On the subject of winter campaigning, we find the following remarks in a late letter of ‘"D.,"’ the correspondent of the N. O. Delta
They are intended to illustrate the movements of Gen. Jackson
These operations show that there is still room to anticipate active campaigning on the Virginia
It is true that the campaign along the lower Potomac may be considered virtually closed for the season, both armies having retired into winter quarters; but it is likewise true that an active, energetic commander, not restrained by the dictates of a fixed policy, may yet find means and opportunities of carrying on the war in the open field.
If troops can be moved in the mountains of Central Virginia
; if forced marches can be made, battles fought, and victories won, in that inhospitable region, remote from magazines and depots, we may well inquire why it is taken for granted that operations are impracticable in the accessible country along the lower Potomac, and that the milder climate of Eastern Virginia
is yet severe enough to paralyze all movement on the part of the two armies.
I do not underrate the difficulties of moving immense bodies of troops like those which constitute the armies of the Potomac
; the obstacles presented by bad roads and deficient transportation; but I cannot forget that campaigns have often been carried on in the midst of winter, and and in defiance of the severity of climates far more rigorous than any to be encountered on this side of the Potomac
In our own history we have a salient example in the daring passage of the Delaware
and the brilliant victory of Trenton
The wars of the French Revolution
; and of the Empire
, furnish two remarkable instances in the winter operations of Moreau
among the defiles of the Black Forest
, terminating with the splendid victory of Hohenlinden
; and in Napoleon
's remarkable campaign amidst the snows of Poland
— a campaign illustrated by that tremendous conflict where thirty thousand dead men lay around the trenches of Dylan, reddening the whitened earth with their blood.
The winter march of Arnold
, through the wilds of Canada
; the splendid and romantic combats of Massena
with the Russians among the mountains of Switzerland
; the unparalleled retreat of McDonald
across the glaciers of the Alps
; and, to go back to ancient times, the march of the Emperor Majorian, who is described as sounding with his staff the deep snows that encumbered the perilous Alpine
passes through which he led his armies — these are all illustrations of the triumphs which may be won by genius and energy over the rigors of climate and the obstacles of nature.
Fortunately for us, we have, as yet, no reason to fear anything from our enemies in the way of emulation of these shining examples.
Their great leader, whom, with a certain facetiousness of anticipation, they have likened to the Corsican hero, has yet given to evidence that he possesses either the energy of Blucher
or the genius of Napoleon
, bring the four months of supreme command he has gathered together an immense army, provided with all that science can
suggest or wealth supply, and has, after experiencing one brilliant defeat, succeeded in putting his forces very comfortably into winter quarters.
How does this record compare with that of the man who, with a ragged and forlorn army of hungry volunteers, destitute of a commissariat, of magazines, of a military chest, in four months conquered three armies, fought a dozen battles illustrated the history of his country with the glorious names of Lodi
, and released almost the whole of upper Italy
from the power of the Austrians?