Table of Contents:
The facts with regard to the battle near Winchester are becoming better known, and as they gradually develop themselves, the gloom which at first settled down upon our people dispersion. It is evident that General Early made a desperate resistance — that for several hours he had the best of the battle — that the enemy lost enormously — that our troops were finally compelled to leave the field by a flank movement, executed by a very superior body of cavalry,--and that the movement in retreat was executed in the most exact order and without the slightest confusion. The statement of the Yankee general, that he killed or wounded five thousand men, and captured half that number, is evidently a falsehood; for had the loss been so great in an army no larger than that under the command of General Early, at least half the train of artillery would have been captured; whereas, we lost but three pieces.--The man who makes this statement, it is to be recollected, is Sheridan — the same man who claimed a victory at Trevillian's depot, after having been more shamefully routed than any general of the war who stated that his whole loss on that occasion was less than two hundred, killed, wounded and prisoners, whereas, four hundred and eighty-seven, taken in that fight, were actually at that time prisoners in this city; and who telegraphed to Stanton that the object of his expedition had been completely accomplished; whereas, that object was to destroy the tunnel and unite with Haunter, and he was routed and turned back before he had gone half way. It is stated by others that General Early lost, in all, about two thousand five hundred men, of whom about five hundred were reported missing, and even this we believe to be an exaggeration. The Yankees appear to have paid dearly for this success. Their loss, according to Sheridan, is two thousand. We suppose it is at least that, and some five or six thousand more. Our men were in position, and were attacked by the Yankees. It is reasonable to infer, therefore, that they killed and wounded a vast many more than they lost. Six or eight thousand is a very small estimate. We speak sincerely when we say that we have no fears for General Early.--The fact that the enemy did not attempt to pursue him after the day of the battle is significant of another fact, and that is, that he was awfully crippled, and did not feel in a condition to improve his victory. He must get reinforcements before he can push Early, and in the meantime Early is in a position and a country in which cavalry can do very little service, save as scouts and patrols. We hardly think Sheridan will be able to play his destined role of capturing Lynchburg and the canal, and the Southside and Danville railroads, this winter at least. He has but six weeks more to do it in, and his movements are hardly rapid enough to accomplish it by that time. In this campaign, notwithstanding the two small reverses at Atlanta and Winchester, the balance has been greatly in our favor. We have frustrated the most tremendous combination ever formed against any modern city, and in frustrating it, have slain or wounded, or otherwise put hors de combat, at least two hundred thousand men, of which number Grant himself lost, under his own immediate eye, at least one hundred and fifty thousand. That general himself acknowledges that he has been awfully beaten when he calls for one hundred thousand fresh troops to finish the job which he expected to finish last June. He is conscious that he does so, and endeavors to explain it away in conversation with one of the that stuck to him like a leech in his late journey from Harper's Ferry to Philadelphia. He only wants them, he says, to make the victory more complete, and to diminish the effusion of blood.--Those are the very objects for which all commanders seek overwhelming numbers. To state that object is merely to confess that his present numbers are insufficient to effect the object. Now, taking in Hunter's army and Butler's army, Grant had at least three hundred thousand men engaged in this enterprise. If he still wants one hundred thousand more, it affords the strongest proof that he has been signally and terribly beaten. We say, then, that thus far the advantage in this campaign has been prodigiously on our side. We have killed enormous numbers of Yankees, and that is the surest way to bring the rest to their senses. It is far better, indeed, than peace congresses at Niagara or elsewhere. The Yankees are the most mercenary of God's creatures. If the ministry of our Saviour had been among them instead of the Jews, instead of lasting three years it would not have lasted three days. Some Yankee Judas would have sold him in less than half that time. And yet the Yankee loves his life better even than his interest; and when the universal nation finds that nothing but death is to be gotten by coming here, they will conclude that it does not pay, and will give it up. The best road to peace lies through the blood of the Yankees. The more we kill, the nearer we approach to peace. Such being the fact, we must be admitted to have made vast progress in this campaign. They have been slaughtered awfully here and everywhere else.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.