The War in the Southwest.
[from our army correspondent]
Corinth, May 26, 1862.
In pursuance of a general order
issued two days ago, the correspondents of the press now in the army have been tabooed from the lines, and ordered not to return within twenty-five miles of the same.
This will therefore be my last letter from this point, though my convictions of duty to your readers will induce me to remain in the vicinity and chronicle such events as may drift towards me from the now boiling cauldron of army life.
The merits or demerits of this demonstration against the liberties of the press, it is not my intention to discuss now. An ample opportunity will be afforded in the future when those who are at the bottom of the affair will be treated according to their just deserts.
No cause is assigned for the movement, and none that is reasonable exists.
Every telegraphic dispatch is approved officially by the Adjutant-General
, and if any improper information has been given to the public, it has been done with official sanction.
I learnt however, that one of the correspondents was imprudent in writing a letter wherein certain movements were made public which it was desirable should be concealed, not only because of the information it gave to the enemy of facts that had transpired,
but from a desire to hide from the world the additional fact that there had been a failure to accomplish a certain object; not, however, resulting from the knowledge or strength of the enemy, but from certain natural obstacles which were unknown to our Generals
Other reasons may have induced this summary action; but why the sins of one individual should be visited upon the entire representatives of the press and the people, to whom they bear the relation of mediums of communication from their relatives and friends in the army, is a mystery.
I remember that our worthy President
scouted at the idea of tampering with the liberties of the press when the idea was suggested in Congress, as long as the press remained loyal and prudent.
Yet here is a direct interference And farther, I have been informed by one of the officials that he intends to arrest every editor in the country who dares to publish any private intelligence that reflects upon the movements or organization of the army or any of its officials.
Your true, well informed, and prudent correspondent, will never publish such facts, and others bearing upon the welfare of the army; but in future the country will be flooded with the most absurd tales that ever deceived a people.
One thing is certain, distinguished officers will no longer have their horses shot under them and their names blazoned in print.
, ‘"riding through the thickest of the fire,"’ will no longer exist.
Official reports may give the skeleton, but the details of a battle will never reach the public eye. Instances of individual bravery will hereafter never make glad the hearts of the Southern
people that the days of chivalry yet linger with us, and the wounded and dead will He and rot for weeks before their distant friends can be relieved of the agonizing suspense which follows every battle — all of which facts have heretofore been the them of the faithful, hard-working, plodding ‘"army correspondent."’ Individually we don't care.
We are banished, ‘"but what's banished but set free."’ The people will be the only sufferers.
As regards general affairs, everything remains in a quiescent attitude.
A determined attack has recently been made on Fort Pillow
, and a fight is pending at Vicksburg
These two events, should they prove successful to the Federal
arms, may change the policy of Halleck
with reference to the coming battle.
The opening of the Mississippi
would enable him to throw a heavy body of troops into Memphis
, and thence upon the left of Beauregard
In fact, the Federal General
is reported to have remarked that he would take Corinth
without firing a gun. It may, therefore, be his design to await the demonstrations on the river.
These are the only contingencies on which he can depend to carryout the programme thus enunciated.
The probabilities of a Federal success on the river is somewhat in their favor.
According to the latest accounts, a strong force has landed at Osceola
, which is near the point where the Yankee gunboats are stationed, and are now pushing down the river-bank on a road which will carry them to a point be low Fort Randolph
, which is about sixteen miles this side of Fort Pillow
In other words, it is a repetition of the Island No.10
tactic, which caused an evacuation and surrender.
Once fairly established on the banks, the Federal
will bring down their heavy guns, and, by cutting off supplies, compel us to yield to starvation and to the enemy.
I am not disposed to regard the opening of the Mississippi
an event so certain as many anticipate.
Federal gunboats may, indeed, ply between Cincinnati
and New Orleans, but it would require half a million of men to protect the transports from the deadly fire of the thousands of independent sharpshooters and partisans who will line the banks.
It will be no easy matter to prevent a discharge of grape shot at every landing that will riddle the wooden steamers and their valuable cargoes, and this in itself constitutes an elephantine obstacle which the Federal
cannot possibly surmount.
The fall of Memphis
no more effects the general result than the capture of New Orleans.
They may be made points d'appal
for the operation of Federal armies, but each city will itself require an army to maintain its subordination.
One company of riflemen following their transports, and dodging among the trees and swamps, could do more damage in a month to their river trade than a year of Federal operations on land would compensate; and if I have not misapprehended the temper of the people, it will be done.
Affairs in Arkansas
are overrunning the State
and advancing southward, but the people are aroused and meeting them wherever they can. Cotton is being freely burned, and everything that is valuable to the enemy placed beyond reach.
A telegraphic dispatch from Vicksburg
advises us that the gunboats have commenced to shell the town.
Several privates residences have been damaged, but the batteries remain uninjured and nobody is hurt.
Of one thing let your readers rest assured.
The policy of concentration adopted by the President
is destined to work out glorious results; and whatever may be the effect of military movements on the popular mind now, ultimately it will redound to our success — Overrun we can never be. Subjugation is impossible.
The banks of Memphis
have ‘"travelled,"’ or, to use the new word loaned us by the Yankees