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could, within two years, have wrecked its credit with its own people, unless by the most ignorant trifling with great questions and the childish management of its treasury.
At an early period of the war it had been our boast that we had spent only fifteen millions, while the Yankees had spent ten or fifteen times that amount. But we find that the debt of the general government of the Confederate States in January last was $556,000,000, with the prospect, at the current rate of expenditure, that it would reach nine hundred millions by the close of the fiscal year on the first of July; and it is curious to observe what miscalculations were made of public debt both in the North and in the South. The newspapers of the two nations flourished the estimates of their debt in enumerations only of the obligations of the general government of each, and made complacent comparisons of these sums with the debts of European governments. But according to the estimates of Europe, and the calculations of plain reason, the true volume of the debt of each of these nations was represented not only by what was owed by the Richmond and Washington governments, but by the aggregate amount of the indebtedness of the several States composing each confederation. Here could be the only true and just measure of the national debt of either the South or the North, in comparison with the debts of other governments, to which the system of the division of powers between a central authority and State! was unknown. The debt of each member of the Southern Confederacy, as well as that of a central authority, was a burden on the nation, for the problem of its payment was at last to resolve itself into a tax upon the people. It is only by a calculation of these aggregates that just comparisons could be made between our financial condition and that of the North or European nations; and although such comparisons on our side were to the disadvantage of our enemies, yet they exhibited facts which were unpleasant enough to ourselves.
The law of impressment enacted by Congress affords the evidence of the scarcity of supplies in the South. The ques. tion of food with that of finance divided the attention of the government. The grain-growing and provision-raising coontry, which stretches from the Potomac at Harper's Ferry to Memphis on the Tennessee, was now exhausted of its provj
sions. Much of the productive portions of North Carolina and the Gulf States had been also exhausted. The great and true source of meat supply, the State of Kentucky, which contained more hogs and cattle, two or three to one, than were left in all the South besides, had fallen into the undivided possession of the Yankees. The general scarcity of all sorts of supplies was attested by the high prices of every thing eatable. The advance in prices induced by the scarcity of supplies, was still further enormously enhanced by the greedy commercial speculation which distressed the South, and threw a shadow of dishonor upon the moral aspects of our struggle.
It is a subject of extraordinary remark, that the struggle for our independence should have been attended by the ignoble circumstances of a commercial speculation in the South unparalleled in its heartlessness and selfish greed. War invariably excites avarice and speculation; it is the active promoter of rapid fortunes and corrupt commercial practices. But it is a matter of surprise that more than an ordinary share of this bad, avaricious spirit should have been developed in the South during a war which involved the national existence, which presented so many contrasts of heroic self-sacrifice, and which was adorned with exhibitions of moral courage and devotion such as the world had seldom seen.
But of this social and moral contradiction in our war for independence, some explanation may be offered. It may, in some measure, be found in three facts: first, that a distrust of the national currency prevailed in the country; secondly, that the initiative (for it is the first steps in speculation which are more responsible) was made by Jews and foreign adventurers who everywhere infested the Confederacy; and thirdly, that the fever of gain was greatly inflamed by the corruptions of the government, the abuse of its pecuniary patronage, and a system of secret contract, in which officials who were dishonest shared the profits, and those who were incompetent were easily overreached in the negotiation. The only serious blot which defaced our strnggle for independence was, at least to some extent, the creature of circumstances; and that is lost to the eye of humane and enlightened history in the lustre of arms and virtues slied on the South in the most sublime trials
of the war.
Character of Military Events of the Spring of 1863.-Repulse of the Enemy at Fort McAllister.-THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.-The Yazoo Pass Expedition.-Confederate Success at Fort Pemberton.-The Enemy's Canals, or "Cut-offs."-Their Failure.— BOMBARDMENT OF PORT HUDSON.-Destruction of "The Mississippi."-A Funeral Pyre.-Happy Effects of our Victory.-A Review of the line of inland Hostilities.-Hooker's hesitation on the Rappahannock.-The Assignment of Confederate commands west of the Mississippi.-The Affair of Kelly's Ford.-Death of Major Pelham.-NAVAL ATTACK ON CHARLESTON.-Destruction of "The Keokuk."-Scenery of the Bombardment.-Extent of the Confederate Success.-Events in Tennessee and Kentucky.-Pegram's Reverse.-The Situation of Hostilities at the close of April, 1862.
ALTHOUGH but little is to be found of a decisive character in the military events of the Spring of 1862, there was yet a series of interesting occurrences which went far to prove the inefficiency of the most boasted naval structures of the enemy, and the progress we had made in defensive works on the lines of our harbors and the banks of our rivers.
