Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/419

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Jefferson Davis. 413

The chances of victory were slight. When a colonel, says Daniel, once was about to demonstrate to General Lee in what an advan- tageous position the Confederate army was, the latter said: "Put your pencil back at once into your pocket, Colonel, for as soon as you put down the relative numbers we are already badly beaten."

Twenty millions whites on the one and four and a half millions on the other side ! Here a great fleet, arsenals, armies, manufactories, railroads, riches and technique, an unlimited importation of resources and immigration of people capable of bearing arms ; there a thin line of miserably-armed and poorly-fed soldiers, who, under the most propitious circumstances, fought against at least double their num- bers, shut off from the outside world, without manufactories, &c. And yet through four years Davis, with high courage, held aloft the banner, generally victorious and always with honor, against all these odds. Certainly the circle of statesmen whom he had gathered about him were of the first rank, and the knights who sat at their round table have won for themselves imperishable renown. We re- call the names of R. E. Lee, A. S. Johnston, Joe Johnston, Beaure- gard, Stonewall Jackson, the two Hills, Longstreet, Gordon and the dashing cavalryman Stuart, the two Lees, Ashby, Morgan. These will be named among the first as long as there is a history of war.

And now the war ! How fared it ? Men are lacking, therefore must old men and boys fall in. Lead is lacking, the battle-fields are ploughed up, and women and children seek eagerly after bullets, as ours after strawberries ; everything fusible in the house and in the church is made into ammunition; ordnance is lacking, the bells and sacred vessels of the altar are melted down and sound only in the thunder of battle; clothing is lacking, old pieces are patched to- gether, war horses fall; ships are sunk; the former riders and sailors seize upon muskets and hasten on to the front. The friendly dis- posed border States are held from the beginning of the war under strong control, and dare not participate! West Virginia falls off; New Orleans is lost; Vicksburg falls, and with it the control of the Mississippi; Gettysburg is lost; the armies melt away; already is the battle-field become the home of the citizen; thinned-out battalions fight where divisions are needed; the best leaders fall; captains be- come generals, and companies are commanded by privates. The commonest necessities of life become rarest luxuries. Barns and farm-houses are burnt, the herds are driven off or taken away, and nothing remains but "man and steel" the soldier and his weapon.