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TWO CAUSES OF FAILURE.
But it may be said here generally that against the vast superiority of the North in material resources and in the apparatus of war, the South had a set-off in certain advantages, not appreciable perhaps by superficial observers, but which constitute a most important element in a true historical estimate of the match between the two belligerents. The coarse popular opinion in the North was that the superiority of numbers would give it an overwhelming preponderance of strength. But something more than numbers makes armies; and war is not a duel, a single contest despatched according to an established routine. The South had a superiour animation in the war. She stood on the defensive; and should thus have been able to put against the invading force two enemies: the opposing army and the people. She had, also, on her side one single advantage which should have been decisive of the contest-an advantage which no numbers could really surmount, or skill effectively circumvent. That advantage was space. It had been the victor in many former wars. When Napoleon invaded Russia, he won battles, he obtained the very object of his march; but space defeated him--the length of the march from Warsaw to Moscow ruined him. When Great Britain attempted to subdue only that part of America that borders the Atlantic, space defeated her; her armies took the principal cities, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond; but victories were barren of result, the Continental troops, dispersed in the country, were easily re-assembled, the lines of military occupation existed only on paper, and the process of conquest became one of hopeless repetition, and was at last abandoned in despair.
In an intelligent view of the precedents of history it might safely be predicted that the South, fighting on its own soil, and for it, and occupying a territory of more than 728,000 square miles in extent, and in which the natural features of the country, in mountain, river, and swamp, were equivalent to successive lines of fortification, would be victor in the contest, however unequally matched in men and the material of war, unless the management of her affairs should become insane, or her people lose the virtue of endurance.
MR. LINCOLN'S REMARK ABOUT THE WOLF.-HIS DESIGNS UPON VIRGINIA.-FEDERAL OCCUPATION OF ALEXANDRIA.-TRAGEDY AT THE MARSHALL HOUSE.-JACKSON, THE MARTYR.— THE AFFAIR OF GREAT BETHEL.-EASY VICTORY OF THE CONFEDERATES.—EXAGGERATIONS OF SOUTHERN NEWSPAPERS.-APPARENT LULL OF HOSTILITIES.-NEW DEMONSTRATIONS OF PUBLIC OPINION IN THE NORTH.-FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AT WASHINGTON.POPULAR CLAMOUR AGAINST PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND GEN. SCOTT.-EARLY INDICATIONS OF THE REAL OBJECTS OF THE WAR. THE RIGHTS OF HUMANITY.-VIRGINIA THE GREAT THEATRE OF THE WAR.-THE GRAND ARMY OF THE NORTH.-CONSULTATION OF PRESIDENT DAVIS AND BEAUREGARD AND LEE.—BEAUREGARD'S LINE OF DEFENCE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.-SKETCH OF GENERAL BEAUREGARD.-HIS PERSON AND MANNERS.-HIS OPINION OF THE YANKEE.—THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC AND THE ARMY OF THE SHENANDOAH.
