Grumbling at the South
.--Grumbling at the dilatoriness of military movements is not confined to the North
, where almost every editor criticizes Gen. Scott
The Charleston Mercury
is equally aggrieved by the Fabian policy of the Confederate
It says :--
We are not Generals
in the field, and we do not intend to be so on paper; but there are a few plain principles and facts which any mind may understand, without having fought battles or won victories.
In the first place, delay is against us in the matter of numbers.
The policy of the Confederate States
, it seems to us, was and is, not to wait until vast masses are aggregated upon us, but to act promptly with such troops as we possess, and to demoralize and prevent the discipline of the troops of the United States
by vanquishing them.
For, in the second place, our raw troops are far superior to the raw troops of the United States
Our people are used to arms.
They are accustomed to the gun and the horse.
The people of the North
can neither shoot a rifle nor ride a horse, unless trained.
Is it good policy to let them be trained?
And in the third place, no soldiers, especially undisciplined soldiers, as the greater part of all the soldiers now in the field must be, can stand the eternal agitations of apprehended attacks in a defensive warfare.
To be called out continually to prepare for battle, and yet not to fight, will chill the hearts of the bravest troops.
And still further, instead of having one point for anxiety, attention and alarm are exacted to half a dozen.
Troops, at a heavy expense, are scattered about for the protection of different points.
This is the necessary incident of a defensive policy.
Aggression has its object single, and carries fears before it. Both the morale
and the economy are better.
But, more than all, the Confederate States
ought not to allow one foot of Southern soil to be the battle-field between the two sections of the Union
The weak evacuation of Alexandria
, and the horrors perpetrated upon its helpless women, shows the impolicy of such a warfare.
But we are not prepared to assume the aggressive.
Who says so?
We heard three weeks ago that there were fifteen or twenty thousand Confederate troops and sixty thousand Virginia
troops in Virginia
How is it that but six hundred of these troops were in Alexandria
to defend it, after weeks of information that it was to be seized, and at the last advices, there were but three regiments at Manassas Junction
Are small bodies of men to be placed unsupported in positions to either retreat without a fight, or be sacrificed?
Where are the ten thousand men of the regular army ordered to be raised by one of the very first acts of the Confederate Congress?
If more troops are needed in Virginia
, why are they not there?
Have one-third of the volunteers who have been eager to go to Virginia
, been accepted?
Has a single regiment of horse been accepted to march to Virginia
— those terrible instruments of destruction, especially to undisciplined troops
Suppose at this moment any one of our generals in Virginia
had an army but of thirty thousand men and ten thousand horse under his command, can any one doubt that it would drive every Yankee across the Pennsylvania
And is it possible that the Confederate Government, after months of legislation and preparation, with offers of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, cannot bring together this small military force to move on the enemies of the South
Is it not impossible to believe?
We cannot perceive the policy, after war is declared, of allowing our country to suffer the ravages of war, and to wait on our enemies to make their attack and ravages how they please.
If the six hundred troops who fled from Alexandria
had imitated the brave spirit of its single defender, and had laid it in ashes rather than have surrendered it, Virginia
and the South
would have been in a very different position this day. Let us give over the silly idea of a war without destruction, and like the Russians of Moscow
, give our enemies desolation instead of submission as the fruit of their victories.
By assuming the position of the defensive, we have lost Maryland
, endangered Missouri
, neutralized Kentucky
, and are now making Virginia
Is this wise statesmanship?
Is it efficient generalship?
tactics are out of place.
We trust the war policy of the South
is about to become aggressive and efficient.
It is time, and we are glad to see that our gallant Commander-in-Chief
, after directing the preparations of the War Bureau
for two months, has made Richmond
his Headquarters.--Charleston Mercury, June 2