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[404] seemed to have agreed, at least on one point, if they differed on every other. It was the probable shortness of the conflict into which they were driven. But General Beauregard, says Colonel Roman, in his book, ‘believed and expressed the opinion, at the time, that we were engaged in a long and terrible war, and he earnestly wished the country prepared accordingly.’ Thus it is apparant that, on the very threshold of the mighty struggle impending on us, there began to be a marked difference of opinions between the General and the new government to which he had pledged his allegiance. To this source, to this incipient divergence of views, may be traced subsequent disagreements as to the hastening of preparations and the unrelaxing vigor to be introduced and kept up in all our military operations, under a watchful and energetic supervision of the executive cabinet at the seat of government. General Beauregard was all fire and action, and full of that horribilis dilizentia of which Cicero speaks as being the characteristic of the men destined by Providence to be the instruments of revolutions and changes by which nations are made or unmade.

The Government, on the other hand, may have thought proper to act with a prudence which was mistaken for hesitation and careless improvidence. It was Fabius-like, expectant and on the defensive. ‘The erring sisters might be allowed to go in peace.’ The sword, which was but half drawn, might yet be pushed back to its scabbard. There might be a timely accommodation between the contending parties. There might be guarentees given; it might be possible to avoid the shedding of blood, to avoid an immense sacrifice of wealth, and perhaps subjugation, with its concomitant horrors and complete ruin. Meanwhile it should have been kept in mind that a nation, far better prepared for war than were the Confederate States, would be threatened with atrophy, if all her ports were securely blockaded. It would be merely a question of time. That nation would be like an army cooped up in a city with no communication with the outer world. Should no relief come, surrender would gradually become a matter of absolute necessity. For the reasons which have already been given with the concision required by the restricted limits of this article, the Confederate States, having to draw all their needed and indispensable supplies from abroad, had to provide, as a preliminary step, as an inexorable condition of existence, and of success in the terrible struggle which they had undertaken, for a free access to and a continued use of the sea. The ocean breeze was the breath of their nostrils; without it, suffocation was certain.

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