Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/15
Letters from Fort Sumter.
other respects being regular, he invariably received the punishment awarded.
The pithy maxim of Talleyrand, "nothing succeeds like success," is a vulgar and ofttimes an erroneous criterion.
Concede the applicability of such a test to the relative valor, generalship and military character of the Northern and Southern armies, during the war, and we "exalt the soldiers of the North above all precedent and consign the unequalled valor of the Southern soldiery to reproach, instead of the deathless fame which shall survive them. To such a judgment every battle-field of the war gives emphatic and indignant contradiction."
Time, the great arbiter of us all, is as sure to give Bragg rank among the first Generals of the late war and triumphantly vindicate his discipline, as that it will dissipate the twilight haze which yet "obscures the grand effort of patriotism" of which he was a prominent helmsman. With a devotion which shrank from no sacrifice and quailed before no peril, he buckled around him the armor of the right and wielding the shield of Achilles, which the inferior Greek was unable to lift, despite overwhelming numbers of the enemy, furnished by his example the strongest evidence of his belief in the correctness and justice of the cause he espoused.
[We have on hand a number of letters written by Lieutenant Jones, while serving in Fort Sumter, to his parents. As vivid descriptions, written at the time, of the events they describe by a gallant participant in the heroic defence of Sumter, they are of interest and historic value worthy of a place in our records.]
FORT SUMTER, June 18th, 1862.
You have heard by the papers the particulars of the bloody fight of the 1th, at Secessionville. Though on a small scale, this war furnishes not one instance of a more gallant charge on the part of the enemy, and of a more desperate and determined resistance on the part of our own men. The battery was contested on the ramparts in a hand to hand fight, and a log was rolled from the top to