Lessons from history.
The Atlanta Confederacy
has an interesting article on the lessons of history as applicable to this war. After complimenting Vicksburg
for its tenacious courage, it says:
There are others of our cities to be attacked this winter.
, and Mobile
, will feel in their turn the power of the enemy.
How will they meet it?
Will they resist to the death, or will they surrender?
One thing is certain: they have had time and means to make themselves impregnable.
It has been possible so to girdle them with fortifications that a small force could defend them against a host.
If they fall, it must be either by the timidity of their defenders, or neglect, or want of skill in the military authorities.
The country will so regard it.
There can, however, we trust, be no fears of the result.
It is scarcely possible to conceive that anything has been neglected which ought to have been done.
There is every reason to believe that our brave troops will defend these cherished cities to the last gasp.
One thing they ought to do which has not been done.
They should call back their absentees or refugees.
The communities in which they have found a covert should assist them.
A crushing scorn should over whelm the able bodied man who flees from an imperilled city of which he is a native or a citizen, or in which he has accumulated health.--In such a case no age or calling constitutes an exemption.
Let the word refugee,
when applied to such, become infamous.
To stimulate to a heroic defence of these important cities, it may be useful to refer to that which has been done elsewhere in like circumstances.
The history of one republic is rich in instances of heroic defence of cities.
Reference is made to the Netherlands during the lifetime of William of Orange
, a hero who deserves to be placed by the side of Washington
There are strong points of resemblance between the rise of the Dutch
Republic and that of our own Confederacy.
The contest between Holland
was most unequal.
The latter had the largest and best army in the world — veteran troops, trained by Charles and commanded by that great General, the Duke
The former had no organized army.
Its population was small; its resources limited; its territory insignificant.
Yet for eighty years it waged war with the most potent empire upon earth and during the progress of the struggle became "a mighty State, binding about its own slender form a zone of the richest possessions of earth from pole to tropic; finally dictating its decrees to the Empire
The parallel is clear thus far — our enemy outnumbers us in men and exceeds us in resources, as did Spain
Why shall not the parallel continue?
Whether we fight him eight years or eighty years, what shall prevent our growth during the struggle to a great nation?
Again the Netherlands fought their powerful enemy without assistance.
They sought it, but in vain.
They sought it from France
; but France
, and feared Spain
, and considered the contest hopeless.
Similarity in religious opinion gave a right to expect assistance from England
was struggling for civil as well as religious liberty, and therefore the despotic, though Protestant Elizabeth
, refused assistance.
Alone these brave Hollanders fought out that weary war, and alone they conquered a peace.
We have weakly sought assistance from these two same Powers.
It has been refused us. We also, alone, must fight this weary war, and alone we shall conquer a peace.
The designs of their enemy were the same as the designs of ours.
The purpose of Spain
was the absolute subjugation of the rebellions provinces.--Its intention was "to crush out the rebellion." The following is the language of Philip: "But if ye disregard those offers of mercy, receiving them with closed ears as heretofore, then we warn you that there is no rigor, nor cruelty however great, while you are to expect, by laying waste, starvation and the sword, in such manner that nowhere shall remain a relic of that which at present exists; but His Majesty will strip bare and utterly depopulate the land, and cause it to be inhabited again by strangers; since otherwise.
His Majesty could not believe that the will of God and His Majesty had been accomplished."
How similar have been the threats which have been uttered against us. If our enemy cannot subdue us, it is their design to drive us out, and cause our homes to be occupied by strangers, without regard to race or complexion, vain purposes both in the one case and the other.
took up arms to defend her civil and religious rights.
wished to make her a submissive dependent, politically.
The doctrines of the Reformation had become established in Holland
determined to extirpate heresy, and re-established Catholicism.
She assailed the civil and religious conscience of Holland
Death was considered by the brave Dutch
as being preferable to submission.
In both particulars was Spain
The Republic was established and freedom to worship God secured.
We have taken up arms to secure our civil and religious rights.
The Union was perverted from its purposes, so that it became a benefit to others and an injury to us, and we determined to leave it.--Coercion was threatened and we resisted it. Hence this war is as clearly a war for natural rights as that of the Dutch
This is a war, also, on our own part, for conscience sake.
In this respect, we are misunderstood.
But the mistakes of others do not affect that which we hold to be truth.
God has made us the curators of an inferior and dependent race.
A blind fanaticism would disturb their present happy position.
Such a change as that which it proposes, would not only destroy the structure of civil society, but would disorganize every religious institution, put out the light of the Gospel, and overwhelm both races in a common ruin.
If we were disposed tamely to yield our civil rights, we must, with them, abandon those sacred interests which are most dear to the human heart.
We fight for religious as well as civil liberty, and in a contest for these interests death is preferable to defeat.
Whether the parallel is to be continued in the length of the two wars, no human sagacity can determine.
That it will be a long and wearisome one, it requires no particular foresight to determine.
Our present glorious successes will but inflame our enemy.
He can put two millions of men into the field.
It is the impression of the writer that he will not abandon this struggle until he is fairly assured that he cannot bring a third element into it — an element now the source of our strength.
It will take time to assure him of failure.
But be that time long or short, if we do our duty there can be no doubt as to the result.
But we must do our duty — every man must do it; for before this war ends the services of every man will be required.