The first of these may be mentioned as the repulse of the enemy at Fort McAllister on the 3d of March. This fort is on the outer line of the defences of Savannah. Off the Georgia coast, and eighteen miles to the southward of the Savannahı river, is Ossabaw sound. Into this sound flows the Ogechee river, a stream navigable some distance up-some thirty miles -to vessels of a larger class. On the Ogechee river, four miles above the sound, is situate Fort McAllister. The fort stands on the mainland, directly on the river bank, and commands the river for a mile and a half or two miles.
The attack of the enemy on this fort was made with three iron-clads and two mortar-boats. The result of a whole day's bombardment was, that one gun was dismounted, but the fort remained uninjured, and no loss of life was sustained on our side. The iron-clad Montauk was struck with solid shot eventy-one times, and was lifted clear out of the water by the explosion of a torpedo under her bow, but the Yankees stated that she was not seriously injured. Indeed, they de clared that the whole affair was nothing more than an experi mentum crucis, to ascertain the power of their new iron-clads
to resist cannon shot, and that the result of the encounter was all that they had hoped. If the enemy was pleased with the
. result, the Confederates had certainly no reason to dispute his satisfaction, as long as they had the solid gratification of hav ing resisted a bombardınent of eight hours, without injury to their works or the loss of a single life.
While the enemy menaced the seaboard, he bad found another theatre for his naval power on the waters of the Mississippi river. His operations there were even more important than those on our sea lines, for they were an essential part of the campaign in the West. In fact, Vicksburg was for a long time the point on which depended the movements in Tennessee and the resolution of the great crisis in the West.
THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.
The siege of Vicksburg furnishes a most remarkable instance of the industry and physical perseverance of the Yankees. Ever since December, 1862, they had been busily engaged in the attempt to circumvent our defences, even to the extremity of forcing our internal navigation of swampy lagoons and obstructed creeks for a distance of four hundred and fifty miles.
The enemy's operations in other directions kept him quiet directly in front of Vicksburg, but his purpose was all the same—the capture and occupation of the place. The enemy had three distinct projects for compassing the capture of Vicksburg: First, the canal across the isthmus opposite the city; secondly, the project of getting through the Yazoo Pass; third, the Lake Providence canal project. It had been ail the time the principal aim of the Yankees to get in the rear or below Vicksburg. Their present plan, and one on, which they were now at work, was to get through the Yazoo Pass, in the hope of getting in our rear and cutting off our supplies. Their idea was to flank Vicksburg, capture Jackson, cut off Grenada, and destroy all possibility of our obtaining supplies throughout that rich country, by this one bold stroke.
The route mapped out by the Yankees commences near Yelena, Arkansas, where the Yazoo Pass connects the Mis. sissippi with the Coldwater river, through Moon lake. The distance from the Mississippi to the Coldwater, by this pass, is about twenty miles-a very narrow and tortuous channel, only navigable when the Mississippi is quite high and its waters overflow the low lands of this region. The Coldwater river empties into the Tallahatchie, and the Tallahatchie into the Yazoo. The whole distance by this route from the Mississippi to the mouth of the Yazoo, in the neighborhood of Vicksburg, is some five hundred miles, and over one-half of it, or to the mouth of the Tallahatchie, it is easily obstructed. The Yankees met with no obstruction on their ascent of the Tallahatchie, except the overgrowth and tortuousness of the streain —which prevented the gunboats, in some instances, from making more than three and four miles a day—until reaching the mouth of the Tallahatchie, or its neighborhood, where they encountered the batteries known as Fort Pemberton, which stood as the barrier against the entrance of their fleet into the Yazoo river, formed by the confluence of the Tallahatchie and Yalabusha rivers.
This fort was nothing more than an indented line of earthworks, composed of cotton bales and mud, thrown up on the neck of a bend of the Tallahatchie river, where the river was only two hundred and fifty yards wide. The site was selected by Major-gen. Loring as the best position on the Yazoo or Tallabatchie river.
It was here, on the 13th of March, that the Yazoo expedition was intercepted and driven back by our batteries, which achieved a splendid victory over the Yankee gunboats. The Yalabusha river unites with the Tallahatchie in the bend, forming the Yazoo, so that the right flank of our works rested upon the Tallahatchie, and the left upon the Yazoo, both, however, being really the same stream. The left flank was opposite Greenwood, which is situated on the east side of the Yazoo. The Tallahatchie, under the guns of the fort, was obstructed by an immense raft, behind which the Star of the West was sunk in the channel. The intervention of the point above the bend masked the whole of our line except the left, upon which, consequently, the fire of the enemy's boats was directed. The fire was terrific, uninterrupted for four hours, from ten to sixteen heavy calibre guns on guinboats, two heavy