GEN. JOHNSTON'S EVACUATION OF HARPER'S FERRY. STONEWALL " JACKSON'S FIRST
AFFAIR WITH THE ENEMY.-JOHNSTON AMUSING THE ENEMY.-AFFAIR OF RICH MOUNTAIN.—MCCLELLAN'S MARCH INTO NORTHWESTERN VIRGINIA.-ROSECR ANS' CAPTURE OF THE CONFEDERATE FORCE ON RICH MOUNTAIN.-RETREAT OF THE CONFEDERATES FROM LAUREL HILL.-DEATH OF GEN. GARNETT.-EXTENT OF THE DISASTER TO THE CONFEDERATES.-THE GRAND ARMY ADVANCING ON MANASSAS.-JOHNSTON'S MOVEMENT TO BEAUREGARD'S LINE.—THE BATTLE OF MANASSAS.—THE AFFAIR OF 18TH JULY. STREET'S GALLANT DEFENCE. THEATRE OF THE GREAT BATTLE.-BEAUREGARD'S CHANGE OF PURPOSE, AND HIS PLAN OF BATTLE-THE STONE BRIDGE.—THE BIG FOREST."-THE CONFEDERATES FLANKED.—THE DAY APPARENTLY LOST FOR THEM. THE SCENE AT THE HENRY HOUSE. — TIMELY ARRIVAL OF JACKSON.-GEN. BEAUREGARD DISCONCERTED.-RIDE FROM THE HILL TO THE HENRY HOUSE.—THE BATTLE RESTORED. THE BLOODY PLATEAU. -THREE STAGES IN THE BATTLE.-THE LAST EFFORT OF THE ENEMY.-THE STRANGE FLAG.-ARRIVAL OF KIRBY SMITH.-THE GRAND AND FINAL CHARGE.-ROUT AND PANIC OF THE ENEMY.—THE FEARFUL RACE TO THE POTOMAC.-SCENES OF THE RETREAT.— FAILURE OF THE CONFEDERATES TO PURSUE, OR TO ADVANCE UPON WASHINGTON.—A LOST
SOME weeks after the secession of Virginia, Mr. Lincoln is said to have remarked that he "would soon get the wolf by the ears." He probably meant in this figure of the backwoodsman that he would soon secure the two important passages into Virginia: that along the Orange and Alexandria and Central Railroads towards Richmond, and that along the water avenue of the James.
TRAGEDY AT THE MARSHALL HOUSE.
On the 24th of May Alexandria was occupied by the Federals, the Virginia forces evacuating the town, and falling back towards Manassas Junction. The invasion was accomplished under the cover of night. It was attended by an incident which gave a lesson to the enemy of the spirit he was to encounter, and furnished the first instance of individual martyrdom in the war. On one of the hotels of the town, the Marshall House, there was a Confederate flag flying. The proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Jackson, captain of an artillery company in his town, had deliberately declared that under any circumstances he would defend that flag with his life, and had been deaf to the advice of his neighbours not to make his house, by this display, a sign for the enemy's attack. The flag could be seen from a window of the White House in Washington. As a company of Fire Zouaves, at the head of which was Col. Ellsworth, a protégé of Mr. Lincoln, entered the town in the gray of the morning, their commander swore that he would have the flag as his especial prize. He was attended in his adventure by a squad of his men. Having found his way into the hotel, he got through a trap-door to its top, where he secured the obnoxious ensign; but descending the ladder he found facing him a single man in his shirt sleeves, with a double-barrel gun in his hands. "Here is my trophy," exclaimed Ellsworth, displaying the flag on his arm. "And you are mine," replied Jackson, as he quickly raised his gun, and discharged its contents into the breast of the exultant Federal. Another moment and the brave Virginian was stretched by the side of his antagonist a lifeless corpse; for one of Ellsworth's men had sped a bullet through his brain, and another had thrust a bayonet into his breast as he was in the act of falling.
In the low country of Virginia, in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe, an affair occurred on the 10th of June, which, though it is not to be ranked as a decisive engagement, was certainly a serious and well-timed check to the enemy in this direction. A Federal column, exceeding four thousand men, moved out from Fortress Monroe in the direction of Great Bethel, a church which stood about nine miles on the road leading south from Hampton. The position here had been entrenched by Gen. J. B. Magruder, who had in his command about eighteen hundred men. It was designed by the enemy to attack the Confederates in their front, while another portion of the column should cross the creek, which ran here, some distance below, and attempt to get into the Confederate work through a gorge which was supposed to be open. The attack in front was easily repulsed, as the Federals never dared to advance from the woods which obscured their position; and when the 1st North Carolina Regiment was ordered forward, the enemy actually broke before this small force got within sixty yards of their position. The column that had crossed the creek advanced with cheers, supposing that they had turned the Confed
erate position; but a volley of musketry put them to flight, and the officer who led them, Major Winthrop, was killed by the bullet of a North Carolina rifleman, as he in vain attempted to rally his men to the charge. The loss of the Confederates in this affair was one man killed and seven wounded; that of the enemy, by their own acknowledgment, was thirty killed and more than one hundred wounded. In the little experience of war on both sides the action of Bethel was rated as a famous battle, and was paraded through many columns of the newspapers. The cotemporary estimate of its importance is ludicrous enough in the light of subsequent events, and in comparison with those monuments of carnage, which were hereafter to appear on the fields of Virginia.
