previous next

[65] councils of the State, it is easy to foresee the end, though it is not so easy to predict by what steps ruin will be reached at last. The Ministers are already ordered to resign by the masters of the mob, and suffer a just punishment for their temporary submission to the clamor of the crownless monarchs of the North-East. The Secretary at War, Mr. Cameron, whose brother fell at the head of his regiment in the field, is accused of making the very submission — which was, indeed, a crime if ever it occurred — by the very people who urged it upon him, and there are few Ministers who escape invective and insinuation.

The great question to be decided just now is the value of the Union sentiment in the North. Will the men and the money be forthcoming, and that soon enough to continue the war of aggression or recuperation against the seceded States? The troops here complain of want of money, and say they are not paid. If that be so, there is proof of want of funds, which, if it lasts, will prevent the reorganization of another army, and I think it would not be safe to rely on the present army, or to. depend on many of the regiments until they have been thoroughly reorganized. It must be remembered that the United States is about to lose the services of some 80,000 men, many of whom have already gone home. These are “three months men,” called out under the President's proclamation. Whether they will enlist for the term of three years, now proposed, cannot be determined; but, judging from their words they will not do so if their present officers are continued or recommissioned. At all events, they will nearly all go home to be “mustered out of the service,” as it is called, at the expense of the Government. It is reported in Washington that steps were taken long ago to supply the places of the retiring battalions, and that there were also offers of 83 battalions, which have been accepted by the Government, sent in as soon as the news of the disaster at Bull Run was communicated to the North. How the regiments about to leave in a day or two were sent into the field at all is one of the mysteries of the War Department.

While Congress has been passing bills of pains and penalties, confiscating rebel property, and amending sundry laches in the penal code, as well as filling up rat-holes, through which conquered and run-away secessionists might escape, in the laws and body of the Constitution, the conquest is suddenly deferred, and Cotton stands king on the battle-field. “We are glad of it,” cry the extreme Abolitionists, “actually delighted, because now slavery is doomed.” The extreme depression which followed after the joy and delight caused by the erroneous statements of victory, complete and brilliant,.has been gradually disappearing, in proportion to the inactivity of the enemy or to their inability to take advantage of their success-by immediate action. The funds have recovered, and men are saying, “Well, it's not so bad as it might have been.” The eye of faith is turned to the future, the eye of speculation is directed on the hoards of capital, and there is a firm belief that some clever person or another will succeed in inducing John Bull to part with a little of his surplus cash, for which he will receive egregious percentage.

If the bulk of the capital and population of the North is thrown into this struggle, there can be but one hope for the Confederates--brilliant victories on the battle-field, which must lead to recognition from foreign powers. The fight cannot go on forever, and if the Confederate States meet with reverses — if their capital is occupied, their Congress dispersed, their territory (that which they claim as theirs) occupied, they must submit to the consequences of defeat. Is not that equally true of their opponents? On what ground can the United States, which were founded on successful rebellion, claim exemption from the universal law which they did so much to establish? Whatever the feelings of the North may be now, there can be no doubt that the reverse of Manassas caused deep mortification and despondency in Washington. Gen. Scott, whether he disapproved, as it is said, the movement onward or not, was certain that the Confederates would be defeated. Every hour messengers were hurried off from the field to the end of the wire some miles away, with reports of the progress made by the troops, and every hour the telegrams brought good tidings up to 4 o'clock or so, when the victory seemed decided in favor of the Federalists; at least, the impression was that they had gained the day by driving the enemy before them. Then came the news of the necessary retirement of the troops; nevertheless, it is affirmed that up to 8 o'clock in the evening Gen. Scott believed in the ultimate success of the United States troops, who under his own immediate orders had never met with a reverse. The President, the Secretary of War, and other members of the Government, were assembled in the room where the telegraph operator was at work far into the night, and as the oracles of fate uncoiled from the wires gloom gathered on their faces, and at last, grave and silent, they retired, leaving hope .behind them. It must have been to them a time of anxiety beyond words; but of old the highest honors were given to him who in calamity and disaster did not despair of the republic. And it is to the credit of the president and his advisers that they have recovered their faith in the ultimate success of their cause, and think they can subjugate the South after all. If the Confederates have suffered heavily in the battle, as is believed to be the case, they may be disheartened in spite of their victory, and the news of a second uprising and levee en masse in the North may not be without an unfavorable effect on their ardor. Such men as Wade Hampton, who is reported killed, leave gaps in their ranks not readily filled, and the number of colonels reported to be hors de combat would indicate a considerable

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
Winfield Scott (2)
Simon Cameron (1)
John Bull (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: