Can Change the World Again.
A CRITICAL HISTORY OF THE LATE AMERICAN WAR,
(War of the Confederacy Rebellion of 1861-1865)
REV. ASA MAHAN, D. D. LL.D.
THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.
THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.
CAPTURE OF FORT SUMTER.RESULTS FOLLOWING.
ON Friday, April 12th, 1861, at twenty minutes past four in the morning, and by special command of the supreme authorities of the Confederacy, the bombardment of Fort Sumter, from the forts and batteries in and about Charlestown Harbour, commenced. The fortress was at the time garrisoned by the brave Robert Anderson, with such stern patriots for under officers as Captain Doubleday, General A. Snyder, and seventy men as brave and patriotic as their commanders. At nine o'clock Sabbath morning, April 15th, the little band were taken from the fort by the United States steamer Isabel; one man having been killed, and three wounded, by a premature explosion after the bombardment had ceased. The eventful drama of Sumter was immediately followed, on the one side, by the addition of four States to the Confederacy, making in all eleven States which entered into the Rebellion; the transfer of the capital to Richmond; and a second levy upon the seceded States for troops, a levy which increased the army of the said States to an equality in numbers to those which were called into the field by the Federal authorities. On the occurrence of the same event, President Lincoln, on the other side, called upon the Union States for 75,000 volunteers for three months' service, and subsequently for the enlistment of an indefinite number of volunteers whose term of service was to extend during the war. As the result of these successive calls, the Union army amounted on the 4th July, 1861, as given in the report of the Secretary of War to Congress met in special session, to 3 10,000 men. Deducting from these the three months' volunteers, whose time of service was about to expire, "there will," says the report referred to, "be still an available force of volunteers amounting to 180,000; which, added to the regular army, will constitute a total force of 230,000 officers and men." At the period of the Bull Run campaign, our army in the field consisted of an effective force of 310,000 men. Of these, as we shall also see, upwards of 150,000 were located in and about Washington, and within the State of Virginia, under the immediate command of General Scott, our Commander-in-Chief, and all fully available, and admirably located for an immediate and successful movement upon the Confederate army and capital. Having furnished all these vast forces for the specific purpose of putting down the Rebellion, the public sentiment of the Union States called for prompt and decisive action. It was, also, intuitively manifest to all, that if the Confederate army in the great State of Virginia was annihilated, and the Rebellion was here fully subdued, and the capital of the Confederacy was occupied by the Union armies, there would be a speedy collapse of the Rebellion everywhere. Hence the cry which from all parts of the Union States broke continuously upon the ears of our military authorities at Washington"On to Richmond!" It was under the pressure of this united sentiment of the Union States that the Bull Run campaign occurred. Before proceeding to our criticisms of this campaign, it may be important to notice certain
Interesting and important events in Missouri.
Among the most interesting and important events of a military character which preceded the campaign under consideration were those which occurred in Missouri under the direction of the immortal Captain (afterwards General) Lyon, aided in all his measures by the most efficient services of Colonel F. P. Blair, who assumed command of the First Missouri Volunteer Regiment, April 25th. The manner in which, by order of the War Department at Washington, Captain Lyon and Captain Stokes on the night of April 25th removed about 30,000 stands of arms and other important war materials from the arsenal at St. Louis, first to Alton, and then to Springfield, Illinois, must command the admiration of all who read the account of these transactions. This event was, on the Loth May ensuing, followed by another of still greater importance, the capture of Camp Jackson by Captain Lyon at the head of 6,000 volunteers. This camp had been formed in the outskirts of St Louis, under the direction of the Adjutant-General of the State, and was occupied undeniably in the interests of the Confederacy by a full brigade of armed men. Finding themselves surrounded by a force which could not be resisted, the whole brigade surrendered. The following note from Victor's "History of the Rebellion" will fully evince the importance of this transaction:
Among the articles enumerated as found in the camp were three 32-pounders, a large quantity of bombs and balls, several pieces of artillery in boxes, twelve hundred rifles of a late model, six brass field-pieces, six brass mortars (6-inch), one 10-inch iron mortar, three 6-inch iron cannon, several chests of muskets, five boxes of canister shot, ninety-six 10-inch, three hundred 6-inch shells, twenty-five kegs of powder, a large number of musket stocks and barrels, between twenty and thirty boxes, and a considerable quantity of camp tools. On the steamer J. C. Swan, seized, by order of Captain Lyon, for carrying contraband of war, was found the register, showing that most of these arms and equipments had come up the river from the Baton Rouge arsenal.
