Gen. Fremont's prospects in the West.
The following editorial, which we copy from the New York Tribune
, our readers will find worthy of a perusal:
The facts that Gen. Fremont
is at, if not west of, Jefferson City
, the capital of Missouri
, which is but 120 miles from Lexington
, now the rebel focus in that State--that the rebels mean to take Booneville
and Jefferson City
, preparatory to an attack on St. Louis
— that Gen.
F., on the other hand, is strongly suspected of designs against Lexington
and its present possessors — all point to an early and serious collision.
The cautious, diplomatic, doubtless wise strategy of McClellan
is not adapted to the West
, where those who go to war are strongly suspected of a disposition to hurt somebody, and to look for the enemy with a decided intent to pitch in. We strongly hope not to hear of any fight there for some days yet, since the Union
forces are widely scattered on almost every side of the rebels, and there is imminent danger that the latter may strike the first blow East or West in overwhelming force.
We have no faith in the strategy which would surround
an army of fifty thousand with three or four independent corps,
separated by two or three days march, and so liable to be attacked and beaten in succession.
Yet, presuming the rebel leaders to understand their business, it is hardly possible to avoid such attacks before effecting a concentration; while to protect Kansas
on the west, St. Joseph
and the line of the North Missouri Railroad on the north, and Booneville
and Jefferson City
on the east, might seem to preclude the necessary concentration at all. We judge, however, that the control of the Missouri river
and the railroad aforesaid are advantages to the Unionists which cannot fail to be improved.
is, with regard to military operations of magnitude, and untried commander.
His fitness to lead thousands is now to be established or disproved.
Success is the world's test of merit; and, should he now be beaten by the rebels, he will be judged a pretender and a charlatan.
He may have less than half so many men as he confronts — his may be the greenest recruits, while the enemy are comparative veterans, flushed with repeated triumphs — he may be crippled for want of arms and munitions, while the allies of Floyd
before him may have stolen themselves rich in everything needed — no matter: he must triumph, or be whistled down the wind as unequal to his position.
We presume he comprehends this hard necessity, and is prepared to wrestle with Fortune on such conditions as she sees fit to prescribe.
He may be beaten — he may even prove incompetent to lead an army — but we sadly mistake the man if any bullets shall touch his back unless in the way of exit from his body.
His raw troops may be scattered by an equal force, though we do not believe they will.
Should the rebels await his attack at or near Lexington
, they will of course avail themselves of every natural advantage of position, and will improve these by field-works.
They have never yet fought equal numbers on a fair field, and we do not think they ever will when there is any alternative.
And should he fail and fall, simply because he is compelled, like Lyon
, to fight an over-whelming force, we are sure his countrymen will not refuse him the tribute of a manly tear.
How many men he will be able to muster in front of Lexington
, we do not know, but believe the number cannot fall short of thirty thousand, and hope it will be swelled to forty thousand.
If he can but have arms and munitions, we shall hope for the best.
We know, however, that he has at no moment been able to arm or equip the volunteers pressing to his standard — that he left, at St. Louis
, when he started up the river last Friday, whole regiments for which he had no weapons, while a regiment of cavalry lately drew up before him with but a single saddle, and never a belt or scabbard — and that field-guns ordered by him, and deemed essential to his service, have lain for weeks, and still lie in this city, simply because some underling of the War Department does not see fit to accept and forward them.
Such facts may well justify the gravest apprehensions.
The Detroit Advertiser
states that the Ordnance Department, at Washington
, sold 10,000 Enfield
muskets, (or rifles,) since Bull Run
, to a private dealer for $10 each, and that the Government
has since tried to buy them back for $20. Had but these arms been sent promptly to Fremont
, instead of being so fooled away, we believe affairs in Missouri
would have worn a far brighter aspect to-day.
serviceable, though not the very best, arms at exorbitant prices, may in these times be an unwelcome necessity; to sell
them, under existing circumstances, is, in a public functionary, a blunder, if no worse.
However, we shall probably soon hear that Missouri
is won or lost.
We believe the rebels have now collected in and around Lexington
the strongest army that they will be able this year to concentrate in Missouri
, and that the defeat of this will drive them from the State
A correspondent of The Times,
who witnessed, (under guard.) the conclusion of the siege of Col. Mulligan
's position, expressly says:
"All the big guns of the Confederates
I saw, among others, Generals Slack
, Gov. Jackson
, Gens. Harris
, Captain Emmet McDonald
, Cols. Turner
, and Clay
, and so on, ad infinituns.
This leaves only Ben McCulloch
ruffians to be accounted for, and they can hardly exceed ten thousand.
The capture of Mulligan
's force has doubtless given prestige to the rebels, and thus brought some thousands to their standard, while it has supplied them with some valuable, and more indifferent arms.
is the heart of the densest slave region of Missouri
, a flourishing and fertile district, which affords ample food and forage.
It is the very best point in the State
for a focus of armed, defiant rebellion.
And yet we hope and trust.