The odds against the Confederacy explain its fall.
I shall make no post-mortem
examination of the Confederacy
in search of causes for its fall.
When an officer during the war was figuring on prospects of success, General Lee
said to him: ‘Put up your pencil, Colonel
; if we follow the calculations of figures, we are whipped alreadly.’
Twenty millions of people on the one side, nine millions (and half of them slaves) on the other; a great navy, arsenals, armies, factories, railroads, boundless wealth and science, and an open world to draw upon for resources and reinforcements upon the one side, and little more than a thin line of poorly armed and half-fed soldiery upon the other, pitted one man against two—a glance of the eye tells the story of the unequal contest.
As my noble commander (General Early
) said: ‘I will not speculate on the causes of failure, as I have seen abundant causes for it in the tremendous odds brought against us.’
That President Davis
made mistakes I do not doubt; but the percentage of mistakes was so small in the sum of his administration, and its achievements so transcended all proportions of means and opportunities, that mankind will never cease to wonder at their magnitude and their splendor.
Finances went wrong, some say. Finances always go wrong in failures; but not worse in this case than in the revoluion of 1776, when Washington
was at the head.
So far did they go wrong then that not even success could rescue the worthless paper money of our fathers from repudiation and oblivion, and even to this day the very worst fling that can be made at the Confederate
note reaches a climax in the expression, ‘It is not worth a continental.’