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The crisis.

The crisis of the war is at last upon us, and reverse upon reverse comes in quick succession. We have scarcely recovered from the depression consequent upon our defeat at Fort Henry and Roanoke, ere we are called upon to meet a still heavier calamity in the fall of Fort Donelson and the surrender of our brave troops holding that important post. It is true, the facts concerning this last disaster have not yet reached us from sources entitled to our belief; but enough is known to convince us that we have sustained another staggering blow. We have not been of those who entertained the belief that our arms would always be successful, or that it was within the bounds of possibility our small army could meet and drive back the overwhelming hordes of the enemy at every point at which they could penetrate, and are not, therefore, taken by surprise, nor greatly discouraged, by the untoward events which have taken place in the West, and on the Atlantic coast. We have not known our own strength, although we have been greatly too confident of the weakness and cowardice of our foe. If these disasters shall turn our thoughts in upon ourselves, and shall arouse us to the full comprehension of our perilous situation, and to the energy and activity requisite for the occasion, they will not have overtaken us in vain.

We do not believe the defeat at Fort Donelson is of the proportion our telegraphic columns would give us to understand. It must be remembered, the intelligence they furnish comes from the enemy, who are not apt to depreciate the victories they gain. And we see much to encourage us even in this dark hour. Our Permanent Government is launched upon the stormy sea, it is true; but we think her timbers are stout enough to bear the strain, and that, the noble structure will be none the worse for the rough usage to which it has thus early been subjected.

The War Department received Monday evening, from General A. S. Johnston, a telegram, announcing the fall of Fort Donelson, but couched in so ambiguous a style that it because necessary to request more intelligible information. No. answer has as yet been received from that officer, probably on account of the interruption of telegraphic communication, occasioned by the severity of the weather.

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