Hence I accepted without hesitation the command of that division.
My natural tastes and favorite studies had led me largely in the direction of those modern sciences which have in a few years imparted such enormous strides to the development of the mechanical means of attack and defense, changing in a corresponding degree the great problems of war. The valor of great masses of men, and even the genius of great commanders in the field, have been compelled to yield the first place in importance to the scientific skill and wisdom in finance which are able and willing to prepare in advance the most powerful engines of war. Nations, especially those so happily situated as the United States
, may now surely defend their own territory against invasion or damage, and the national honor and the rights of their citizens throughout the world, by the wise scientific use of surplus revenue, derived from high import duties if the people so please, instead of by the former uncivilized method of sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of brave men. Far more, such sacrifice of the brave can no longer avail.
As well might it be attempted to return to hand-or ox-power, freight-wagons and country roads, in place of the present steam-locomotives, trains of cars, and steel tracks, for the enormous transportation of the present day, as to rely upon the bravery of troops for the defense of a city.
Science has wrought no greater revolution in any of the arts of peace than it has in the art of war. Indeed, the vast national interests involved all over the world have employed the greatest efforts of genius in developing the most powerful means of attack and defense.
Such were the thoughts with which I entered upon my duties in the Division of the Atlantic, and such guided my action there and in the subsequent command of the army.
That not very much was accomplished is too painfully true.
Yet a beginning was at once made, and