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bitter; in his attachment to certain favorites and to certain measures of domestic policy he was immovable and defiant. It was only when his duty brought him in contact with the enemy that these imperious traits of character disappeared, and were replaced by halting timidity and weak hesitation.
It was unfortunate that the Confederate President ever made any threats of retaliation, since he had not the resolution to perform them. They had been ineffectually repeated until they had become the sneer of the enemy. But the most unfortunate consequence of the want of a proper response to the cruel assumptions of power by the North was the moral effect it had upon our own people; for it implied a certain guilt, a certain moral inferiority in the South, of which the enemy had the right to take advantage. It converted the relations between us and our foes to those of the malefactor and the constable; it depressed our sense of right; and it gave to the soldier the bitter reflection that his government cared but little for him, in that martyrdom on the gallows or captivity in dungeons with the terrors of which the enemy assailed him.
Finally, there is this to be said of the rival administrations of Richmond and Washington: that if in the former there were to be found many evidences of weakness, these, at least, were not crimes, while if in the latter there were to be seen vigor and decision, they were associated with the insolence of the reprobate and the inhumanity of the savage. If the history of the retaliation policy and other questions which we have traced, exhibits imbecility on the part of the Confederate authorities, it has this compensation: that it has inseparably connected with it a fearful record of the inhumanity and crime of the enemy.
In this conflict, which, as to goverments, was that between the weakly good and the resolutely evil, the people of the Confederacy had but little to expect from their political authorities; but it was precisely the condition in which they had much to expect from the resources of their own righteous and aroused passions.
In connection with his "peace" proclamation, the Yankee President pointed with an air of triumph to the great resources of the North for the prosecution of the war. There was an actual surplus in its treasury. While the Confederacy had
collected only one hundred millions from its tax and revenue system, the receipts of the Yankee treasury were nine hundred millions. The Yankee army was increased. The Yankee navy now numbered nearly six hundred vessels, and seventyfive of them were iron-clads or armored steamers. The Yankee political parties had accommodated their differences and no longer embarrassed the authorities at Washington. "The crisis which threatened to divide the friends of the Union is past," said Mr. Lincoln.
The Washington government had now a united people, an unexhausted treasury, enlarged military resources, and a confidence more insolent than ever.
Richmond, in December, 1863, was a sombre city. An air of gloom pervaded the public offices. In Congress, Mr. Foote told his endless story of official corruption and imbecility, and had his savage jokes on "the pepper-doctor from North Carolina," who governed the commissariat of the Confederacy. There were no social gaieties, although disreputable balls and gambling "hells" still amused those immoral mobs, at all times inseparable from a metropolis. In the streets there was the perpetual juggle of bargain and sale, apparently unconscious of the war, simply because engrossed in individual avarice; the clatter of the auction sales; the levity of the thoroughfare. But there was the seriousness of anxiety, if not the gloom of despair, in the home, in the private sanctuary, in the public office—in every place where thoughtful minds contemplated the future, and looked beyond the circle of the twentyfour hours.
Washington was gay, in the mean time, not with thoughtlessness, but with exultations over the prospects of the war, and the promises of its government. Balls, "diamond" weddings, presidential levees, social parties, with splendid arrays of silks and jewels, with all the fantasy of wealth, the insolence of licentiousness, and the fashionable commerce of lust, amused the hours. Mr. Lincoln was jocose again. He snapped his fingers at "the rebellion." He attended the theatre nightly. This piece of human jacquerie chattered incessantly over the success of his schemes. The Northern newspapers indulged the almost immediate prospect of a peace, which was to irradiate the Yankee arms, humiliate the South, and open the door
to the prosperity of the conquerors in an indiscriminate plunder, and the lasting vassalage of the vanquished. The New York Herald declared, that even if this event did not happen in the festivities of the Christmas season of 1863, it would certainly be celebrated in the early part of the ensuing year. Intelligent men of the South, understood the approaching issues. The war was to be prosecuted by the North with certain important accessions to its former advantages; and, on the side of the South, there was a demand for a new measure of that devotion in the minds of the people, which wins success on unequal terms-and without which all expedients of States, all violence of legislation, and all commands of authority are utterly in vain.
The Importance of the Winter Campaigns of the War.-A Series of Remarkable Events. Encouragement of the Confederacy.-ROSSER'S RAID.-A Magnificent Prize.-PICKETT'S EXPEDITION AGAINST NEWBERN.-The Fight on Bachelor's Creek.Destruction of the Yankee Gunboat "Underwriter."--The Brilliant Exploit of Commander Wood.-Results of the Expedition.--THE AFFAIR OF JOHN'S ISLAND.-General Wise's Fight.-The Battle of OCEAN POND.-History of the Yankee Expeditions into Florida.-Lincoln's Designs upon Florida.-Their Utter Defeat.-Political Jugglery of Seymour's Expedition.--Price of "Three Electoral Votes."--SHERMAN'S EXPEDITION IN THE SOUTHWEST.-What it Contemplated.-Grant's Extensive Designs.-The Strategic Triangle.-Grant's Proposed Removal of the Mississippi River.-Polk's Retreat into Alabama.-Forrest's Heroic Enterprise.-His Defeat of Smith's and Grierson's Columns.-Sherman's Retreat to Vicksburg.-His Disgraceful Failure.-The Yankee Campaign in the West Disconcerted.--The Lines in North Georgia.-Repulse of the Yankees.
So far in the history of the war, the winter had been comparatively an uninteresting period. That of 1863-64 was not an exception to this observation. But although there was, in this period, no battles on the dominant military lines in Virginia and North Georgia, there was a series of remarkable events, running through several months, each one a marked success for the Confederacy, and, collectively, an important sum of victory which did much to raise the hopes of the Confederacy and relieve the dark days in which the year 1863 had expired. These events transpired at considerable distances from each other, and they have no other connection than a chronological one, and their singular concurrence in uniform success. In this connection we shall treat them.
On the 30th of January, a brilliant expedition of General Rosser in the Valley district culminated in the capture of a train of ninety-three wagons loaded with commissary stores and forage on the way from New Creek to Petersburg, and was prosecuted in a few days thereafter to a most unexpected and gratifying
success. The incidents of this expedition were of unusual in
For several months past the enemy had kept a garrison at the village of Petersburg, in Hardy county, as an outpost to their defences of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Petersburg was some forty-two miles from New Creek, their principal depot for supplies and operations.
General Early, who had lingered in the Valley since the Averill raid, concluded to go over and capture this party at Petersburg, numbering about one thousand, and strongly fortified. He sent General Rosser's brigade (cavalry) and four pieces of McClannahan's battery (Imboden's command) through Brock's Gap, and pushed on himself with Thomas's brigade of infantry from New Market, by Orkney Springs, to the same destination-Moorefield, in Hardy. Moorefield is between Petersburg and the railroad, eleven miles from the former place. Rosser and the artillery arrived first. The plan was for Early to remain with the infantry at Moorefield, preventing the enemy's escape to the railroad by that route, while Rosser passed over Patterson Creek mountain -fifteen miles across-and took position on the turnpike leading from Petersburg to New Creek. When Rosser reached Moorefield he learned that the road from that place across Patterson Creek mountain to the turnpike had been blockaded by felling numberless trees and cutting away the road itself. He also learned that a large train of wagons were coming up from New Creek to Petersburg, heavily guarded by infantry. He started across the mountain with his brigade and the four pieces. In the gap he met one or two hundred of the enemy, perfecting the blockade and guarding the pass. They were charged by the Twelfth cavalry and fled. The pioneers went to work heartily. Never did axes fly more rapidly. The train was near the point on the turnpike opposite the mouth of the gap. If it passed that place, the probability was of its escape within the breastworks at Petersburg, which was only ten miles distant. The fortifications were strong, and the chances were against the capture of this place, being reinforced by the wagon guard. In an hour the obstructions were cleared away, and the horsemen and cannon rushed into the turnpike, and saw, with exultation, a long line of snowy-covered wagons