Defending Seacoast Cities.
--It is a hard thing to give up any portion of our soil to the occupancy of invaders, and such invaders!
But we have to choose between accomplishing all we could desire or accomplishing nothing; between defending the heart of the system and ultimately saving the extremities, or undertaking the impossibility of protecting our whole vast frontier, and ultimately losing all. For ourselves, we believe that the policy adopted in Virginia
was the best policy to be adopted everywhere for ultimate good.
The noblest seaport of the whole South
, our own beloved city of Norfolk
, as well as other rich and exposed portions of Virginia
, were given up, and the armies used in their defence concentrated in that majestic host which has so long kept the enemy at bay, but which, if it had been scattered to defend our whole territory, might by this time have been destroyed.
Our failures in the West and South may all be attributed to the want of concentration.
We ought never to have attempted to hold Vicksburg
; we are by no means certain that we should commit the same error in regard to any place which can be reached by water.
We have no means of contending against the overwhelming naval armaments of the enemy, and no sea- port is of vital importance to our cause.
But it is important that we should save our men and material of war, and not permit the enemy, in their own classic phrase, to "gobble them down" at their pleasure.
We should take the armies employed in defending these places and concentrate them in large bodies, or organize them in guerilla parties, and thus effectually defend the interior of the country.
Whilst feeling the deepest sympathies for any portion of the Confederacy
overrun by the enemy, we should not sacrifice to these sympathies the general good.--We have never yet been able to see what benefit to our cause any seaport is. As a means of blockade running and ruining the national currency, it is more important to the enemy that they should be in our hands than theirs.
But if everyone of them were gone, we should be as strong, provided we can save their garrisons, and stronger than we are in their possession.
Let Concentration be the watchword — not Cities — and a new day dawn will rise upon our skies.