they went for. They were unaware that the object of the so-called war was the capture of escaped slaves, together with the children of negro women who had mated with Indians
, on the Southern
plea that the children follow the fortunes of the mother.
When the truth came out, the heart-burning in the North
was sore enough to account, with other like provocations, for the present conflict.
Parents and all society mourned the young men slaughtered by Indians in the swamps in such a cause.
But the troops made themselves a reputation for spirit and discipline which has never been rivalled by Southern soldiery.
When we hear of the military genius of the South
, we naturally turn to what we know.
We know something of the Mexican
war, of which they make their boast.
We know what a miserable enemy they had there; and we know what a miserable hand they made of several of the enterprises of the campaign.
There is testimony enough to prevent its being ever forgotten that the commanders were at their wits' ends to get their troops out and home again, and what to do with them while abroad.
In the absence of discipline on the one hand, and of due legal authority on the other, offences were constantly occurring which there were no proper means of dealing with; and punishments were inflicted which disgusted every foreigner in the force, (and there were many immigrants from Europe
.) Soldiers were tied neck and knees together, and set down by the roadside, to be mocked by the troops marching past.
Whatever could break a man's spirit or torture his passions was invented to supply the deficiency of authority; and the troops grew wilder every day. When ordered to pursue the enemy they piled their arms and went to play.
When appointed to any service, as part of a scheme, they announced that they were going home; and the commanders cursed the very name of volunteers.
The practical question now is whether that boasted Southern army and the present are at all of the same quality.
All that we can know is that that army must be composed of certain elements.
The slaveholders are a mere handful of men; and of them we know that very few are likely to fight their Northern kindred and customers with any relish.
The non-slaveholders are the largest element; and they showed their quality in Mexico
and in Kansas
The better part, in the Kansas
case, went over to Northern views as soon as they learned what they were; and the worse portion were a mere banditti.
The free blacks will hardly be sent North
It is announced that the Indians of three tribes have offered their services to the Confederacy
; but they will be employed near home, no doubt, if at all. It is impossible to foresee what the campaign will be like, in circumstances so singular; but we may remember, while awaiting news, that the military reputation of the South
, such as it is, has been gained in fields where there was no honor to win; and that the Southern
vaunt is of the bravery, and not of the discipline, of the so-called chivalry.
On the whole, these four considerations seem to point to a not distant conclusion, and to a desultory kind of conflict meantime.
Tidings may be on the way to contradict or to confirm this view; but the facts on which it is founded seem to be as clear in their substance as they are serious in their significance.--London News
, May 29.