53.--the First defeat of the rebels.
It is evident that General Scott
has once more beaten the enemies of his country by mere force of
his admirable stratagetical genius.
To do so, he has, as was necessary, suffered not only traitors, but loyal men, to rest under a misapprehension.
Those who remember the impatience with which the American
public watched his apparent inaction at one period of the Mexican
war, will not have forgotten the shout of admiration which went up from the people, when it was at last discovered that the supposed inaction had been in reality the wisest and shrewdest action ; and that by the most masterly display of military strategy he had outwitted the enemy, and obtained a splendid victory, when nought but defeat and disaster stared our army in the face.
He who reads and compares carefully the despatches from Charleston
, and Washington
, in this morning's journals, can not avoid the gratifying conclusion that that which looks at first blush like a disaster to the government, is in reality but the successful carrying out of an admirable plan of military operations.
Before this, the traitors see themselves caught in the toils.
In fact, it seems to have sickened the chief traitor, Davis
, already; for Montgomery
despatches relate that when the news from Charleston
came, and the mob serenaded Davis
, “the former was not well and did not appear;” and even his secretary was costive of words, and “declined to make a speech.”
The facts which tend to the conclusion we have pointed out, may be summed up as follows:
has been averse to the attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter
He saw that it would cost men and vessels, which the Government
could not spare just now.
As an able general, he saw that Sumter
were points of no military importance, and would only need valuable men to hold, if we took them — with no adequate advantage gained.
He saw that the two keys of the position were Fort Pickens
in the Gulf
, and Washington
, the capital.
He knew that Davis
had not generalship to perceive that on the 4th of March, and for some weeks afterward, it would have been almost impossible for the Federal Government
to defend Washington
against such a force as the traitors had already collected before Sumter
, and which could be marched at any time on a capital not yet prepared for defence — not yet even purged of traitors.
His plans, based on these facts, were at once laid.
By every means in his power, he concentrated the attention of traitors and loyal men on Sumter
He must have seen with infinite satisfaction the daily increasing force gathered at Charleston
, while the Government
lost no time in strengthening the capital.
Every hour the traitors spent before Sumter
gave them only more surely into the hands of their master.
To make assurance doubly sure, he pretended to leave Fort Pickens
in the lurch.
It was said to be in danger, when Scott
knew that a formidable force was investing it. Men feared that all would be lost by the inaction of the Government
, when it was never more shrewdly energetic.
At last Washington
was reasonably safe.
Forces were gathered.
Once more our brave old General saw himself with means in his hands.
Then came the armament, popularly believed to be destined for Sumter
The Government said not a word — only asked of the traitors the opportunity to send its own garrison a needed supply of food.
They refused, and — fearing the arrival of the Federal fleet--drunk and besotted with treason, and impatient to shed the blood of loyal soldiers, they made the attack.
Scarce had they begun when they saw, with evident terror, ships hovering about the harbor's mouth; they plied their cannon in desperate haste; but no ship came in to Anderson
What was the matter?
Made bold by the furious thirst for blood, they dared the ships to come in. But no ship offered its assistance to Anderson
More,, the guns of Sumter
were only directed at the works of the traitors, and Major Anderson
evidently tried to fire in such a manner as not to kill men. He did not even try a few bombs on the city, though it is certain, from a letter of one of his own officers, that his guns would reach beyond the centre of Charleston
What was the matter?
must have thought the Government
officers both fools and cowards.
When his own boats were sailing unharmed about the harbor, between Sumter
, bearing his orders, was it possible that the forces outside could stand apathetic, while a brave garrison was being done to death?
When the battle was to the death, would a shrewd officer neglect to divert his enemy's attention by firing his city?
If it seemed mysterious to us, waiting on Saturday with breathless suspense, it must have seemed incomprehensible to any cool head in the traitor camp.
Still no ships came in — and, in fact, the reports state that only three or four small vessels remained in the offing.
After forty hours cannonade, in which not one man is killed, Major Anderson
, an officer of undoubted courage and honor, runs up a white flag, surrenders the fort, and becomes the guest of General Beauregard
Let no man hastily cry traitor!
He only obeyed his orders.
He made an honorable defence.
I-He took care to shed no blood.
He “gave orders not to sight men, but to silence batteries.”
Meantime, while the rebels are ignorantly glorifying the victory of five thousand men over eighty, what news comes from Montgomery
The telegraph in the hands of the rebels says:
Fort Pickens was reinforced last night.
“It is understood that Charleston
harbor is blockaded.”
Despatches from Lieut. Slemmer
, captured by the rebels, gave Davis
the first intimation of his defeat?
No wonder the rebel chief was “sick,” and went to bed!
No wonder that his Secretary
, declined to make a speech!
And what from Washington
These significant paragraphs:
The report that Anderson has surrendered, and is the guest of General Beauregard, has been communicated to the President.
The latter was not surprised, but, on the contrary, remarked, ‘The supply vessels could not reach him, and he did right.’
When he was told that the report was that nobody was injured in Fort Sumter, he seemed very much gratified, and remarked that he regretted that Major Anderson could not be supplied, as that was all he needed.
The next act in the play will represent a scene at Fort Pickens, in Pensacola harbor.
The position of affairs is this: Charleston
is reenforced by troops which the traitors foolishly believed were destined for Sumter
is secure beyond peradventure.
The traitors have, without the slightest cause, opened the war they have so long threatened.
The country is roused to defend its assailed liberties, and gathers enthusiastically about the Government
, and treason has been checkmated at the first blow it struck.
Let them keep Sumter
a few weeks.
Let no man cry traitor to Major Anderson
Let no one fear for the energy of the Administration.
Let us thank God that brave old General Scott
remains to give his loyal heart and wise head to his country's service!--Evening Post