful personal character — the be-whipped, and be-kicked, and unrecognized pariahs of society in New York — are, nevertheless, in the very midst of repulse and defeat, permitted to indulge in ridiculous rhodomontade toward the nations of Europe, and to move our laughter by impotently malignant attacks on “our rotten old monarchy,” while the stones of their bran-new Republic are tumbling about their ears. It will be amusing to observe the change of tone, for we can afford to observe and to be amused at the same time. On Saturday night I resolved to proceed to Gen. McDowell's army, as it was obvious to me that the repulse at Bull Run and the orders of the General directed against the excesses of his soldiery indicated serious defects in his army — not more serious, however, than I had reason to believe existed. How to get out was the
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
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