A Cursory sketch of General Bragg's campaigns.
Paper no. 1.
[The following sketches were writen by Major Sykes
in January, 1873, and are now given just as they were originally prepared, with a few notes added.
It is scarcely necessary to say that we publish without comment of our own, and without expressing any opinion as to certain controverted points.]
Although remotely removed from the exciting events which transpired during the four years of ‘War between the States,’ and reason has had time to coolly weigh with the accuracy of justice the motives and conduct of those superiors, who were at the helm of State, or generalship in the field, how few there are who have given thought sufficient to the real issues, its magnitude and surrounding, or sufficiently studied the military genius in more than one way displayed by our commanding Generals
to meet the ever varying emergencies, to correctly estimate their respective merits.
The cause of this apparent apathy and indifference to studious reflection and investigation of the philosophy of the war's history, can only be referable to the tyranny inflicted by our conquerors upon the South
, and the consequent dethronement for the duration of their oppression, of all spirit of their former patriotism or desire to know ought else save the means of escape from this the ‘Iliad of their woes,’ ‘(proconsuls for governors and task-masters to rule over us.’
The truth is, the South
is too supine—while the North and West are pursuing with vigor the path which their high destiny is pointing out to them, and wooing every breeze which may waft them onwards, we have cast anchor in the midst of a howling political and social storm, and are amusing ourselves with conjuring up phantoms of a past age, discussing the principles of a departed race of politicians, and talking of bringing back the government to its old republican tack; as if any government ever did or ever could go backwards.
We forget, for the time, that the political institutions of a country may be wrecked on the rock of faction, or engulfed in a vortex of effeminacy or vice, may fail from too much weakness or too much weight, yet that it is certain, no nation was ever rescued from a danger before it, by an attempt to recede, or ever found a grave near the spot where it was ‘rocked in its cradle.’