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[195] preparations of the invader, sounding everywhere along our borders.

An enormous flotilla and powerful army were gathering in the West, to repossess the upper Mississippi and the Tennessee. Another army and fleet were organizing for descent on the coast of North Carolina. Still another powerful army and fleet were being collected to assault New Orleans. Nearly 200,000 men, superbly equipped and disciplined, lay around Washington, ready to spring upon Richmond when the roads hardened, while auxiliary armies threatened it from over the mountains and up the Valley. Other forces and fleets were in readiness to move on Savannah and Charleston, while all the energy of the powerful North reinforced its armies in Missouri and Arkansas to aid in the descent on Mississippi. The Confederacy was to be cut in twain, and its capital and chief cities wrestled from it, by a simultaneous concentration of numbers and blows from every quarter. The giant Goliath not more despised the shepherd boy David, with his sling and stone from the brook, than did the North the meagre forces which the South could gather to oppose it.

Early in the spring, the clouds burst Donelson was stormed, Nashville and Columbus were evacuated, Sydney Johnston was driven from Kentucky, and Tennessee Island No.10 was surrendered, Roanoke and Newberne were captured, New Orleans was lost. An army had started for the heart of Mississippi, Vicksburg was attacked, Charleston and Savannah were threatened. The great army of the Potomac forced its way in sight of the spires of Richmond.

When the year ended, three invading armies had been routed in the Valley. The splendid army which essayed to capture Richmond, beaten in a week of battles before that city, fled down the Peninsula, only to meet defeat again, when united with another army on the Rappahannock; and these two armies reinforced, fought a drawn battle in Maryland, and returning to Virginia again met a crowning and disastrous repulse at Fredericksburg. The victor at Donelson had nearly lost his army at Shiloh. The invaders of Mississippi had been compelled to withdraw, and the assailants of Vicksburg had been beaten off. The victorious Federals in North Carolina had been withdrawn to be engulfed in the vortex of defeat in Virginia. A triumphant Confederate army marched through Tennessee and Kentucky, gathering and retiring with the richest spoils of war, drove back its assailants in Kentucky, and as the old year faded into the new, delivered a stunning and bloody blow at Murfreesboro.

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