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Duration of the war.

We like the grim humor of those soldiers of the Confederacy who have enlisted "for this war and three years of the next." The spirit that expresses itself thus is the spirit which should animate every citizen as well as every soldier of the Confederacy. It recognizes the war as by possibility one of the permanent institutions of society, and as such accepts it with unflinching nerves. To the question, "How long will the war last?" it has but one answer to give, and that is, "It will last till we are free."

We have no other answer that can be given to the question — none, at any rate, that free men should deign to give. The soldiers of our army have no other reply. They no longer manifest that natural restlessness in a condition of war which is engendered by a lifetime of peace. War has become with them a second nature. They have been forced by the wild beasts of the North to live the insecure and combatant life which men lead who live among wild beasts, until, like other hunters, the excitement and peril have become necessary to their happiness, and they are all might Nimrod, eager for the chase. If the Yankees imagine that their perseverance in seeking to deprive as of home and existence is greater than our determination to kill them as often and as long as they come in our way, we have only to refer them to the resolve of our army to enlist for this war and three years of the next."

It is more than a joke, this "three years of the next." It shows not only a contentment with the war, but a determination to prolong it forever rather than yield to the robbers and murderers by whom we are assailed. It indicates a preference of war, with all its hardships and horrors, to peace with the house burning and assassinating nation which so long before this war has been lying like a snake coiled up in our chimney corner, only waiting an opportunity to strike his poisoned fangs into our heart. Our only apprehension is that war will at last become to be the happiness of our soldiers, so that when the war is ended they will be taking three years more out of somebody by way of keeping their hand in.

Let the people learn a lesson from the army. Let them cease to disturb themselves upon the problem, "How long the war will last?" The agitation of such a question gives hope and encouragement to the flagging energies of the North. It leads them to cherish the delusion that we will soon become so tired of the existing state of things as to be ready to accept peace on any terms. Let us, therefore, show no unworthy anxiety on such a point. Let us learn to contemplate the possibility that the war will last till we and our children have passed from the scene of action. A state of perpetual war is as much to be preferred to the peace of submission to Yankeedom as the life of brave mariners on the storm to the ocean to the condition of frogs and tadpole in the midst of a miasanatie pool. Series to Yankees, and herding with one own liberty slaves — that is the only peace to which Lincoln destines us. "How long will the war last?" Let is last forever, if forever is necessary to keep us from such a fate as that.

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