On May 31st, General Harney, who had, during a command of a few weeks, fully evinced his utter incapacity to meet the exigencies of the then existing crisis, was superseded, and General Lyon substituted in his place as Commandant of the Western Department. An interview was held between the latter and C. B. Jackson, Governor, and Ex-Governor Sterling Price, in St. Louis, Colonel Blair and Major Conant being present as advisers of General Lyon. The parties failing utterly to agree, the Confederate representatives retired, Governor Jackson immediately calling the people of Missouri to arms, to "Rise, and drive out ignominiously the invaders who had dared to desecrate the soil which their labours had made fruitful, and which is consecrated by their homes." The place of rendezvous of the Confederate volunteers was Booneville. No sooner was General Lyon in full command, than he was after Jackson and Price- Putting his little army on board steamers and transports, he sailed June 13th for Booneville, having on the day previous issued a most stirring proclamation to the people of Missouri. On the morning of the 15th he landed at Jefferson City, and installed Col. Boersistein as Military Governor. On the next day, reinforcements having arrived from St. Louis, he sailed for Booneville, and on the 17th defeated the Confederates there, and drove what remained of them undispersed towards the southern part of the State. Pressing forward, and acting in concert with Colonel Siegel, who moved out from Rolla, his forces, having performed most brilliant feats of arms, were concentrated, July loth, at Springfield; while Jackson and Price fled from the State. The visible results of prompt and decisive action in putting down the Rebellion in Missouri, intensified the desire of the nation for the adoption of similar measures in Virginia. If a few thousand of hastily collected and imperfectly drilled troops could do such things in the former State, what ought not to be expected from 150,000 men, perfectly disciplined troops, in the latter? Hence the cry, "On to Richmond! " became too loud and strong to be altogether disregarded.
Events in the State of Virginia.The invasion.
Before the movement which we are soon to consider, however, was attempted, several events of more or less importance had occurred in the State of Virginia and in connexion with the army of the Potomac. In the department at Washington, an early movement of no little importance was effectedthe open invasion of "the sacred soil of Virginia." This occurred on the 23rd June. Over the Long Bridge at Washington, and over the Chain Bridge at Georgetown, 10,000 men were conducted, those over the former under General Mansfield, and those over the latter under General McDowell, and safely established on the soil referred to. In the meantime, Colonel Ellsworth, with his Fire Zouaves, being conveyed thither by steam, took possession of Alexandria. The assassination of the brave Colonel at this place caused deep grief to the whole nation. All the above results were accomplished without loss on our part, Colonel Ellsworth excepted, while some 300 prisoners, mostly civilians, were captured in an attempt to escape on a railroad train.
In the department of General Butler an affair ill-conceived, and very badly executed, occurred at Big Bethel, an affair in which a body of our troops, consisting of several
thousand men, commanded by General Pierce, was defeated, with the loss of about 100 on our side; one being killed and seven wounded on the part of the Confederates. A transaction of similar importance occurred in the department of General McDowell. We cite from Mr. Greeley's "History of the American Conflict":
Late on Monday, June 17th, General Robert C. Schenck, under orders from General McDowell, left camp near Alexandria, with l00 of Colonel McCook's 1st Ohio, on a railroad train, and proceeded slowly up the track towards Leesburg, detaching and stationing two companies each at Fall's Church and at two road-crossings as he proceeded. He was nearing Vienna, thirteen miles from Alexandria, with the four remaining companies, numbering 275 men, utterly unsuspicious of danger, when, on emerging from a cut and turning a curve, eighty rods from the village, his train was raked by a masked battery of two guns, hastily planted by Colonel Gregg, who had been for two or three days scouting along our front, with about Boo rebels, mainly South Carolinians, and who, starting that morning from Dranesville, had been tearing up the track at Vienna, and had started to return to Dranesville, when they heard the whistle of General Schenck's locomotive. Several rounds of grape were fired point blank into the midst of the Ohio boys, who speedily sprang from the cars, and formed under the protection of a clump of trees on the side of the track. The engineer, who was backing the train, and, o£ course, in the rear of it, instantly detached his locomotive, and started at his best speed for Alexandria, leaving the cars to be burnt by the rebels, and the dead and wounded to be brought off in blankets by their surviving comrades. The rebels, deceived by the cool and undaunted bearing of our force, did not venture to advance, for fear of falling into a trap in their turn; so that our loss in men was but twenty, including one captain. The rebels, of course, lost none. Each party retreated immediatelythe rebels to Fairfax Court House.
