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CAPTAINS OF THE CIVIL WAR
me, Sir!" Lincoln looked the two men over, and then, in a stage whisper every listener could hear, said: “Well, if I were you, and he threatened to shoot me, I wouldn't trust him; for I'm sure he'd do it." Both Services were not only pleased with the "rise" Lincoln took out of a too inquisitive politician but were much reassured by its model discretion. This importunate politician so badgered Lincoln about the real destination of McClellan's transports that Lincoln at last promised to tell everything he could if the politician would promise not to repeat it. Then, after swearing the utmost secrecy, the politician got the news: "They are going to sea.'
The whole home front as well as the Services were touched to the heart by tales of Lincoln's kindness in his many interviews with the warbereaved; and letters like these spoke for themselves to every patriot in the land:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, November 21, 1864.
Mrs. BIXBY, Boston, Massachusetts.
DEAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine
which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Nor did the Lincoln touch stop there. It even began to make its quietly persuasive way among the finer spirits of the South from the very day on which the Second Inaugural closed with words which were the noblest consummation of the prophecy made in the First. This was the prophecy: "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." And this the consummation: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him
who shall have borne the battle and for his widow
and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
LEE AND JACKSON: 1862-3
MOST Southerners remained spellbound by the glamour of Bull Run till the hard, sharp truths of '62 began to rouse them from their flattering dream. They fondly hoped, and even half believed, that if another Northern army dared to invade Virginia it would certainly fail against their entrenchments at Bull Run. If, so ran the argument, the North failed in the open field it must fail still worse against a fortified position.
The Southern generals vainly urged their Government to put forth its utmost strength at once, before the more complex and less united North had time to recover and begin anew. They asked for sixty thousand men at Bull Run, to be used for a vigorous counterstroke at Washington. They pointed out the absurdity of misusing the Bull Run (or Manassas) position as a mere shield, fixed to one spot, instead of making it the hilt of a sword
thrust straight at the heart of the North. Robert E. Lee, now a full general in the Confederate Army and adviser to the President, grasped the whole situation from the first and urged the right solution in the official way. Stonewall Jackson, still a junior general, was in full accord with Lee, as we know from the confidential interview (at the end of October, '61) between him and his divisional commander, General G. W. Smith, who made it public many years later. The gist of Jackson's argument was this: "McClellan won't come out this year with his army of recruits. We ought to invade now, not wait to be invaded later on. If Davis would concentrate every man who can be spared from all other points and let us invade before winter sets in, then McClellan's recruits couldn't stand against us in the field. Let us cross the upper Potomac, occupy Baltimore, and, holding Maryland, cut the communications of Washington, force the Federal Government out of it, beat McClellan if he attacks, destroy industrial plants liable to be turned to warlike ends, cut the big commercial lines of communication, close the coal mines, seize the neck of land between Pittsburg and Lake Erie, live on the country by requisition, and show the North what it would cost