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grossed with the publie enemy, either to replace their authority or to chastise their excesses. It is under these peculiar restraints that the Confederacy has produced such little political novelty in this war.
But the revolution is not yet past. Those exalted historical inspirations, which, with rapt souls and kindled blood, we read in the printed pages of the past, are this day, with trumpet sound, at our doors. We live in great times; we are in the presence of great events; we stand in the august theatre of a national tragedy. This struggle cannot pass away, until the great ideas, which the public danger alone holds in abeyance, have found a full development and a complete realization; until the South vindicates her reputation for political science and eliminates from this war a system of government more ingenious than a Chinese copy of Washington.
But while we thus reflect upon the intellectual barrenness of this war, we must not forget that, while the Confederacy in this time has produced but few new ideas, it has brought out troops of virtues. In this respect, the moral interest of the war is an endless theme for the historian; and we may be pardoned for leaving our immediate subject to say a few words of those fields of grandeur in which the Confederacy has found compensation for all other short-comings, and stands most conspicuous before the world.
We have put into the field soldiers such as the world has seldom seen-men who, half-clothed and half-fed, have, against superior numbers, won two-thirds of the battles of this war. The material of the Confederate army, in social worth, is simply superior to all that is related in the military annals of mankind. Men of wealth, men accustomed to the fashions of polite society, men who had devoted their lives to learned professions and polished studies, have not hesitated to shoulder their muskets and fight as privates in the ranks with the hard-fisted and uncouth laborer, no less a patriot than themselves. Our army presents to the world, perhaps, the only example of theoretical socialism reduced to practice it has ever seen, and realizes, at least in respect of defensive arms, the philosopher's dream of fraternal and sympathetic equality.
The hero of this war is the private soldier: not the officer whose dress is embroidered with lace, and whose name gar
nishes the gazette, but the humble and honest patriot of the South in his dirt-stained and sweat-stained clothes, who toils through pain and hunger and peril; who has no reward but in the satisfaction of good deeds; who throws his poor, unknown life away at the cannon's mouth, and dies in that single flash of glory. How many of these heroes have been laid in unmarked ground-the nameless graves of self-devotion. But the ground where they rest is in the sight of Heaven. Nothing kisses their graves but the sunlight; nothing mourns for them but the sobbing wind; nothing adorns their dust but the wild flowers that have grown on the bloody crust of the battlefield. But not a Southern soldier has fallen in this war without the account of Heaven, and Death makes its registry of the pure and the brave on the silver pages of immortal life.
It is said that some of our people in this war have cringed beneath disaster, and compromised with misfortune. These are exceptions: they may be sorrowful ones. But in this war the people of the Confederacy, in the mass, have shown a fortitude, an elasticity under reverse, a temperance in victory, a self-negation in misfortune, a heroic, hopeful, patient, enduring, working resolution, which challenge the admiration of the world. It is not only material evils which have been thus endured the scourge of tyranny, the bitterness of exile, the dregs of poverty. But the most beautiful circumstance of all is the strange resignation of our people in that worst trial and worst agony of war-the consignment of the living objects of their love to the bloody altars of sacrifice. These are the real horrors of war, and patriotism has no higher tribute to pay than the brave and uncomplaining endurance of such agony.
How have we been resigned in this war to the loss of our loved ones! How many noble sorrows are in our hearts! How many skeletons are in our closets! War may ruin and rifle the homestead; may scatter as chaff in the wind the prop erty of years; may pronounce the doom of exile-but all these are paltry afflictions in comparison with the bereavement of kindred, whose blood has been left on the furze of the field and the leaves of the forest, and whose uncoffined bones are scattered to the elements.
The virtues and passions of the South in this war are not idle sentimentalisms. They are the precursors of new and illus
trious ideas-the sure indications of a new political growth. In the warmth of such passions are born noble and robust ideas. Thus we await the development of this war in ideas, in political structures, in laws, which will honor it, and for which we shall not unduly pay the dreadful price of blood.
