370 Southern Historical Society Papers.
facts it is seen that the Confederate cause was placed at a disadvan tage for the lack of material supplies which were necessary for the con- duct of the war and the comfort of the people that was vastly more serious than was the disparity in numbers.
Then there was a great disadvantage of geographical position and condition. The entire Southern section was divided from north to south by a great navigable river, the Mississippi. This enabled the Federal naval fleets to cut the Confederacy in two, and divorce its west- ern from its eastern section. Its northern boundary was made by the Ohio and Potomac rivers, navigable for boats and largely used by war vessels and military transports. The Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the Southern country were beset by vessels of the blockading fleets.
But so far as the fighting was concerned, it all went well in that part of the Confederacy east of the Alleghany mountain. Army after army, ea'ch time under a new commander, was dispatched by the authorities for the capture of Richmond, where the Confederate capital had been set up, and each of those armies in turn had been hurled back, broken, defeated and dreadfully punished. In the meantime the victorious forces of Lee and Jackson had swept the enemy time and again from the celebrated valley of the Shenan- doah, the granary of Virginia, while thrice they had fought the foe on his own territory in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
When the Confederate army which operated in Virginia retreated from the northern part of the State, it was only a strategic move- ment, for it always went back and occupied its old position. When the people saw Lee and Jackson leaving them for a southward march, they had full confidence that the troops would return as they always did. In some other parts of the Confederacy this was not the case. Some of the most noted commanders in the West re- treated, never to revisit the positions which they had abandoned, and the people came to understand that this abandonment was final.
This constant retreating was not always necessitated by attacks and defeat at the hands of a superior force of the enemy, but was in obedience to a fixed plan of strategy named from the Roman gen- eral, Fabius Maximus, who in his campaigns against Hannibal made it a rule to avoid battle and always to retreat. Hannibal defeated all the troops he ever met, but Fabius, by eluding battle with the great Carthaginian, succeeded in a campaign that lasted thirteen years in wearing out his enemy, which could get no recruits or re- inforcements from Carthage across the Mediterranean.
Whether the great Federal armies could have been worn out and