Effect of our Reverses.
Reverses, be they ever so severe, are useful to the Southern
They rouse the talent energies of the country, and spur its public men to activity.
The victory of Manassas
had its evil consequences as well as its good.
It inspired us with an undue confidence, and quelled the sense of danger that all had felt.
It made us despise the enemy, the most fatal of all mistakes in warfare.
It stung the pride of the adversary to the quick, and set him to work in earnest in preparing the means of vengeance.
The mighty armies that he has brought into the field, and the mammoth expenditure he has incurred in providing war material, are in part the fruits of Manassas
A corresponding activity and zeal on our part would have continued to weigh him down with the dismay which Manassas
inspired; but he found that we were indolent in proportion as he was alert, and he has taken new courage for the combat.
The same danger which threatened the country on the eve of Manassas
, threatens it again; and our people must once more rise in their might, as they rose and stood forth for that creation.
The misfortunes in Tennessee
and North Carolina
are misfortunes on a small scale, and doubtless intended by a benignant Providence
to provoke that activity which the emergency demands.
It is well that they have occurred at the present time, when it is impossible for the large land forces of the enemy to avail themselves of the diversion they occasion in the public mind. --These land forces cannot move in column at the propitious moment that now offers; and we are afforded time by the elements to repair the reverses on our outposts, and prepare for the great battles in prospect.
The fall of Roanoke Island
has already produced one compensation.
it procured the passage through the Virginia Legislature of a fill for retaining the army of Virginia in the field, a measure which that body had been Mable
to mature in a session of two months and a half. So radly unequal to the emergency was that conclave that, though the enemy was thundering at the gates of the Commonwealth
, they sat two months in cold debate over the details of military organization.
The clap of thunder from Roanoke Island
at length startled them to their feet, and frightened them into their duty; and the army of Virginia may be considered as saved by the melancholy occurrence on that island.
Thus defeats have their uses no less than victories; and though it is a sad, yet it is a consoling reflection, that what patriotism could not effect in the Legislature of this Commonwealth misfortune has done; and that, if we may expect vigor from our Government at no other time, we may do so, at least, when danger stares us in the face.
A grave responsibility new devolves upon the Governor
of this Commonwealth.
It behooves him to move energetically, and it touches the safety of the country, that he should enter with alacrity upon the discharge of his duty under the military act. Not a day is to be lost, and the month should not end without seeing the leading provisions of the act carried into effect.
It lies within his power to have the ranks of the Virginia army filled by the first of April, and all the regiments fully organized before that date.
The act that has been passed is in the main a good one, and whatever defects it may be found to contain can readily be remedied by additional legislation.
But these amendments should not touch the leading principles and features of the act, which is in the nature of a compact with the volunteers in the field and cannot be materially changed without a breach of the public faith.
The enactment of this law is the first good fruit of the sad reverse at Roanoke Island
; we trust that other good fruit will follow.
We doubt not that they will.
All that the South
needs at present is to be thoroughly roused to the occasion.
If she but brace herself to the work in earnest, the Yankees
cannot stand before them.
Their splendid arms and artillery will avail them no more against the fierce courage of her troops than they did at Manassas
The crisis of Manassas
is upon the country again for the last time, and let our people come forth and meet it as we met it then.
That will give us peace — that will secure us independence — and that alone.