There are many people in the community weak enough to believe it an easy task for Gen. Scott
to invade Virginia
as far as Richmond
, from the line of the Potomac
If the undertaking had been one at all facile of accomplishment, Gen. Scott
would long since have been quartered in our city; for there is no point in the whole South
which the Yankees
would be so rejoiced to possess, as this town of Richmond
That the invasion has not been effected is therefore the best proof of its impracticability.
The difficulty of the undertaking arises from many circumstances.
We shall pass over the military obstacles which have been planted in the enemy's path at Winchester
, at Manassas
at Aquia Creek
and in the Yorktown peninsula
These obstructions may be regarded as having had some influence in checking the advancing career of the invader.
There are others, however, which, if even these should be overcome, would still make the feat somewhat difficult of performance.
The army of invasion would of course have to be of very huge dimensions.
's system of war consists in doing nothing at all unless he has the means in superabundance of accomplishing what he undertakes beyond peradventure.
He is a timid and cowardly General, and requires double the force and equipment for the execution of his plane, that would be expected by any other General.
A more enterprising and daring commander might be willing to undertake a demonstration upon Richmond
with thirty-five or forty thousand men; General Scott
would scarcely venture upon it with less than fifty thousand, supported by as large a reserve at available points on this side of the Potomac
; and this reserve supported by still another on the Maryland
side, and in Washington
of fifty or a hundred thousand more.
This is certainly not too large a preparation for making assurance doubly sure; and Gen. Scott
, who would have a reputation to protect, as well as a campaign to make, is a General of the assurance doubly-sure stamp.
The moving of an invading army in a hostile country is a prodigious undertaking.
Its first requirements would be an immense number of horses, for the three services, of cavalry artillery and transportation.
The cavalry are the eyes and ears of an army, and an invading column would have to be strongly furnished with this arm of the service.
Three or four thousand cavalry would be a small complement for an invading column fifty thousand strong.
The column would have to be very strong also in artillery.
The complement of horses required for this service should be as great as that for the cavalry.
The transportation, too, of baggage and provisions for such a force would be prodigious.
This service alone would require six thousand horses, and a fourth as many baggage wagons.
Thus, ten thousand horses would be a small estimate of the number of animals required for an invasion of Virginia
projected against Richmond
We do not believe that Gen. Scott
has at command five thousand horses; and as it is impossible to mobilize an army without these animals, one reason of the poor success of the enemy, in penetrating Virginia
, is readily seen.
So long as his operations lie along the sea shore, the navigable water courses, and unobstructed railways, he can accomplish his objects with some degree of facility and success, but the moment he has to depend upon other means of transportation, his movements at once come to an end, and all his arrangements are discovered to be at fault.
is a country very unprolific of horses, and it is next to impossible to procure the requisite supplies for any purposes.
If the people of our State will keep this great fact in mind, they have a means at once of steadying their nerves and of rendering the progress of the enemy into our interior next to impossible.
His approach should be the signal for tearing up the track and blowing up the bridges upon every neighboring railroad, and of filling country roads with every obstruction which circumstances admit of and furnish.
The march of an enemy over a campaign country is much slower than is usually supposed.
Eight or ten miles a day is a large average for a large column, obliged to help open its communications and to obtain its supplies in the rear.
Detachments might be sent forward, indeed, which would make much more rapid progress, but an effective system of guerilla warfare would readily keep them in check, and oblige the invading column to keep itself compact and intact.
We are of those who believe invading army, poorly provided with cavalry and with horses, cannot get far into Virginia
If it met without obstacle in the shape of a determined and active foe disputing its progress at every step, the mere task of getting along over the ground would be very great and occupy a tedious space of time.
But besides this mere vis inertia,
which would be considerable, an invading column would have a foe to meet more fierce than is usually encountered in such excursions.
They have shown by their depredations at Alexandria
and around Hampton
, and by their wanton burnings at Fairfax Court-House and Centreville
, the treatment they have in store for Virginia
They inflict destruction indiscriminately upon Secessionists and tories, upon Southern men and Unionists
; and they may therefore expect to encounter the indiscriminate and joint resistance of all classes of our citizens.
Considering all these things we are firmly persuaded that the invasion of Virginia
as far as Richmond
, is an impracticable undertaking.
At least we have no fear of it, and will only be cured of our incredulity on the subject when the feat shall have been actually accomplished.