Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/60
Southern Historical Society Papers.
You will perceive, therefore, that our army was numerically smaller at the time of the commencement of the Pennsylvania campaign than it had been at the commencement of any of the previous campaigns; though in one sense it may be said to have been more powerful than it had previously been, for it was elated with the victory over Hooker, and bouyant with the prospect of carrying the war into the enemy's country in fact it had come to regard itself as invincible.
From your first proposition, that "it was a mistake to invade the Northern States at all," I entirely dissent. The Trans-Mississippi Department was then practically severed from the Confederacy by the investment of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. To have confined our efforts east of the Mississippi to an entirely defensive policy would have exposed us to a certain, though slow process of exhaustion. We would have had not only to defend our northern frontier, on a line from the Chesapeake bay, up the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, across the Upper Valley Of the Shenandoah, and through Western Virginia, Middle Tennessee, and Northern Alabama and Mississippi, but also the entire coasts of Chesapeake bay and the Atlantic, on the east, from the mouth of the Rappahannock, south, and of the Gulf of Mexico on the south, with the enemy firmly in possession of a number of ports and harbors on said coasts, as well as a line in the west, parallel to and east of the Mississippi, with the enemy in possession of or besieging all of the towns on that river. This in fact would have required us to defend a line extending entirely around the States east of the Mississippi, with very inadequate resources. If we had had troops and resources in money, provisions, and munitions of war enough to defend this entire line, we might have accomplished "the pecuniary exhaustion of the North," which you think should have been our policy; but our men, our resources, and, above all, our faith, would have been exhausted long before we could have accomplished the desired result.Mr. Lincoln had announced his purpose to "keep a-pegging" until the "rebellion" was suppressed, and General Grant subse--