Events in Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia.
Events of still greater interest were transpiring in Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia, where General Robert Patterson held command. On the 7th June he advanced with quite 20,000 men from Chambersburg to Hagerstown, General Wallace on his right taking possession of Cumberland and Romney. On the occurrence of these events, General Joseph E. Johnston, in command of the Confederates, burned the bridge at Point of Rocks, destroyed the superb railway bridge over the Potomac, made destruction of the armoury and shops at the Ferry, and retreated from Harper's Ferry to Winchester. While General Patterson remained at Hagerstown, the Potomac, at his command, was crossed and recrossed at Williamsport by General Thomas; the Confederates, in the meantime, returning to the river, completing the work of destruction at Harper's Ferry, thoroughly dismantling the Chesapeake Canal and the several railroads in that region, and made a conscription of Union men as well as Confederates to fill their ranks. Finally, on the 2nd July, General Patterson recrossed the Potomac at Falling Waters, encountering a slight resistance from General Jackson. On the 7th orders were given, but not executed, for an advance on Winchester, whither General Johnston had again retreated. On the 15th, the energetic commander of the Union forces, now increased to upwards Of 30,000 men, moved through Martinsburg to Bunker Hill, nine miles from Winchester, having received specific orders from General Scott to make "a forward movement as rapidly as possible." The part which this important army took in the movement upon Manassas will be presented hereafter.
Events in Western Vrginia.
In Western Virginia, in the department of General McClellan, events of the very highest importance were transpiring just at this time. By plans most wisely devised, and vigorously executed, the entire Confederate forces in this department, those in Kanawha Valley excepted, were either dispersed, or captured. The Confederate camps most strongly fortified at Rich Mountain under Col. Pegram, and at Laurel Hill under General Garnett, were captured, with most of their artillery and camp equipage. After lying in the woods for two days in a starving condition, Colonel Pegram, July 17th, with G00 men under his command, surrendered at discretion- At a final stand made by General Garnett in his retreat, he was himself killed, and his whole force dispersed and disorganized, a portion of them escaping to join General Jackson at Monterey. Of the result of these victories, General McClellan thus speaks in his despatch to Washington:
General Garnett and his forces have been routed, and his baggage and one gun taken. His army are completely demoralized. General Garnett was killed while attempting to rally his forces at Carricksford, near St. George. We have completely annihilated the enemy in Western Virginia. Our loss is about thirteen killed, and not more than forty wounded; while the enemy's loss is not far from two hundred killed; and the number of prisoners we have taken will amount to at least one thousand. We have captured seven of the enemy's guns in all.
ADVANCE ON MANASSAS, OR THE BULL RUN CAMPAIGN.
All these events occurred prior to the advance on Manassas, and present to our consideration an army little less than 35,000 men at perfect liberty to be employed in a grand advance upon the State and capital of Old Virginia. The advance that was made we are now fully prepared to consider. The events above detailed absolutely evince one essential factthe perfect reliability of the soldiery of the entire forces under the direction of our Commander-in-Chief for any service which the interests of the nation might require. In Missouri, in the Peninsula, before Washington, in Northern and Western Virginia, our newlydisciplined troops evinced all the courage, steadiness, and energy of disciplined veterans. The promptitude with which those Ohio volunteers reformed after their surprise at Vienna is an honour to the State and nation. In no instance was there a reverse on account of the bad quality of the men engaged. Let us now advance to a direct consideration of the Bull Run campaign; our aim being, not merely to present what was, but what ought to have been, done under the circumstances. As a means to this end, let us consider, in the first place,
THE COMPARATIVE AMOUNT AND RELATIONS OF THE UNION
AND CONFEDERATE FORCES AVAILABLE FOR OFFENCE AND
DEFENCE ON THE SACRED SOIL OF VIRGINIA.
The campaign under consideration was, professedly, but the opening scene of a great drama, the finale of which was to be the subversion of the Rebellion in Virginia, and the capture of its capital; and in it that of the Confederacy. The nation did not demand or expect a battle, but a congrtest, which should be visibly decisive of the fate of the Confederacy. A view of the situation and comparative amount of the forces in the two armies immediately opposed to each other will enable us to form a correct judgment of the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the demand and expectation under consideration- The amount of effective forces under the direct supervision and control of our Commander-in-Chief, and fully available for the contemplated movement, could not, as we have stated, have been less than 150,000 men. Those under General Butler amounted to 15,000 men, those under the immediate command of General McDowell to quite 7 5,000, and those under Generals Patterson and McClellan to upwards of 30,000 each.
According to the best Confederate authorities, the entire forces under the command of Generals Beauregard and Johnston amounted to less than 30,000 men. Mr. Stevens puts their united forces at 28,000; 20,000 under the former, and 8,000 under the latter. Johnston had under his command, for example, but nine regiments, with a few hundred cavalry under General (Stonewall) Jackson. No Confederate authority places the forces of General Beauregard above the sum designated. In all the rest of the State it is quite safe to affirm that there were not over 20,000 organised troops that could have been rendered available against the union armies. Our armies, then, outnumbered those of the Confederacy as three to one. If we adopt the relations of two to one we shall be far within the circle of real facts; and this last estimate is all that is asked, as the basis of our statements of what was undeniably practicable through a wise use of the forces under our Commander-in-Chief. Nor can we conceive of armies in better relations for offensive operations than were ours at the time. Equally unfavourable was the condition of the Confederate armies for successful defence. The latter armies were within a semicircle of forces, divided into four parts; by each of which, General Butler's excepted, they were outnumbered, and which could have been concentrated upon them with perfectly annihilating force. Let any one take a map and mark the location of the Confederate forces at Manassas and Winchester, at Yorktown, Richmond, and other parts of Virginia. Then let him notice the location of the armies under General Butler at Fortress Monroe, under General McDowell at Arlington, under General Patterson at Bunker Hill, and General McClellan in Western Virginia; bearing in mind that all these forces were perfectly free for effective Service. But one judgment can be passed in view of the facts before us, namely, that no armies could be in a worse condition for defence than were those of the Confederates, nor in a better condition for offensive operations with over whelming masses than were these Union forces. Let us now consider
What might have been, and ought to have been, done under the circumstances.
Let us suppose that 20,000 men had been detached from General McDowell and sent round to General Butler, the forces of the latter being thereby increased to 35,000 men; that when all things were in readiness the army of General Butler was moved to Burmuda Hundred, as it was in the campaign under General Grant; that those under General McClellan were by rapid marches moved to Stanton; those under McDowell having moved out in front of Manassas; while Patterson had moved down the Shenandoah and occupied a central position between the right of McDowell and the left of McClellan. The result of such dispositions, as every one at all acquainted with military affairs, or possessed of common understanding, cannot but perceive, would have been. such as the following:Rich- mond, being then unfortified, would have been captured by General Butler with little or no resistance; his presence in that vicinity would have prevented any reinforcements being sent to Generals Beauregard and Johnston; while his occupancy of all communications south of James river would have rendered the retreat of the Confederate forces into North Carolina impossible. On the other hand, the Confederate generals at Manassas, finding themselves encircled by forces more than three times as numerous as their own, and finding all hope of escape cut off. would have surrendered without a battle, or after too feeble a resistance to be called one. Thus the Rebellion would, in a few days, have been totally suppressed throughout the entire State of Virginia, and that with very little bloodshed on either side. These advantages being promptly followed up, the Carolinas, with all their seaports, would, in a few weeks more, have been in our hands, and the almost immediate collapse of the Confederacy everywhere else would have been fully assured. This we affirm, in the open presence of the nation and world, and that with no fear of intelligent contradiction, that had the army of 310,000 effective forces under the command of our Commanderin-Chief on the 4th July, 1861, been promptly and wisely employed, the duration of the Rebellion would but a little have exceeded the period assigned to it by Mr. Seward,-to wit, "ninety days." We have suggested but one plan for the disposition and movement of our forces for the suppression of the Rebellion in Virginia. Other dispositions and movements equally felicitous will readily suggest themselves to every reflecting mind. Who can doubt that the civilians were right in calling for an onward movement, and a decisive one, under the circumstances then existing? Let us now consider
What was done at this eventful crisis.
The affair at Bull Run, as it actually occurred, can be told in few words. On the 16th July, General Irwin McDowell, under the direction of Lieutenant-General Scott, moved out from his cantonments south of the Potomac, and near Washington, and moved in the direction of Manassas. For the service assigned nearly 35,000 men were detailed. This column consisted of four divisions the first under General Tyler, the second under General Hunter, the third under General Heintzelman, the fourth under Colonel Miles,-the fifth, under General Runyon, being left in the works south of the Potomac. On the 18th a sharp conflict, mainly with artillery, occurred between our advanced forces under General Tyler and a body of Confederate forces under General Longstreet, at Blackburn's Ford on Bull Run; we losing eighty-three and the Confederates sixty-eight men. This reconnoissance in force revealed the fact that the Confederate army was in a position where they intended to give battle, a position along the wooded valley of Bull Run, about midway between Centerville and Manassas Junction. On Saturday, General McDowell had brought up his forces, and made all preparation for battle on the next day. In the meantime, General Johnston, to be followed by his army, had arrived at 'Manassas, and, being the senior officer, had assumed the command of the Confederate forces,following out, in full, the plan previously arranged by General Beauregard. General McDowell had arranged to have the battle commence at six o'clock the next morning. It was two or three hours later than this, however, before the flanking divisions reached the position at which fighting in earnest was to commence. In the early part of the day, all things seemed propitious for a decisive victory of the Union forces, the Confederates being driven, by 3 p.m., at least one mile and a half. At this juncture, the battalions of General Johnston, under Colonels Elzey and Early, appeared upon the Union right, and outflanked the same. Several of our regiments first recoiled under the unexpected fire poured upon them, and then broke in confusion and fled from the field. The result was a general panic of the Union forces, and a confused retreat in the direction of Washington. The Confederates, with their fresh reinforcements, and a splendid cavalry of 1,500 men, pursued our forces but a short distance, having discovered our first division drawn up in good order on the slope west of Centerville, and calmly, if not eagerly, awaiting their advance. Another and very important reason for such a short pursuit was afterwards assigned by the Confederate commander,-to wit, that they did not desire reveal to the Union generals the small forces available r pursuit.
Immediate results of this battle.
The direct results of this tragico-comic affair was the ss, on the part of the Confederates, according to the port of General Beauregard, of 269 killed and 1,533 ounded, with two or three hundred prisoners taken in the rly part of the battle, and sent on to Washington, not ported. After stating that I,460 wounded and other prisoners had been sent to Richmond, the report adds: The ordnance and supplies captured include some twentyeight field pieces of the best character of arms " (our reports make the number 17-22), "with over one hundred unds of ammunition for each gun, thirty-seven caissons, six forges, four battery waggons, sixty-four artillery horses, completely equipped, 500,000 rounds of small-arms ammution, 4,500 sets of accoutrements, over 500 muskets, me nine regimental and garrison flags, with a large number of pistols, knapsacks, swords, canteens, blankets, large store of axes and entrenching tools, waggons, amdances, horses, camp and garrison equipage, hospital stores, and some subsistence."
General McDowell states our losses as 481 killed and o1 I wounded, giving no account of how many wounded d others were captured from us by the enemy. The greatest loss of all was the prestige of an expected victory, be followed by a triumphant advance upon Richmond.
The peculiar character of the battle accounted for.
All histories of this war agree in respect to the fact that this battle was "without form or order," and with no ity of action among the various divisions, as far as the Union forces were concerned. General McDowell himself, ring the day, did not seem to know what the various rtions of his army were doing, or to have any controlg influence in directing their movements. Each division, brigade, and even regiment seemed to act by and itself, and not as a part of an unified whole. During progress of the battle, on various parts of the field, single regiments would be sent out, and after firing a certain number of rounds, would be retired, and others sent forward to act in their places. Such want of system has been recorded as a fault of the General in command. On the other hand, during our visit to Washington in January 1863, we found this to be the general opinion of him on the part of those best qualified to judge, President Lincoln included-that we had no better read General in our army, no better judge of the character of a proposed campaign, and few, if any, better qualified to plan one, or to manage a corps anywhere. During the sickness of General McClellan, after he became Commander-in-Chief, and when the President was greatly perplexed as to what should be done in the pressing crisis, General McDowell, with General Franklin, was sent for, for special counsel and advice. What were the difficulties which encircled him, as commander of the Potomac army? We state them as we received them personally from General McDowell himself. When he took command of this army, he made immediate arrangements to manoeuvre them, and train them to act as harmonious parts of a systematised whole. All such measures were absolutely prohibited by General Scott. In urging their importance, General McDowell was charged with desiring to make a show. Hence it was that the regiments which constituted his brigades, his brigades which constituted divisions, and the divisions which constituted his army, never had the least discipline in concerted action, the army being, in reality, constituted of independent parts, with a nominal commander, who could by no possibility command in any proper sense his own forces. The battle had to be fought by regiments at a time, these being the only compact and systematized bodies in the army. Nor was it possible for any General to have given real system to such a body of men on a battlefield, or to be really cognizant of what was going on during its continuance.
