--This question is the ruling topic of the day. It puzzles military critics, and politicians who can see through a millstone.
The general idea is that Beauregard
is falling back again to repeat the old ruse of Bull Run
But that trick is played out. Then, again, it is supposed that the rebel army of the Potomac is undergoing a division into two grand columns — the one to ford the river above the Great Falls
, and the other to ferry it below Washington
, somewhere between Occoquan
and Matthias Point.
But as this plan of operations would, if seriously attempted, almost certainly result in the destruction or capture of both these columns, we have no idea that it will be tried.
But, again, it is supposed that Beauregard
is falling back in order to send a heavy detachment of his troops into Kentucky
, to capture that State and its vast army supplies before Gen. Anderson
is strong enough to resist a body of twenty or thirty thousand men. This is a plausible conjecture, at first sight, but it ceases to be admissible when we come to consider the distances and difficulties of army transportation between Manassas
and even the southern border of Kentucky
The transfer in the South
by rail of so small an army column as ten thousand men a distance of six or seven hundred miles is not a trifling task, nor one to be accomplished in two or three days; but it is a serious undertaking of two or three weeks, supplies and all included.
We incline to the opinion that Beauregard
has definitely abandoned the programme of the conquest of Washington
; that he is preparing to move his troops back to Richmond
for their winter quarters, and that in due time, if not interrupted in his movements, his vast army will be concentrated from the Chesapeake Bay
along the York
and James rivers
up to and around Richmond
, leaving only small detachments to hold or dispute the strategic positions in his rear, including those of the lower Potomac.
The tide on the Potomac
has turned; it is on the ebb to the rebels, and it will inevitably carry them off. They have eaten out the country around Manassas
; winter is closing upon them, and if they cannot march forward into Washington
, they must march backward to Richmond
This is our explanation of Beauregard
's late mysterious movements.
is impregnable, he must look to the defences of Richmond
; for if the one place is secure the other is in danger.--N. Y. Herald, Oct.