--If ever an army and a people had reason to repose the most entire and perfect confidence in their military leaders, it is the Southern
army and the Southern
, and Smith
, at the head of the army of the Potomac, are soldiers who would grace any military service in the world.
They have shown not only their skill and their courage, but their patriotic devotion to the cause by toils and services which can never be repaid.
Their soldiers have the utmost confidence, as well they may, in their capacity and valor, and it would be a sad day for the Confederacy
were that confidence to be diminished by unjust criticism.
The men who have fought our battles know better how to appreciate our Generals
than peaceful citizens who have never smelt gunpowder.
Such men as Johnston
, and others who might be named, on the Potomac
; such Generals
in Western Virginia
; such a master of his profession as Gen. Albert S. Johnston
; such accomplished soldiers and strategists as Generals Hardee
, and others, are not to be found in any other army on this continent.--The South has shown its good sense in calling to the control of its forces educated military men, and has been fortunate in securing not only soldiers, but men of sense and character, of dignity, self-respect, and conscience, who appreciate the responsibility of their positions, and have as much to lose by disaster as any one else in the Southern Confederacy; probably more.
Having selected our agents, let us exercise some faith in them, and not imitate the facility of the Northern
rabble, in making and unmaking Generals
, and in criticising things which we do not understand.
We do not claim for the Generals
, or for any officials, civil or military, in the land, the credit of the powerful military front which the South
now presents to her enemies.
That is evidently the achievement of the Southern people.
We have more respect for the private soldiers in the ranks of the Southern
army, than for any officials in the world.
We believe that, with even ordinary generalship, they will whip the invaders, though three times their numbers.
To our military leaders, however, belongs the credit of organizing, combining and disciplining our armies, and of leading them to victory after victory, and such victories as this continent never witnessed before.
Suppose the North
had gained such a victory at Bull Run
as was gained by the South
, would we ever have heard an end to the glorification of Gen. Scott
? Would they have complained and grumbled, even if he had been unable to make any forward movement?
The ‘"On to Washington
"’ demand is one which can only be raised by those who are entirely ignorant of the loss of life which such a taking of the bull by the horns would cost.
Our gallant soldiers can take Arlington Heights
, no doubt, but at a cost of human life that no advantages to be gained by it would compensate.
There are other ways of accomplishing the great object of the war than by butting the head of the army against heavy ramparts, which, after all, do not protect a vital point.
Let us have faith in the Generals
, as well as the men who have gained so many magnificent victories.
If they were mere civilians, mere politicians, mere demagogues, who might as well be at the head of a lying-in hospital as of an army, we should have some reason for apprehension.
But they are real Generals
; they know a good deal more of their vocation than outsiders can possibly do, and there are very few outsiders who have as much personal interest in success and victory as the men who lead our armies.