previous next

Grant's desperation.

Many accounts, recently received, concur in the statement that Grant had been plying his men freely with whiskey, to stimulate these to the renewed attacks upon our firm columns, after repeated repulses. He is understood to be a hard drinker himself, and having been himself by

intoxication to some hazardous enterprise, thinks the same effect may be wrought upon his men by the same cause. It is an old trick of war, to madden men to desperate assaults by administering strong drink to them. There is no doubt that very respectable commanders in former days entertained the idea that gunpowder and brandy mixed would create a sort of courage very useful in a hot engagement in the battlefield. Grant, no doubt, is familiar with the patriotic, naval song of the "Constitution and Guerriere," well known in the war of 1812. The latter vessel (British) was commanded by "proud Dacres, the grandee, O. "He was understood, before going into the battle with the Constitution, to have tried this physic on his men, and the song records the fact:

‘ "To the weather gauge, boys, get her,
And to make his men fight better,
Gave them to drink gunpowder
Mixed with brandy, O."

The stimulant so freely resorted to by Grant, undoubtedly had its effect; and employed against less sturdy and determined troops than the soldiers of the South, might have succeeded. Failure, however, is fatal to such rash attacks as Grant's whiskey, and Grant's desperation lead to. Gen. Lee's coolness, and the courage of his army, present a stonewall to that sort of assault, and when directed against them, it must ever recoil with "terrible slaughter" upon the assailant, as has been the case in every instance on the Rappahannock.

Grant is a brute. Such strategy betrays an utter recklessness of human life, for the gratification of his own ambition. His losses have been immense, and nothing but ultimate victory can save him from the universal execration of even the Yankees.

It is gratifying to the Southern people to behold the contrast between their own countrymen in war and those riff-raff multitudes which they meet in the field, and who are stimulated by such agencies as we have described to desperate fighting. The Southern armies are remarkable for their individuality that proud spirit of manhood, which inspires each soldier with the feeling that he has a personal independence and honor to maintain, as well as a country to defend, with his life, if need be; and as the best mode of maintaining this high name and right, and fulfilling his duty to his State, he throws his whole force and courage into the collective bravery and prowess of the army, and this it is which makes it invincible. He maintains his state and loyalty — individual, social, and political — against a foe who has not one corresponding virtue. The Northern army is composed of immense holders of foreigners, negroes, and Yankees, with no individuality and no nationality, but who are in the mass mere mercenaries, of all climes and colors, fighting for pay and plunder.

The issue of a struggle between such armies, animated by their different motives, cannot be doubtful. In that pending, campaign in which they have massed their power for a final effort (as they confess) for our subjugation, we have repelled them in every field where we have met them. As every point of a country like ours cannot be defended — that, with his immense numbers, the enemy should inflict local damage and annoyance, should surprise no one. His columns hang upon us, let us be assured, but to meet with further and decisive repulses from a brave people, to whom honor is dearer than life.

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.
Gen Grant (7)
Gen Lee (1)
Guerriere (1)
Dacres (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.
1812 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: