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[149] which the advance movement urged by them could be effected; and knowing also how far from their thought it was to make any display of superior knowledge, we must deprecate the bitterness of language used and the irritable personality indulged in by Mr. Davis, in the following passage of his book: ‘Very little experience, or a fair amount of modesty, without experience, would serve to prevent one from announcing his conclusion that troops could be withdrawn from a place or places, without knowing how many were there, and what was the necessity for their presence.’1

Whatever may be, to-day, the efforts made by Mr. Davis to shield himself from censure, for the course he then adopted, it remains none the less an incontrovertible fact, that troops, armed and equipped, officered and drilled, could have been brought from the points designated to him, and that he positively refused to allow their transfer to be effected. That, as Commander-in-Chief, he had the right so to act, is unquestioned; but that he erred in exercising that right is clear to all who followed the history of events, from that time to the end of the war.

Mr. Davis insists, that though the generals he met at Fairfax Court-House were of opinion that ‘it were better to run the risk of almost certain destruction fighting upon the other side of the Potomac, rather than see the gradual dying-out and deterioration of this army during a winter,’ etc.,2 yet, ‘when it was proposed to them?’ by Mr. Davis, ‘to cross into eastern Maryland, on a steamer in our possession, for a partial campaign, difficulties arose like the lion in the path of the sluggard, so that the proposition was postponed and never executed. In like manner, the other expedition in the valley of Virginia was achieved by an officer not of this council, General T. J. Jackson.’3

No similar expedition was ever thought of or executed during the Confederate War. Mr. Davis's proposition was unique. The campaign in the valley of Virginia, which, he says, was achieved ‘by another officer not of this council,’ resembled in nothing the one he had suggested; for, if it had, even with such a commander

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 451.

2 They did make use of such language, but added: ‘At the end of which the term of enlistment of half the force would expire;’ which made a most significant difference.

3 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. pp. 450, 451. The italics are ours.

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