previous next
[516] had command of all the markets of the world, and of the means of ocean transportation. It could have bought at once all the available arms everywhere, and thus fully equipped its own troops, while preventing the South from doing the same. Hence the excuse given at the time—namely, want of muskets—was no excuse whatever for delay in the organization of armies.

The rebellion made some progress at first, and offered effective resistance for a long time, simply because the Southern authorities manifested greater military wisdom than the Northern. The difference in preparation and in military training in advance was quite insignificant. The North had many more educated and competent military men than the South. The difference was that the South used the few they had to the best advantage, while the North so used only a very few of their many.

The lesson next in importance taught by our experience is the necessity of general military education in a country having a popular government. No man can be fully qualified for the duties of a statesman until he has made a thorough study of the science of war in its broadest sense. He need not go to a military school, much less serve in the army or in the militia. But unless he makes himself thoroughly acquainted with the methods and conditions requisite to success in war, he is liable to do almost infinite damage to his country. For example, the very first success of the Union armies—the capture of Fort Donelson—was quickly followed by a proclamation of thanksgiving and an order to stop recruiting. That one act of ‘statesmanship’ cost the country untold millions of dollars and many thousands of lives. It was necessary only to take the ordinary military advantage of the popular enthusiasm throughout the country after Grant's first victory to have made the Union armies absolutely irresistible by any force the South could raise and arm at that time.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fort Donelson (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Frederick Dent Grant (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: