Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/230
Southern Historical Society Papers.
ever to surpass this. Such blind devotion might be safely calculated on at any sacrifice of truth, or of common sense. He has arrived at that point at which nothing that sustains his own side seems too hard for his credulity. He shrinks from no absurdity, however monstrous. Let us see, on the other hand, in what spirit he deals with the first serious reverse of the Confederate arms. "The capture of Donelson," he says, with a glow of rapturous exultation, "was a great and glorious success for the Federals. The material results were considerable. The capitulation delivered into the hands of Grant fourteen thousand six hundred and twenty-three prisoners, sixty-five cannons, seventeen thousand muskets that is to say, an entire army with all its materiel.
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The moral effect was immense. The remembrance of Bull Run was blotted out by a victory much more hotly contested, and the results of which were otherwise of importance. In short, after the scenes which had just been witnessed in Floyd's tent, and on the banks of the Cumberland, the Confederates could no longer taunt their enemies with the panic of the 21st of July; the game was henceforth even between them."
That is to say, the case of a garrison beleaguered by land and water by a force four times their own, after having not only repulsed repeated assaults, with heavy loss to the beseigers, but even defeated and driven them from important positions in the field, thus well nigh forcing a passage, sword in hand, through the masses that environed them, at length surrendering to overwhelming numbers, is precisely parallel to that of an invading army, thoroughly beaten, routed and driven in utter confusion and panic from the field, as were the Federals at the first battle of Manassas!
To state this proposition is sufficient. Such wild and reckless license of assertion deserves no serious reply. There is one suggestion, however, which the Count would do well to give heed to. It is very dangerous for historians of his order to deal much in figures. In the case before us, for instance, he has himself stated the Confederate force at fifteen thousand men. He then informs us that about three thousand made their escape with Generals Floyd and Pillow, and that the Confederates had about the same number of men disabled as their adversaries, whose loss in killed he gives as four hundred and twenty-five. Allowing the proportion of killed to have been nearly the same on both sides, by what new rule of arithmetic, may we ask, do thirty