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[453] the time for its exercise had come. One-half, if not two-thirds, of the South further believed that after perhaps a skirmish or two over the forts in the South, the North would, as Greeley expressed it, “permit the erring sisters to go in peace.”

We did not anticipate a war of much magnitude, and were totally unprepared for it. The arms that were moved South in Buchanan's administration were old-fashioned guns, removed at the express request of the Ordnance Department to make room for new and better arms; and the charge that they were removed by Secretary Floyd in anticipation of war, is as ridiculous as it is false. The idea that we were engaged in peaceable secession was not only prevalent in the South, but led to what will be regarded by the student of military operations as fatal and palpable military blunders.

Had we realized in the beginning that we were engaged in a great revolution, and not a peaceful effort to secede and form a new Union, we would have had no constitutional scruples about seizing or purchasing cotton, and establishing, when there was no blockade to prevent, a basis of credit in Europe that would have given us unlimited supplies and sinews of war. But no warrant of authority could be found for such a proceeding in the constitution, which Southern men carried with them into secession as the children of Israel carried the ark of covenant into the wilderness; and statesmen, withdrawing from threatened usurpation of power in the old Union, could not begin a new Union by usurpation of power themselves. If we had not believed in the right of peaceable secession, and had not respected the rights of States which had not declared for it, the disastrous blunder in selecting the sites of Forts Henry and Donelson, the key to our centre, would not have been made. Tennessee would have been sooner occupied, and Kentucky and Missouri might never have been lost to our cause. If Mr. Davis had not believed that he was engaged in building up a new Union under all the forms of law and order, he would have been free to place himself at the head of his troops, and the briliant military genius displayed at Buena Vista, at the head of an invading army of natural soldiers, might have won greater victories on wider fields.

Hamley, a recent writer on the operations of war, says: “Confronting all Europe, and destitute of all the material of war except men, France poured forth armies half clad, half fed, half armed, but filled with intelligence, valor and zeal. Old traditions of methodical war, where troops slept under tents and were fed from magazines, were of no value to armies which possessed neither tents nor magazines. . . The old system of Frederick met the new system of Napoleon and was shattered to pieces.”

Southern volunteers poured forth filled with the same intelligence, valor and zeal, and surpassed the Frenchmen in this, they were trained horsemen and accustomed to firearms from their youth. They were equally fearless and impetuous, and under a Napoleonic leader, like the French conscripts, would have been

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