previous next

[64] dead, one is likely to conclude that there is something behind that screen of trees, and that something is my idea of a masked battery.

Finally, he says, “There were no desperate struggles except by those who wanted to get away.”

Of course not. He did not see them, and he is too truthful to relate any thing he did not see.

His account of the retreat is no worse than the truth--what he saw of it. But be it remembered that he was with the very advance of the flying column, the most panic-stricken portion of the crowd — that he was in Washington at 11 P. M. of Sunday, about the hour when our regiments and many others camped in the vicinity of Centreville, having regained our quarters, were lighting fires, drying our clothes, or talking over the prospect of a renewed attack on Manassas next day. Many of us lay down to sleep, from which we woke, more astonished than Mr. Russell himself, at the idea of continuing our retreat to Washington; but the order came from Headquarters, and we obeyed. Of this, or of the good order preserved by several regiments, including ours, all the way from the battle-field to Cub Run, and again resumed after three or four miles, Mr. Russell says nothing — he did not see it--he wasn't there.

Yet his story will be received as Times' gospel, not to be gainsayed, by hundreds of thousands in England, while the contradiction, if it ever reaches there, will come as a stale American apology, unworthy of belief.

De W.1

Russell's Second letter on Bull Run.

Washington, July 24, 1861.
As no one can say what a day or a night may bring forth, particularly in time of way, I avail myself of a chance of probable quiet, such as it is, amid the rolling of drums, the braying of trumpets and bands, the noise of marching men, rolling of wagons, and general life and activity in the streets, to write some remarks on the action at Manassas or Bull Run. Of its general effects abroad, and on the North and South, a larger and perhaps a better view can be taken from Europe than on this side of the Atlantic. There is a natural and intense anxiety to learn what impression will be made abroad by the battle — for, notwithstanding the vulgar and insolent arrogance of the least reputable portion of the press in the United States, generally conducted by aliens or persons who have left Great Britain from cause--it is felt that the result of the action must have very strong influences over the fortunes of the contending parties, particularly in the money-market, to which recourse must be had in fear and trembling. It would be well not to arrive at hasty conclusions in reference to the bearing of the defeat on the actual struggle. Those who are persuaded that the North must and will subjugate the South, see in the disaster merely a prolongation of the war, a certain loss of material, or even an increment of hope in the spirit it will arouse, as they think, among the Unionists. Others regard it as an evil-omen for the compromise they desire to effect, as it will give the North another insult to avenge, and inspire the South with additional confidence. The Confederates will accept it as proof demonstrative of their faith that the North cannot conquer them, and may take it into their heads to corroborate it by an attempt to inflict on the North that with which they have been menaced by the Cabinet of Washington and its supporters. “What will England and France think of it?” is the question which is asked over and over again. The news must go forth in its most unfavorable form, and it will be weeks, if ever, before the North can set a great victory t the credit side of its books against the Confederates. In thirty days or so the question will be answered — not hastily or angrily, in spite of provocation and offence, but in the spirit of honorable neutrality. In the States one thing is certain — the Cabinet will resist the pressure of the mob, or be hurled out of office. If they yield to the fanatics and fight battles against the advice of their officers, they must be beaten; and the tone of New York indicates that a second defeat would cost them their political existence. they can resist such pressure in future as has been brought on them hitherto by pointing to Bull Run, and by saying, “See the result of forcing Gen. Scott against his wishes.” Of the Cabinet, Mr. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, is perhaps the only man who bore up against the disheartening intelligence of Monday morning; but Mr. Seward and others are recovering their spirits as they find that their army was more frightened than hurt, and that the Confederates did not advance on the Capital immediately after the success. It was a sad, rude sweep of the broom to the cobweb-spinners; to the spider politicians, who have been laying out warps in all directions, and are now lying in frowsy heaps among the ruins of their curious artifices. Nothing can restore them to their places in the popular estimation; nothing could have kept them there but the rapid and complete success of their policy, and the speedy fulfilment of their prophecies. The sword they have drawn is held over their heads by the hands of some coming man whose face no one can see yet, but his footsteps are audible, and the ground shakes beneath his tread. If Mr. Lincoln were indeed a despot, with the genius to lead or direct an army, now would be his time. All the odium which could be heaped upon him by his enemies, all the accusations that could have been preferred, North and South, have been fully urged, and he could not add to them by leading his army to victory, while with victory would certainly come the most unexampled popularity, and perhaps an extraordinary and prosperous tenure of power. The campaign would be one worthy of a Napoleon, nor could it be determined by even $500,000,000 and 500,000 men, unless they were skilfully handled and well economized. If popular passion be excited by demagogues, and if it be permitted to affect the

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)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William H. Russell (3)
Winthrop De Wolf (1)
William H. Seward (1)
Winfield Scott (1)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
B. A. Chase (1)
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 24th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: