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serting in the order a sneer understood to be aimed at the General-in-chief for his inactivity; and when we see him sending a letter to a newspaper, containing another sneer aimed at the same general for the prudence which, by means of discipline, had sought to “organize victory,” we may be sure that some idea besides that of the suppression of the rebellion had obtained a lodgement in the War Office. In this last letter the Secretary, modestly declining all share in the honor of certain then recent victories, defers “to the spirit of the Lord, that moved our soldiers to rush into battle, and filled the hearts of our enemies with terror and dismay.” And he adds: “We may well rejoice at the recent victories, for they teach us that battles are to be won now and by us in the same and only manner that they were ever won by any people or in any age since the days of Joshua, – by boldly pursuing and striking the foe.” If the Secretary is still disposed to follow in the wake of Joshua, we may soon see a War-Office advertisement for the purchase of rams’ horns. It seems never to have occurred to him, that, if your adversary has studied and practised the “science of fence,” he may parry the blows aimed at him, and that you should at least have enough of strategy to prevent him from bestowing upon you in return a kick a posteriori. General Pope appears to have acted on the Secretary's strategy. He said, in one of his early orders, “Shame and disaster lurk in the rear”; and he found himself to be a true prophet. But the War Office is by no means responsible for all our misadventures. The source of the greatest disasters, as well as of much minor suffering, has been the efforts of members of Congress, collectively and severally, to manage the war. The cry of “On to Richmond l’ before the army had been disciplined, or even organized, wherever it had its origin, had its echoes in Congress. It has been said that the teamsters set the example of panic at Bull Run. We are not quite sure that this is doing full justice to the field-marshals of Congress, who urged the advance in the first instance, went out as spectators, and certainly did not take “the paths of glory” on their return to Washington. There is no lack of testimony that, so far as it may be deemed the duty of members of Congress to decry and defame the General-in-chief of the forces in the field, it has been most diligently performed. The salons of Washington, the hotels on the route to and from that place, and the highways and sidewalks, concur in testifying that in all the days of the year, and in all the hours of the day, there has been no lack of zeal on this behalf. The Chairman of the Military Committee in the Senate seems to have been specially detailed as skirmisher in this service. We submit that all these attacks upon the commander, whether the fire comes from the War Office or the halls of Congress, have a direct tendency to “discourage enlistments,” and the provost-marshal should see to it. In another department of the service, the evidence is not so direct and clear. If the historian of this war shall gain access to the sources of information, he cannot fail to give the country some light upon the proceedings of the “Committee of Congress on the Conduct of the War,” besides what is contained in their voluminous report. The great object of war is to “punish our enemies.” It is believed that the committee were practically adepts in this part of the science of war, and it is to be regretted that their modesty should have deprived the country of an exposition of their merits in conducting the hostilities on their part. It is supposed that in regard to another branch of modern warfare, that of “rewarding our friends,” this committee were not novices; but, as in the case of testimony taken in chancery, until the time of publication arrives, the seal which shields their motives, and some of their actions, from inspection, cannot be broken. The most astonishing blunder in the conduct of the war has been the neglect to bring a sufficient force into the field at an earlier day. It required but the comprehension of two facts, by any one whose duty it was to have ideas upon the subject, to show him, in the first instance, that the numbers of the forces of the United States in the field must be wholly inadequate to the work assigned to them. These facts are, that the rebels are in the possession of the centre of the theatre of the war, and that the United States are operating on the circumference of it. The conclusion is at once reached, that the rebels bave an advantage of position which requires us to place in the field at least two men to their one, —ay, even more than that. The facility with which they can mass their troops at any given point upon the circumference, either for defence or attack, has no corresponding advantage on our side. Until the severance of the railroad communication in Tennessee, by General Mitchell, Confederate troops could be transferred from Richmond to Corinth, and vice versa, in a very short period, without any knowledge of the movement by the Federal commanders. But the transfer of Union forces from Washington to Nashville, or from the latter place to any point outside of Tennessee and Kentucky where such troops might be needed, not only required great length of time, but it was impossible, under existing circumstances, to make such transfer without the knowledge of the Confederate authorities that the movement had begun long before it was finally terminated. We need only indicate the necessity for this greater force, without going further into the reasons for it. Yet, in the very teeth of this obvious consideration, the chairman of the Military Committee in the Senate, in March last, said in his place : —
“It was suggested, also, that we ought to stop recruiting. I agree to that. I have over and over again been to the War Office, and urged upon the Department to stop recruiting in every part of the country. We have had the promise that it should be done; yet every
day, in different parts of the country, we have accounts of men being raised and brought forth to fill up the ranks of regiments. The papers tell us that in Tennessee, and other parts of the country where our armies move, we are filling up the ranks of the army. I believe we have to-day one hundred and fifty thousand more men under the pay of the government than we need or can well use. I have not a doubt of it; and I think it ought to be checked. I think the War Department ought to issue peremptory orders forbidding the enlistment of another soldier into the volunteer force of the United States until the time shall come when we need them. We can obtain them
time when we need them.” — Washington Globe, March 29, 1862.*
In accordance with the opinion thus officially expressed, the recruiting-offices were closed, and recruiting stopped, at the very time when at least half a million of men should have been put into camp and drilled for service. It was said that the recruiting-offices were expensive. A protracted warfare is much more so. In consequence of a lack of forces, the operations along the Atlantic seaboard have been confined to the coast, and General Burnside has not been able to penetrate into North Carolina, or the commanders at Port Royal into South Carolina or Georgia. It is unnecessary to specify other places where the same lack of troops produced like results. Still the cry went up, “On to Richmond !” and the better to enable the General-in-chief to accomplish that object, he was deprived of a large part of the force which had previously been under his command, by the creation of several departments in Virginia, with independent commanders. The idea upon which this was done must have been that a large army would encumber the general, and embarrass his operations. If General McClellan had succeeded in entering Richmond with the force under his command, unless he could have at the same time opened the James River, his whole army would inevitably have been overpowered.
* We are aware that Mr. Senator Wilson has denied that he made such statements, but the denial is entirely overborne by the affirmative evidence.
It has been so long admitted that slavery as it.exists in the several States is a local institution, in no way under the control of the United States, that the politicians who regard emancipation as the great end to be accomplished by the war have been somewhat puzzled to find a plausible theory on which they can hope that the people at large will sustain them. They have from time to time put forth divers propositions having emancipation as the immediate or ultimate result. They are not content with the large measure of it which must certainly and necessarily attend the successful prosecution of the war and the suppression of the rebellion ; but they want the war conducted with a view to immediate emancipation. Some of the proposed modes in which it has been contended that this might be accomplished were considered in the article on Constitutional Law in our number for April last. Of proclamations for the purpose under martial law,- of the conquest of the seceded States and holding them as territories under the general right of war as between independent nations, for the purpose of emancipation, as proposed by Mr. Conway,* — and of the theory set forth in Mr. Sumner's resolutions, that those States have forfeited their State rights by State suicide, and thus fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress, as other territories, and that thereupon certain of their peculiar local institutions are terminated, — we need not speak further. They seem to have been abandoned for other modes of conducting the war.
Judging from the course of the ultra abolitionists, in and
* On the theory of the government maintained by the rebels as the basis of the rebellion, the seceding States may be conquered, and held as territories. If the Constitution were a compact, and any State might lawfully secede at pleasure, the act of secession by a State would be perfect when it adopted an ordinance of secession. From that time, of course, on this theory, the seceding State becomes, as to the United States, a foreign state, and, in a war between them, the latter may be conquered, and thereafter held like any other conquered territory. All its laws may be changed at the pleasure of the conqueror.