In addition to all this, General Scott absolutely refused to furnish General McDowell an adequate cavalry force, though there was an abundance of such troops in Washington. This part of the army was obstinately kept on the north side of the Potomac, the most of those who accompanied the advance on Manassas having been got over by stealth. Hence it was that all reconnoissances had to be made by infantry, with no adequate amount of cavalry to improve an advantage or to cover a retreat. Such are the real facts of the case before us. Under command, General McDowell took command of this army. Under positive command, he fought an important battle for which he had been absolutely prohibited giving his army the preparation necessary to render success a probability; the cavalry necessary to render a campaign what it should be being also arbitrarily withheld from him.
THE PART WHICH GENERAL PATTERSON DID, OR RATHER
DID NOT, ACT IN THIS TRAGIC COMEDY.
In the campaign under consideration, Beauregard counted on the co-operation of Johnston, and McDowell on that of Patterson. How Johnston met the expectations reposed in him we have already seen. The reliance of McDowell, on the other hand, turned out to have been a "broken reed." General Patterson had received positive orders from General Scott to attack and beat Johnston if he (Patterson) was in sufficient force to do it, and if not, to so employ his army as to prevent his Confederate anta gonist joining Beauregard. Deeming himself too weak for offensive operations, nothing remained for our commander, then at Bunker Hill, but to keep Johnston where he was, at Winchester. As a means to this end, General Sanford, on Patterson's left, had made all dispositions to occupy the only roads on which Johnston could move to Manassas, so as to be there in time to be of service to his colleague. Sanford's movement was to have been made at four o'clock in the morning. A little after twelve o'clock the same night he received a detailed order from Patterson, to move promptly, not in the direction intended, but at right angles to the same; to make all dispositions on the way, by which our whole army at Bunker Hill should move, not towards Winchester, but make a safe retreat to Charlestown, near Harper's Ferry. So indignant were the men at what they were compelled to do, that when Patterson appeared before them the next day he was received with a loud and universal groan.
The reason forthis movement was that a rumour reached the ears of our veteran commander that he was to be attacked by Johnston reinforced by 20,000 men. Thus, while the Confederate General moved on to Manassas, the Union commander, terror-stricken by a rumour, fled precipitately to Charlestown, and from thence brought his disappointed and indignant forces in safety to Harper's Ferry, where he was superseded by General Banks. Thus ended this farcical campaign.
What should have been done in the circumstances.
This campaign smote the North with horror, electrified the Confederacy, and was a presage of the final results of the war in the judgment of Europe. But one thing was required of our supreme military authorities in the crisisa prompt disposition of all the available Union forces in all parts of the country for a most decisive movement upon the Confederate armies in Virginia, and for the capture of the capital of the Confederacy itself. The action of the army of Manassas after its victory, their retirement especially before a single division in regular array at Centerville, clearly revealed the utter impotency of that army, if assailed by the united forces under the command of our military authorities. Had the three months' volunteers retired, sufficient forces remained to accomplish what the crisis demanded. Nor would these volunteers have retired, as they were to do, under the disgrace of ignominious defeat, had they been assured that by another month's service they could crown themselves and their country with deathless honour.
What was done under the circumstances.
Instead of this, "the great and exceedingly bitter cry" of our Commander-in-Chief everywhere broke upon the ear of the nation, that " the civilians had compelled him to fight a battle before he was prepared for it." As a consequence, popular clamour was turned away from its proper object, military imbecility, and vented itself upon the civilians. From that time onward, civilians were to have nothing to say about the conduct of the war. All was to be left to the uncriticised direction of the Generals, whether they might chance to be wise commanders or fools. To this cry the press succumbed; and hence from this time onward the conduct of the war was without impartial criticism, even what the European military authorities thought of it not being permitted to meet the national eye. This was one of our national calamities during the progress of this war. None but partizan criticisms had place in the columns of the national press. In respect to the conduct of war, as well as other subjects, the unbiased judgment of the people is generally correct, and should have free and full expression through the press. Otherwise, stupidity is about as likely to lead armies as wisdom. The civilians being silenced, however, another and still worse result followed, namely, with few and slight exceptions, the total inactivity of our great armies from the end of July 186 1 to the 1st March of the year following; when, with similar exceptions, the conduct of the war, as we shall see, was everywhere as bad as it could have been.