The comparative pause of warlike excitement after the affair of Bethel, and the apparent lull of hostilities, while, in fact, both Governments were making active preparations for the contest, was marked by some interesting demonstrations of public opinion in the North. It might have been noticed in this time, that public attention in the North was measurably turned from military movements to the financial aspects of the war, and to the provisions which the Northern Congress was so soon to be called upon to make, in order to meet present exigencies. A considerable portion of the Northern press appeared to show the same diversion of attention; and their tone might have been noticed to have become decidedly more healthy and prudent in leaving for a time the grosser excitements of war to ponder the vital concerns of the debts, taxes, burdens, and losses consequent upon hostilities.
Some time ago, an ominous growl from Wall street had reached the ear of the Government at Washington. The discontent had since slowly and steadily manifested itself. Combinations were spoken of among Northern capitalists to terminate the war; to grant no more loans or aids to the Government; and to overrule the programme of the politicians at Washington by the superiour power of their money and their commercial interest. The estimates of the Government had indeed become frightful. The cost of the war was rated at ten million dollars a week. Besides this, Congress was to be called upon to make a current annual appropriation for ordinary expenditures and interest on the debt, of at least one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, which indispensable estimate-however the war might be pushed for a time on credit—there could be no possible way of meeting unless by modes of direct taxation, in income taxes, excises, etc. The Northern Government had the most serious reasons to distrust the Wall street combination, and to put itself out of the power of capitalists, who were plainly aggrieved by the prospect, that was now being steadily developed, of a long and expensive war. A Cabinet council was called, and Mr. Secretary Chase proposed a new plan of national loan. It was to make a direct appeal to the people to provide means for the
OBJECTS OF THE WAR UNMASKED.
prosecution of the war. Outside of the Cabinet, at whose board the plan was reported to have been well received, it met with the most strenuous objections.
In these distresses and embarrassments of the Government, the bellicose elements of the North, resenting all prospects of peace, became more exacting than ever, and even accusatory of the authorities at Washington. The more violent New York papers demanded a vigorous military movement on the part of the Government before the meeting of Congress. They accused the Administration of supineness of policy and uncertainty of purpose; and they, even, did not hesitate to charge that the President and his Cabinet were conniving with "the rebels," and had consented to become parties to a negotiation for peace. These heated and ungenerous expressions did not stop here. Personalities were freely indulged in. The President was vilely abused for not having recalled Mr. Harvey, the minister to Portugal, because he had corresponded with the South Carolina authorities during Mr. Buchanan's administration; and Gen. Scott, who was sacrificing for the Northern objects of the war, all that remained to him of the years and honours of a long life, was not spared from an atrocious libel charging him with having offered premiums to "treason in procuring the restoration to the United States service and the promotion to a lieutenant-colonelcy of Major Emory, a Marylander, who had formerly resigned his command on the Indian frontier.
These dissatisfied utterances, although they may have been but little annoying, personally, to the Government, were significant of other most. serious troubles to be apprehended in the conduct of the war. They gave evidence of a sentiment in the North, at once fanatical and formidable, resolved to push the war beyond the avowed objects of the Government, and to resist any termination of it short of the excision or abolition of slavery in the South. This sentiment had, in fact, already become clamorous and exacting. A war short of the abolition of slavery was denounced as a farce, and its mission of defending the Union was openly exchanged in the mouths of fanatics for that of achieving "the rights of humanity."
In the mean time indications were obvious enough of the common intention of the belligerents to make the first great battles of the war in Virginia. Here was to open the first great chapter of Carnage-on a theatre at once wide and brilliant ;-filled with the array of armies of two powerful peoples, which brought from their wealth and long seasons of prosperity all that could invest war with destructive power and dramatic display ;-occupying a territory noble and inspired in historical memories -the name of which," Virginia," had ever been a word of magic pride throughout the breadth and length of a continent;-and engaging in the issues of its imposing drama the liberties, or, at least, the independence of more than eight millions of men.