Our people have been so long unaccustomed to the vicissitudes of war that they have not yet learned how to weigh success against mishaps, and to strike a balance between good and evil fortune.
Thus far it is certainly true that the balance in question has been largely in our favor, and for that very reason, perhaps, we do not bear our reverses with all the equanimity becoming the cause we are engaged in. We have been spoiled by success until a small touch of adversity goes harder with us than it ought.
We seem to have forgotten that no war was ever yet conducted to an issue without occasional reverses even to the most fortunate.
We by no means esteem the reverse at Hatteras
an affair of sufficient importance to blunt the hope even of the least hopeful.
We have known from the first, that we had a coast more than a thousand miles long to defend against an enemy who had command of the sea. We ought, therefore, to have been prepared to expect descents of the kind, practiced on this occasion, at any hour of the day. It is impossible to defend a seaboard of such vast extent so effectually as to render, a descent impossible.
Our policy is, or should be, to secure certain points of peculiar importance, and this is all that any power on earth can do. If the enemy had not landed at Hatteras
, the probability is that he would have landed somewhere else.
So far as we are concerned, it is as well that he landed where he did, as anywhere else.
he was sure to land.
What does he gain by the capture of Hatteras
Does he wish to break up our privateers sailing from the coast of North Carolina
If that is his object, the whole coast was accessible to his fleet.
Does he wish to establish a basis for future operations in the Atlantic Cotton States
It would have been impossible to have prevented him from accomplishing that object in some other place even if he had failed at Hatteras
We cannot prevent him from landing an army.
The only thing we can do is to beat such army after it shall have been landed.
Is there any doubt about our doing this?
We conceive that there is none whatever.
If the volunteers of North Carolina, Tennessee
and South Carolina
, cannot beat such a rabble as Lincoln
will be able to send against them, then history is a liar, and experience the most palpable of imposters.
In the meantime, we feel convinced that it is the intention of the enemy to constitute Hatteras a base of operations, for invading South Carolina
The New York Herald
has been hinting at some such scheme for several weeks past, and we regard this as the first move in the game.
This invasion will have a beneficial effect in one respect.
It will rouse all the States to put forth their full strength.
Hitherto some of them have done so only partially.
has nearly a twelfth of her white population in the field.
She has 65,000 volunteers under arms.
Her population is about one-seventh of that of the whole Confederation.
Seven times sixty-five thousand makes four hundred and fifty-five thousand, and that is the number of men we should have in the field if all did as well as Virginia
.--This affair will assist in rousing them, and we shall soon have that number in the field.
With an army of four hundred and fifty thousand in the field, we may calculate with certainty on eating our Christmas dinner in New York.
So far from feeling despondent, we should be glad to see these expeditions.--They split up the forces of the enemy, and weaken him on the vital point.
From that point nothing ought to divert our gaze.
Break through the line there and all these attempted diversions go for nothing.
The great object of these excursions is to turn our attention from Manassas
It will not do.