Invasion of the enemy's territory.
After the battle of Manassas
, last year, the newspaper press was unanimous for following up the victory.
It represented the importance of striking at the heart of the enemy — of getting into the midst of his communications, and destroying the means he was preparing for our subjugation, before he could perfect them — of laying upon him the burden of the war, instead of assuming it ourselves.
The newspapers were treated with contempt.
Newspaper tactics, newspaper strategy, and newspaper plans of campaign, became terms of reproach with which every suggestion from a newspaper was met. We were told that the science (not art) of war was something so sublimely mysterious, that common sense might strive in vain to penetrate its arcane.--Success was held to be no proof of generalship, and failure no proof that anything went wrong.
The defensive was pitched upon, as the only mode of terminating the war with credit to ourselves and success to our cause.
Among other reasons assigned was one that deserves especial notice.
It was said that if we went into Yankee territory, it would make them so angy they would never forgive us.
The defensive has now been fairly tried and we believe there are few who do not think that the newspaper generals were in the right.
We doubt not that in their secret hearts the very men who fastened the defensive system on us, wished they had listened to the exhortations of the newspapers.
They certainly could not have brought greater disasters upon us than we have already experienced.
could hardly have been much angrier with us, under any circumstances, than they appear to be now. We could not more certainly have lost our forts and sea defences, than the defensive made us lose them.
And there was a possibility that we might have struck a number of great blows, and impressed the Yankees
with the disagreeable nature of war under all circumstances.--We could hardly have been worsted, in short.
So we advice all whom it may concern, hereafter, to pay more attention to the united voice of the press, let the object be what it may.--The united voice of the press is the united judgment of a whole people; and no matter upon what subject it may be concentrated, it is very apt to be right, even though that subject be the inscrutable mystery of Tactics.
Once more the press is unanimous, or nearly so, in favor of an advance into the enemy's territories, if we still have the means to advance.
Will the voice of the press be again despised?
We shall see. It is unanimous, too, against spading and ditching.
That system of tactics has been tried and found wanting.
Cunctation has become obsolete and is no longer endurable.
If we invade the enemy, the press is unanimous in favor of making the invasion like a General of sense would make it. It is for attacking the enemy in detail wherever an opportunity offers, and not waiting for him to unite all his forces, if it can be avoided.
It is for rapid marches, frequent battles, and no ditching.
A General of the utmost energy and decision will be required.
It wishes him, when once appointed, to be let alone, to carry out his own plan of campaign.
Let there be no interference from this point, and if a great victory be gained, let him not be removed to make way for some slow-coach, who will stop operations, stick his men in the mud, and wait until the enemy come to shell him out. If a sufficient force, headed by such a General, and let alone by officials, can be gotten together, and will promise to make a campaign on the above plan (which is the plan of the press) then the press will guaranty success.
If there be no fault in the General
— if the plan of the press be thoroughly carried out in all particulars — and if the expedition fail — then the press, as in duty bound, will acknowledge that it is quite as ignorant of military matters as the wise acres who suggested the defensive policy.
Until that time, no man has a right to say one word against newspaper Generals
, and newspaper plans of campaign.