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[322] under disappointment and defeat. His old comrades of the Mexican war knew him; the Confederate President knew him and still believed in him; but the verdict of the general public on Robert Lee in the winter of 1861-62 might have been summed up in the historian's judgment of Galba, who ‘by common consent would have been deemed fit to command, had he never commanded.’

In such a school of patience and self-control was our great leader destined to pass the first fourteen months of the war.

The first day of ‘Seven Pines’ had been fought, the fierce temper and stern valor of the Army of Northern Virginia had been established, a brilliant success had been won on our right by Longstreet and D. H. Hill, and General Johnston, about nightfall, was arranging a vigorous and combined attack for the morrow. At that moment, Johnston, whose body was already covered with honorable scars, was stricken down by two severe wounds, and the army was deprived of its leader.

On the afternoon of the next day, about five miles below Richmond, Lee assumed command of that army called of Northern Virginia, but fitly representing the valor and the virtue of every Southern State, that army which henceforth was to be the inseparable partner of his fame, that army whose heroic toils, marches, battles would still, if every friendly record perished, be emblazoned for the admiration of future ages in its adversary's recital of the blood and treasure expended to destroy it. So we are able now to measure Hannibal's greatness only by the magnitude of Rome's sacrifices and devotion.

At any period of the war the loss of Richmond would probably have been fatal to the Confederacy. This truth is the key to the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia. It will explain and justify in Lee's conduct many apparent violations of sound principles of war. Ordinarily, nothing is more fatal than to make the fortunes of an army turn on the defence of a position. This was Pemberton's error at Vicksburg—it was Osman's at Plevna. But the political importance of Richmond as the capital of a great State and of the Confederacy, its real strategic advantages as the nucleus of a railway system and other communications, embracing Virginia and the States to the South and West, and still more, the startling fact that its manufacturing establishments, though poor and inadequate, were at first absolutely, and always practically, the sole resource of the South for artillery and railway material—these considerations, in their combined strength, brought about, in the minds of those directing

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