It is impossible that a nation should have suffered as the South has in this struggle; should have adorned itself with such sacrifices; should have illustrated such virtues, to relapse, at the end, into the old routine of its political existence. We have not poured out our tears-we have not made a monument of broken hearts-we have not kneaded the ground with human flesh, merely for the poor negative of a peace, with nought higher or better than things of the past. Not so does nature recompense the martyrdom of individuals or of nations: it pronounces the triumph of resurrection.
We believe that a new name is to be inscribed in the Pantheon of history; not that of an old idolatry. All now is ruin and confusion, but from the scattered elements will arise a new spirit of beauty and order. All now is dark, but the cloud will break, and in its purple gates will stand the risen Sun.
BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS.*
FIELD OF THE BATTE OF THE NY,
THE works occupied by Lee's army on the Rapidan extended on the right three miles below Raccoon ford. Ewell's corps and Hill's lay behind those defences, and stretched out on each side of Orange Court-house, along a line of twenty miles. Longstreet, having returned from Eastern Tennessee, occupied the country around Gordonsville, thirteen miles southwest of the position on the Rapidan. Such had been the disposition of the army of Northern Virginia during the latter part of April.
Grant, having declined to assail Lee's front, determined to turn it by a movement on that officer's right. He marched eastwardly from his cantonments in the country of Culpepper; and, having reached that river seven miles lower down, at Germania ford, and also seven miles still lower down, at Ely's ford, crossed the Rapidan. The campaign in Northern Virginia, fraught, as it was, with the fate of the Confederate States and the United States, took thus its initial form on the 3d of May.
From Orange Court-house two roads-the turnpike and the plank road-run on a line somewhat north of east to Fredericksburg. Those two routes are in general parallel. The plank road consists of one track of worn planking, and another of earth; its course, very irregular, vibrates in and out on the south side of the generally straight line, known as the turnpike. A plank way runs from Culpepper Court-house to Germania ford. Extending south-easterly, it crosses the turnpike; and after a route of four or five miles beyond that, terminates on the Orange and Fredericksburg plank-road. Beside these main lines several others traverse the country around the
* We insert here the London Herald correspondent's account of the Battle of the Wilderness.
battle-field of the Wilderness-some pursuing a course parallel with these, some crossing them more or less transverely. Grant's columns advanced from the Rapidan on the 3d of May. That which marched from Ely's ford followed an earthen way, leading to the junction of the Orange and Fredericksburg plank-road with the plank-road extending from Culpepper Court-house, by way of Germania ford; while the other column moved down the latter route to the same point. That junction once gained, not only had the position of Lee on the Rapidan been turned, but several roads to Richmond would have been laid open.
Ewell's corps having been encamped on Lee's right, moved eastwardly on the 4th. A few of his brigades remained behind for a day guarding some of the fords across the Rapidan. Johnson's division, having the advance, followed the turnpike, and encamped for the night within three miles of a stream flowing northwardly-Wilderness Run; Rodes, next in the order of march, lay in his rear along the same route; and Early, who had moved from Ewell's left at Sumerville ford, encamped for the night a little behind Locust Grove. The Second corps had thus reached, on the night of the 4th, a position from which it stood ready to strike on the following morning the flank of Grant's column of advance.
Johnson moved with his division at the head of Ewell's corps on the 5th. Having thrown skirmishers out into the woods on either side of the turnpike he discovered those of the enemy at about six o'clock in the morning. The musketry on each side deepening, he pressed forward with General J. M. Jones's brigade to gain a hill in his front; and having, after a brief struggle, driven back a heavy line of sharpshooters from that position, proceeded to form his troops in line of battle.
The thicket on all sides of the two armies excluded the use of artillery, save only for the width of the turnpike. Jones's brigade had been formed but a moment across that road when the enemy advanced in what of order is practicable in a tangled forest. He approached with a heavy line of skirmishers, followed by a solid column extending across the whole of Lee's front, four lines deep. Stewart's and Stafford's brigades proceeded to form rapidly on Jones's left. To guard