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[73] incompetent or artful; it is quite certain he is not actuated by clemency or a generous pity. Engineers are hard at work strengthening the position on the south bank of the river; but forts do not constitute safety. Without stout hearts behind their lines and breastworks, abatis and redoubts avail nothing.

A grand plan of attack on Washington mapped out--General Beauregard won't venture unless almost certain of success.

It must be that the Confederates are deficient in the means of transport, or in actual force to make an attack which is so obvious, if they desire to show the North it is not possible to subdue them. The corps which went from Winchester to Manassas under Johnson is put by the Federalists at 40,000. Let us take it at half that number. Beauregard and Lee are said to have had 60,000 at Manassas, including, I presume, the forces between it and Richmond. Divide that again. There were certainly 20,000 between Monroe, the Court (?) and Rich mond, of whom 10,000 could be spared; and on the western side of the capital of the Confederate States there was available at least another corps of 10,000, which could have been readily strengthened by 10,000 or 15,000 more from the South in case of a supreme effort. There seems no reason, not connected with transport, equipment, or discipline, why the Confederates should not have been able last week to take the field with 75,000 men, in two corps; one quite strong enough to menace the force on the right banks of the Potomac, and to hold it in check, or to prevent it going over to the other side; the other to cross into Maryland, which is now in parts only kept quiet by force, and to advance down on Washington from the west and North.

In the event of success, the political advantages would be very great at home and abroad, and there would be a new base of operations gained close to the enemy's lines, while the advantages of holding the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay would be much neutralized and finally destroyed. The navy yard would fall into the enemy's hands. Fort Washington would probably soon follow. Fortress Monroe would be condemned to greater isolation. Philadelphia itself would be in imminent danger should the Confederates attempt greater aggression.

But, for one, General Beauregard will consent to no plan of operations in which success is not rendered as certain as may be by all possible precautions, and he might not favor a proposal which would lead to dividing an army into two parts, with a river between them and an enemy on each side. Monroe and Hampton, which are the true bases of operations against Richmond, have been weakened to reenforce the army covering Washington and Harper's Ferry, and yet I doubt if there are on the south bank of the Potomac at this moment 40,000 men all along the lines who could move out and offer an enemy battle, leaving any adequate guards in the trenches and garrisons in the tete de pont and works.

The cavalry of the Southern army and loss of many mounted “gentlemen.”

The Confederates, as you were informed from the South, have enlisted men to serve for the war, and take no others. The staple of their army will undergo no change, and as it grows older it ought to get better, unless it be beaten.

You will pardon me for referring to a remark in one of my previous letters, that there might be fierce skirmishes and even sanguinary engagements, between the two armies, but that these would be followed by no decisive results, owing to the want of cavalry. Strange to say, though the panic and very discreditable rout was caused by alarms of, and might have been prevented by the presence of cavalry, no steps are taken to remedy that great deficiency. The volunteers who were at Manassas will never stand the man on horseback again, and I believe the Confederates are quite aware of their advantage, though they may have had to mourn the loss of many gentlemen who fell during the day.

Military exaggerations North and South.

The Northern papers are increasing the amount of butter in proportion as they decrease the losses of their loaves, and they do not appear to perceive that the smaller the latter were, the less should be the layer of the former — for it is no credit to an army to lose its guns, abandon its positions, throw away its muskets, leave its wounded in the hands of the enemy, and run some thirty and odd miles from front of Centreville, not merely to Arlington, but to Washington, without any cause at all; for without loss there was no cause of retreat, and therefore no excuse for panic and rout. Again, they say there was only a portion of their army engaged. The greater shame for those who were not engaged to run, then. But before the battle, when McDowell's force was enumerated in terrorem at 50,000, it was said fifteen regiments had subsequently joined. Now it is averred only 15,000, 18,000, or 20,000 were in action. What on earth were the rest about?

And I am obliged to say that Mr. Davis's statements are quite as startling; for, while he declares the enemy were 35,000 strong, he astonishes us by asserting that of all his host only 15,000 took part in the battle. As to losses, of course it is beyond any thing but imagination to give an estimate. Regiments reported to have been annihilated have turned up, quite hale and hearty, neat as imported, on the day of marching home; and fond parents, wives, and relatives will be spared many pangs and a great deal of mourning. I think my estimate of killed and wounded was nearly correct. The prisoners may amount to more than 900 or 1,000, but the Federalists have lost more heavily than the totals under these heads would show, perhaps. It would be rather ridiculous to call it either a hard fought, a bloody, or a

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