The peace rumors.
Whenever our armies win a battle, we forthwith hear a thousand rumors of approaching peace.
Such rumor sure particularly rife just at this moment, when they have just won a couple.
We wish we could see any just ground for believing peace near, but we confess we see none whatever.
Our victories around Richmond
were followed, on the part of Lincoln
, by a call for 300,000 additional men, and this call was succeeded, in a very short time, by another 300,000 more.
The whole Yankee
force, on paper, since the beginning of the war is twelve hundred thousand men. Of these, we are told, about three hundred and fifty thousand have been slaughtered or put hors de combat,
so that, on paper, there are now about 850,000 men. A contemporary disposed of nearly half of these as deserters, or sick, or otherwise absent from their colors; so that only about 450,000 are left to do the fighting.
Yet this is a tremendous army, and as, thus far, the Yankees
feel perfectly safe at home, they can send it all here.
And they will send it all here, and we shall not be able to obtain peace until we shall have slaughtered at least half of it.
It should be recollected that none of our victories, though glorious to those who gained them, have been decisive.
We have struck many hard blows; but we have not yet annihilated an army, or rendered it so inefficient that it could molest us no more.
There has been no Austerlitz
no Jenna, no Waterloo
, in any of our campaigns; and though our victories have been of great importance to us, they have failed to dishearten the enemy and to convince him that the undertaking he is engaged in is hopeless.
We must do this before we can hope for peace.
There is every reason to believe that it will be done.
Every battle has been won by us, and we may therefore set it down as established that the Yankees
are not a match for us in the field.
The day of decisive victory — victory producing great immediate results — victory so unmistakable as to convince the Yankee
mind that there is no hope — must come; but it has not come yet.
We shall be compelled to meet the preparations the Yankees
are making for the spring.
Of that we may rest assured.
They are on a scale of the most stupendous magnitude, but they can be neutralized.
Let us do this — let us prove that the present armament can do nothing to subjugate us and we feel well assured that they will never raise another of the same size.
But we must, first of all, meet it, and beat it. In order to do so not the slightest realization in recruiting our ranks must be allowed.
The conscription must go on as though we were in the most desperate extremities.
We must have an army in the field as nearly as possible approaching that of the enemy in numbers.
We are happy to believe that this is being done with great strictness and regularity.
Let it be done thoroughly and completely, and we shall find it the best and surest means of obtaining peace.
Beat their armies thoroughly this spring, and they will soon one for peace; for no man is willing to make war only to be beaten.