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The extensive frontier of the South

Few of our people have any comprehension of the impossibility of defending at all points such an extensive frontier as that of the South. To protect it completely would require an army concentrated at the innumerable points essential to defence as large as the entire population. The seacoast itself, if there were no inland frontier, is so immense, and abounds with indents, bayous, harbors, and easy landing places, that to guard it effectually without a navy is literally an impossibility. But when it is recollected that, in addition to this, we have an enormous inland frontier, only separated in some contiguous Northern States by an imaginary life, and in others by rivers, which the naval force of the enemy enables them to command; and that, besides all this, an immense territory in the region of the Southwest is penetrated by the Ohio and Mississippi, thus giving us a fresh-water frontier in the heart of our country as large and exposed as that on the Atlantic borders, we think it must be conceded that, to prevent the enemy from making one or a dozen lodgments upon various points of our soil, especially when he outnumbers us four to one, is more than can be expected of any Government. Our only wonder is, considering the immense advantages of the enemy for assault, whilst we stand purely upon the defensive, that we have been able so long to prevent him from destroying or occupying most of our seaport and river towns, and from advancing into the interior from more than one important base of operation.

Considering our limited means of defence, both in arms and munitions of war, and the boundless supply of both possessed by the enemy, we may be thankful to Providence that the loyal portion of the Southern Confederacy is still almost intact, and submit with philosophy to any temporary advantages of this kind which they may obtain, as inevitable by any means at our command, and therefore not to be attributed to the fault of our Government or its military leaders. It may consols us also to remember that the occupation of any city of the South, whether on our sea coast or the rivers, would not be decisive in any degree of the great contest in which we are engaged. Paris may be France and London England, but the South is a rural population, whose small and scattered cities might all be blotted out without affecting the great heart of her vitality and power. The population, their resources, the spirit, soul and statesmanship of the South are in the country, not the towns, and the latter might be occupied for fifty years or a century by a foreign army without destroying the strength or corrupting the patriotism of the country population.

If the South is in earnest in its determination to be independent of the most base, fanatical, and cruel despotism that has existed in modern times, it will at least manifest the patience and perseverance of its Revolutionary forefathers, who endured the trials, misfortunes, and disasters of seven long years, and were willing to have toiled through seventy more rather than submit to grievances which, compared with those inflicted upon the South, are lighter than gossamer. For years did our British adversary hold not only cities, seaboard and inland towns, but dominated over whole States. Defeat followed defeat, and misfortune, But the spirit of the true men of that day was heard in the voice of George Washington when he declared that, if all else failed him, he would raise the flag of independence in the mountains of Virginia, and there bid defiance to the enemies of his country.

If the South had lost the battle of Manassas instead of gaining it; if we had been defeated at Bethel, Belmont, Leesburg, Carnifax Ferry, Greenbrier River, Springfield, Alleghany, and defeated in each and all, by far inferior forces, she ought not even then to have despaired, unless she acknowledges her inferiority in energy and patience to the North, which having been shamefully routed in each and all of these actions, still persists in new efforts, struggling with convulsive violence, and never whispering a word of peace. If, under circumstances calculated to beget despair, the North, which is acting as the aggressor, shows no symptoms of discouragement, how puerile and shameful were the South, the victor in almost every battle, and engaged in a struggle in which surrender is ruin, to croak and despond. We do not believe that such is the temper and such the spirit of the Southern people. We feel convinced that, however disagreeable may be those occasional inroads of the enemy into our territory, which cannot be prevented, the South has entire confidence in its leaders, and the most unalterable determination to wait, and hope and live for independence no matter how long and how vexatious the period of probation.

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