army which has existed on this continent; suffering privations unknown to its opponents, it fought well from the early Peninsula days to the surrender of that small remnant at Appomattox. It seemed always ready, active, mobile; without doubt it was composed of the best men of the South, rushing to what they considered the defense of their country against a bitter invader; and they took the places assigned them, officer or private, and fought until beaten by superiority of numbers. The North sent no such army to the field, and its patriotism was of an easier kind; there was no rallying-cry which drove all the best—the rich and the educated—to join the fighting armies. All avocations here went on without interruption; the law, the clergy, educational institutions, merchants and traders, suffered nothing from a diminution of their working forces; we had loyal leagues, excellent sanitary and Christian commissions, great ‘war governors’ (Andrew, Curtin and Morton), and secretaries, organizers of victory; we had a people full of loyalty and devotion to the cause, and of hatred for the neighbor who differed as to the way in which the war should be conducted, never realizing that the way was by going, or sending their best and brightest. As a matter of comparison: We have lately read that from William and Mary's college, Virginia, thirty-two out of thirty-five professors and instructors abandoned the college work and joined the army in the field. Harvard college sent one professor from its large corps of professors and instructors! We thought our own Massachusetts a pattern of loyalty and patriotism during the war. Read the ‘Record of Massachusetts Volunteers,’ as published by the State; the bounties paid (thirteen million dollars by the State, and more millions by the cities and towns—a worthless expenditure—to give Massachusetts a nominal credit, but of no service in sending good fighting men to the front); the desertions; the hosts of men who never joined their regiments; and there is so much to be ashamed of! An effort to fill the required quota, without reference to the good service to be rendered! The enlisting officers at one time put out their posters with something like this: ‘Enlist in the heavy artillery regiments. No marching, no fighting, comfortable quarters, etc.!’ General Whittier then furnishes a list of Massachusetts artillery and infantry regiments, containing 20,957 men, of which only 95 were killed in battle.] This does not indicate brilliant or useful service; and yet the material was probably better than that of any regiments of the State. The same class of men in the South was in the thickest of the fight, and their intelligence and patriotism did a great work. And what a power these twenty thousand men I have mentioned would have been, with a little discipline and drill, added to the army of the Potomac—an army corps of twenty thousand young men from Massachusetts alone! If it was so with us, it is reasonable to suppose that other Northern States pursued the same selfish policy.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.