The Southwest--the recent successful operations there.
The skill, success, and energy displayed by our Generals
in the Southwest
in the recent operations in that section can only be fully appreciated since we have had the Yankee
version of the brief and utterly unproductive campaign which has been an admirably and so completely foiled and defeated.
This campaign was designed on the grandest scale of any which the enemy has projected during the war. It has the impress of Halleck
's comprehensive closet strategy, and embraced a field of operations the most extensive, and a series of combinations the most elaborate, that have yet been essayed by the enemy, or by any commanders in ancient or modern warfare.
This plan comprehended a general advance from all the various positions held by the enemy in the vast extent of our territory stretching from Chattanooga
westward to Memphis
, from Memphis
southward to New Orleans, and from New Orleans eastward to the Florida coast
No wonder that the imaginative and sensational Yankee editors should grow exultant and jubilant over such a magnificent scheme, and should predict from its certain success — as the New York Tribune
and other journals did — an early termination of the war. It is of no practical consequence that we should examine and criticise the wisdom or practicability of the scheme, and on that score content ourselves with the expression of our hope that the author and planner of it will be continued in his high functions of directing the strategy of the Yankee
The miserable failure of this enterprise, and the skill, promptitude, masterly strategy and vigor with which it was met and defeated at all points by our commanders and our gallant soldiers, furnish us grounds of exultation, confidence, and general hopefulness, such as no previous campaign of this war has given.
Let us all remember how, but a few weeks ago, after the disaster at Missionary Ridge
, the Yankees
were so confident that the backbone of the rebellion was broken, and that all that remained to finish the war was for Gen. Grant
to advance into the interior and disperse the scattered fragments of our defeated armies.
It is not to be denied that the disasters at Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
, and that last defeat at Missionary Ridge
, had produced great depression in some of the Southwestern States
, particularly in Mississippi
This depression was compounded of disgust, of distrust of our commanders, and an apprehension that the Government
had abandoned that section of the country in order to defend other sections.
There was, therefore, a large desertion and scattering among our armies, especially in Mississippi
, and our Generals
were greatly perplexed to maintain and keep up their commands.
The success of Gens. Polk
, and Forrest
, in resisting these causes of demoralization and preserving the spirit and efficiency of their commands, reflects upon them an even higher glory than the most brilliant victories in the field could merit.
After successfully resisting these causes of demoralization, and keeping up the organization of these little armies, it was only necessary for these Generals
to accomplish some military successes to revive the confidence and spirits of the people and recall them to their flag and their posts.
so much needed in the Southwest
, to correct and eradicate the terrible depression produced by the disasters of previous campaigns has, we think, been effected by the recent most complete and thorough defeat of the most extensive plan of operations yet designed by the enemy.
Henceforth we have reason to believe that throughout the Southwest
there will be a general rally around the leaders who have given such high proofs of ability, zeal, and devotion.
Our armies will quickly fill up their ranks and under leaders in whom they trust, they will not rest content with merely defeating, but will pursue and drive the enemy without and far beyond our borders.
Meantime, let our Government see that these armies are strengthened.
Let not the idea that so valuable a section of our country as the Valley of the Mississippi
is neglected by our Government, have the slightest foundation or color.
The reinforcement of Gen. Polk
's army appears to us to be of the highest moment, and to promise as much of real practical benefit to the Confederacy
as that of any other force now in the service.
That army has a mission of vast importance, and from the skill with which it is handled by the patriotic and energetic commander, we have every confidence that, its mission will be performed if the infantry force can be augmented so as to enable the General
to take the field and drive the enemy out of Mississippi
and recover possession of the left bank of the Mississippi
When the fact is known, as we have it from the highest authority, that the recent formidable movement of Sherman
, and Grierson
was defeated by Gen. Polk
with a force not equal to that of the enemy, and with a loss of not over a hundred killed, wounded and captured, and without the loss of a pound of the Government
provisions, munitions, or of any kind of property, or of that of the railroad companies, we think the very highest title to the confidence of the Government
and people is afforded that the skill and ability displayed in these difficult and embarrassing circumstances, if properly backed and sustained by the Government
, would soon recover the magnificent stretch of country which has been now too long virtually in the possession or subject to the constant raids of the enemy.