previous next

Burnside's Whereabouts.

At the time of writing this article, nothing has been heard of Burnside. It is probable that intelligence may be received of his movements during the day. With a river between him and General Lee, which the latter has no means of crossing exactly at the point where he himself disappeared. It is easy for him to mask his movements for a short time. We may be certain, however, that the sharp eyes which are on the lookout will not lose sight of him long. He can make no movement which Lee will not discover in time to make the necessary provision against it. The opinion expressed by Gen. Lee that he has chosen some other point to effect his passage, is probably correct.--If it be so, we should suppose that he would choose it further down the river, where he can receive the assistance of his fleet. The Yankees are not fond of trusting themselves far from deep water; but should be prosecute his enterprise from any point on the lower Rappahannock, he will meet with difficulties of which he has now but a faint conception. It, on the contrary, he should move up the river, in the direction of Gordonsville, he will get out of reach of his boats, and will find himself in much the same predicament that Pope was last summer, with the additional difficulty of having to traverse in December the same region that that great man found impracticable in August.

The modest, characteristic report of Gen. Lee gives us no insight into the losses of the enemy on Saturday. In this respect, everybody must be struck with the marked contrast it presents to the lying, bragging, vain glorious bulletins of McClellan and the rest of the Yankee Generals whenever they fight and escape utter defeat. What General Lee has forborne to tell, however, has been in some sort, supplied by the reports of the enemy's wounded and prisoners in our possession. They all concur in saying that the defeat was utter, and that had Burnside been a few miles further from his stronghold, his army must have been completely dispersed. His withdrawal in the night, and apparent abandonment of all further attempts to force his way by the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad, from Fredericksburg as a base, sufficiently prove the severity of his defeat. His army must have been completely demoralized, or he would never have relinquished such a darling enterprise — an enterprise undertaken at the suggestion of Halleck, who seems to be the Jomini of the Washington authorities, and by the direction of Lincoln himself, who we are told by the New York Times, in this connection, ‘"has studied the great principles underlying the conduct of military affairs."’ Indeed, it is rumored that on Saturday evening so tremendous had been the slaughter of Burnside's army that his men became unmanageable and positively refused to be led up again after the last repulse. This refusal seems very much like mutiny on the field of battle. It is added that he designed to renew the engagement on Sunday, but was unable to make his men come up to the scratch. Whether there be any truth in these rumors or not, we are not prepared to say; but the precipitancy of the retreat seems to indicate an apprehension that he would be assailed in his position.

The prisoners say the Confederates have no idea of the extent of their success. We believe it. We know that we have gained another great and glorious victory; but we believe it is far greater and far more glorious than the most sanguine among us imagine. We shall never get at the truth, for Burnside will never tell it, and we have no means of ascertaining it independently of him. Our General is not like McClellan, who always knows to an eye and a log what his enemy has lost, but can never find out what he has lost himself. But it will be Judged by its effects. It has again broken the coil of the anaconda for the fifth or sixth time. It has stopped the latest ‘"on to Richmond."’ It has demonstrated what, indeed required no farther demonstration than it had already received, that this war, pursued for an object which can never be obtained, is a sheer piece of wickedness and folly on a stupendous scale.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lee (5)
Burnside (5)
McClellan (2)
Pope (1)
Lincoln (1)
Halleck (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December (1)
August (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: