View of the Field.
We are on the threshold of important, probably of decisive events.
The armies of the two sections are in immediate contact with catch other in full force.
The enemy are pushing their lines into our territory, and our own men are cagier for combat.
The next week of fortnight will witness a series of engagement, which will go far to indicate the issue of the war. The enemy may outnumber us largely and the problem to be solved is, whether the South
will make up in prowess what it lacks in numbers.
So far, the enemy has had every advantage over us in his facilities for collecting armies.
He was much nearer the present seat of the war. His large cities enabled him to recruit troops more rapidly, and his railroads and extensive shipping to concentrate them more readily in their present encampments.
He had the military organization of the United States
all ready to his hands; he had an arm; and navy complete at all points.
He had an old established government machinery in full operation, and vast resources at command maritime, financial, political and military.
The South, on the contrary, had everything to organise from revolution.
She had a new Government to erect and to furnish and equip in its numerous departments and thousand perplexing details.
She had no Navy.
She had no Army.
She had to set diligently to work in preparing her defences before yet her civil organization, which was to call armies into the field and to direct their operations was itself completed and in action.
She had to collect arms, to establish an Ordnance Bureau, to organize a Commissariat, and to create an entire staff.
She had to collect large forces from an extensive and sparsely populated territory.
She had to transport them vast distances to such points as the enemy himself threatened, and not such as she should select as the battle-ground.
In fact, she had to meet the enemy more than half way.--While she was engaged in the important work of organization, the enemy was devoting his whole attention to the creation and transportation of armies.
The enemy thus gained time upon her — time which, it must be confessed, he has very poorly improved.
For as yet he has, with all his advantages accomplished nothing.
Except in remote portions of our territory, like Northwestern Virginia
, he has nowhere penetrated into the interior of our country.
He hangs timidly and doubtfully upon our borders.
He has been there many weeks, idle and inert, while we have been bringing forward from great distances our troops.
His reconnaissances have been disastrous.
They have been more; they have been disgraceful.
At Fairfax Court-House and Great Bethel, at theEight-mile Bridge, on the Hampshire
road, he has been whipped beyond the power of his mendacious writers to conceal.
This is the prominent fact of his invasion so far, that he has nowhere marched forth from his lines with a bold step and offered us battle upon equal terms.
On our side, we have never failed to encounter him on almost any terms he would offer, or to whip him when it has come to a fight.
We have so far, not provoked important engagements, preferring to await the collection of larger forces, and solicitous to drill our men well before leading them into action.
We have preferred, in the face of large odds, and for the cake of discipline and reinforcements, to stand on the defensive.
But we are now just beginning to be ready, and the impetuosity of our men can no longer be restrained with prudence.
is marching down upon our lines with great force, relying upon his numbers, and hoping thus to win ground by striking us with dismay.
It is now to be seen what reception he will meet with in attempting this sort of tactics upon our brave troops.
We of the South
have no doubt.
We are as impatient of the tidings of battle as we are confident of the issue.
The moment, however, is a very serious one.
A great deal hangs upon the events of a few days.
It is to be decided whether the Southern
or the Northern
soldier is the braver and better warrior.
It is to be decided whether the prestige of the Union
and the Stars and Stripes is a stronger inspiration than the love of Liberty and of our invaded country.
is to know whether the South
can maintain her character as a belligerent power, and whether her independence is a probable event.
is to know whether the South
is the feeble and helpless country it has been brought to think.
The question of conquest is not involved; no power on earth can subdue the South
The question is of our equality at a political power and as a martial combatant.