On to Richmond — speech of Mr. Gurley on the army bill.
We publish extracts from the speech of Mr. Gurley
, of Ohio
, on the ‘"forward movement,"’ delivered in the House of Representatives, at Washington
, on the 29th of January:
, (Rep.,) of Ohio
, said it was useless to attempt to disguise a fact now almost everywhere recognized, that we must have a more active and practical war policy in Congress, in the Cabinet
, but more especially in the field, or we might prepare for a foreign and domestic war of several years' duration.
Proceeding as at present with our military campaign, it would be no strange thing to have the ‘"Southern Confederacy"’ acknowledged by foreign Powers, and our Government would then stand before the civilized world humiliated and disgraced — Our army had long been ready, and our soldiers were burning and panting for the battle-field.
We had earnestly cast about for a bold and daring leader, ready for the great contest, and it was painful to confess at this late day, that the country had looked in vain for a Commander-in Chief
exhibiting the will and the requisite enterprise and genius to lead our forces on to victory.
He asked what stood in the way of meeting the enemy?
Was it the fear that somebody would be hurt, or did the ghost of Bull Run
hover above the minds of our commanding Generals
We had lost more men by disease and sickness during the last five months than we should have probably lost in half-a-dozen general engagements, and hundreds of millions of money had been spent, and one of the largest armies of the world gathered to remain comparatively idle, and become weak and demoralized by inactivity.
If we desired the respect of our own people, and the moral support of the world, we would strike out boldly for victory, and trust to good powder, strong arms, to well aimed guns, and to God.
It would be better to meet with occasional reverses than to remain inactive.
If we did not fight with justice, right, and human freedom on our side, our people would become discouraged, the Treasury bankrupt, and the Government
brought into contempt.
Did a General stand in the way to hold in check more than half a million of men, take him out of the way, give his place to another, if there be no other remedy.
, of themselves, are nothing in this contest, when thrown into the balance against the honor and integrity of the Union
If the angel Gabriel
commanded our forces, and failed to march against the enemy, he would petition to the court to which he holds allegiance for his instant dismissal.
This war had reached a point where kid gloves
, pleasant words, and gilded promise were of no use. The hour demanded hard words and harder blows.
This contest must close either in the ruin of a republic that has been the admiration of the world, and possibly the destruction of civil and religious freedom in America
, or in the perfect supremacy of law and order and the stability of our institutions.
He had faith in the latter result, for revolutions move the world forward — never backward.
He asked the Clerk
to read a striking article from the Richmond Dispatch
showing up our military blunders.
Its truth-fulness, he said, could not be denied.
We had let slip golden opportunities for crushing this rebellion, and of achieving brilliant victories.
The great cause of dissatisfaction among our troops was that they were not permitted to strike at the rebels.
He preferred no charges against the Commander in Chief
; but, in his judgment, the man did not live who could successfully command six hundred thousand men, scattered over a territory of two thousand miles. Yet the destiny of this republic had long hung upon the volition of the will of a single man. No other Government invested its Generals
with such unlimited authority.
No man had been found great enough to use the supreme command of even three hundred thousand soldiers.
A part of the tremendous burden thrown upon the shoulders of our young General should be removed, and divided so as to call out the best energies of the best officers, and secure general unity of action.
Thus far our commanders have been the victims of some fixed, unalterable plan, the fruit of one mind, which plan had accomplished but one marked result.
It had prevented five hundred thousand men from attempting precisely what they came together to accomplish — that was, to fight and whip the enemy.
The very men who must receive the shock of battle were those who complained most of inactivity.
He said that if the question were left to them ten out of twelve would say there had been no necessity for the delay of the past four months. He revealed no secret when he stated that the great plan was to strike at all points.
It was a simple impossibility that every arrangement was to be made in Missouri
, and Virginia
, so that as by a single click of the clock all would rush upon the enemy at once, and crush the rebellion at a single blow.
He had it from authority, and it could not be questioned, that some three weeks ago from ten to fifteen thousand Confederates in the neighborhood of Romney
were virtually in the power of a division of our army, numbering about forty thousand. General Lander
sent a messenger to General Kelly
, saying, in substance, ‘"Join me;"’ and Gen. Kelly
, without the knowledge of such a messenger, sent one of his own bearing a similar message.
Meanwhile one of these Generals
telegraphed to General Banks
to advance on one side, while he advanced from the other; but unfortunately they telegraphed at the same time to head-quarters in reference to what was going on, when an answer came in the form of an order not to ‘"advance,"’ accompanied with a reprimand for even any suggestion of the kind.--That a battle would have sadly broken in upon some great plan, was quite probable.
It might have finished the ‘"great anaconda,"’ as the newspapers have expressed it. But it must not be forgotten that the mammoth reptile that was to draw within his folds and crush the rebellion at a single sweep of his tail, had already swallowed up our contemplated victories and gorged himself with the substance of the people to no purpose.