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BALL'S BLUFF-FIGHT AT DRA NESVILLE.
that retreat on his part was simple , sured, in a confidential whisper, that ruin. He must repulse the enemy our men had been so demoralized assailing him then and there, or be and spirit-broken by their rout at destroyed; for no force that Stone Bull Run, that there was no fight in might now send to his relief could be them—that a whole brigade would brought up in time to save him. take to their heels at the sight of a
Rebel regiment advancing to the The Ball's Bluff tragedy, grossly charge. Ball's Bluff repelled and misrepresented as it was in Rebel dissipated this unworthy calumny--bulletins 'and exulting narratives, by showing that our soldiers, though tended to confirm and extend the most unskillfully handled, precipitavain-glorious delusion which was alted into needless perils, entrapped, ready sapping the foundations, if not surrounded, hopeless, had still the of Rebel strength, at least of Rebel courage to fight and the manhood energy. Gen. Evans officially re
to die. ported that he had fought and beaten 8,000 men,commanded by Gen. Stone ---his troops using the musket alone; while the Unionists employed artillery, and fired on him with longrange guns from the Maryland shore ! and that his brigade had driven “ enemy four times their number from the soil of Virginia, killing and taking prisoners a greater number than
11.VAJOCUTTS our whole force engaged." These fables were repeated in general orders, with the necessary effect of inflating the whole Confederate people with an inordinate conceit of their own prowess, and misleading them into an intense contempt for Yankee cowardice and inefficiency. The natural consequences of this delusive swagger were evinced in the encounters of the ensuing Spring.
At 6 A. M., of Dec. 20th, Gen. E. On the other hand, Ball's Bluff 0. C. Ord, commanding the 3d dispelled, though at a terrible cost, Pennsylvania brigade, in pursuance some of the aspersions which had of orders from Gen. George A. been sedulously propagated with re-McCall, commanding the division gard to the spirit and morale of the holding the right of Gen. McClelUnion rank and file. Whoever asked lan's army, moved forward from of any champion of the prevailing Camp Pierpont toward Dranesville, strategy why our armies stood idle, Loudoun County, Va., instructed to and as if paralyzed, in the presence drive back the enemy's pickets, proof inferior forces of Rebels, were as- cure a supply of forage, and capture,
if possible, a small cavalry force-running off their guns by hand; scouting betwixt Dranesville and the the 6th South Carolina, out of 315 Potomac. Gen. Ord's brigade con- present, losing 65–in part, by the sisted of the 9th, Col. C. F. Jackson, fire of the 1st Kentucky. (Rebel), 10th, Col. J. S. McCalmont, 12th, which, mistaking them for Unionists, Col. John H. Taggart, the Bucktail poured a murderous volley into them Rifles, Lt.-Col. T. L. Kane, a part of at forty yards' distance. It was a the 6th, with Easton's battery and foolish affair on the part of Stuart, two squadrons of cavalry; in all, about who was palpably misled by the gas4,000 men. While halting to load conade of Evans, with regard to his forage just east of Dranesville, he meeting and beating more than four was attacked by a Rebel brigade, led to one at Ball's Bluff. When he by Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, composed found himself overmatched, losing of the 11th Virginia, the 6th South heavily, and in danger of being outCarolina, 10th Alabama, 1st Ken- flanked and destroyed, the Rebel tucky, the Sumter Flying Artillery, General withdrew rapidly, but in and detachments from two cavalry tolerable order, from the field; and regiments--the whole force number- Gen. McCall, who came up at this ing, according to Rebel accounts, moment, wisely decided not to puronly 2,500. Stuart appears to have sue; since a Rebel" force thrice his been likewise on a foraging excur- own might at any moment be intersion; as he had with him about 200 posed between him and his camp. wagons, which probably returned Each party returned to its quarters empty of aught but wounded men. that night. They came up the road leading The victory of Dranesville, unimsouthwardly from Dranesville to portant as it may now seem, diffused Centerville, some fifteen miles dis- an immense exhilaration throughout tant, and were foolishly pushed on the Union ranks. It was a fitting to attack, though the advantage in and conclusive answer to every open numbers, in position, and even in ar- assertion or whispered insinuation tillery, appears to have been decided impeaching the courage or the steadily on our side. They were, of course, ness of our raw Northern volunteers. easily and badly beaten; the Penn- The encounter was purely fortuitous, sylvanians fighting with cool intre at least on our side; two strong forpidity and entire confidence of suc- aging parties, believed by our men to
Our aggregate loss was but 9 | be about equal in numbers, had met killed and 60 wounded—among the on fair, open ground; had fought a latter, Lieut.-Col. Kane, who led his brief but spirited duel, which had men with signal gallantry. The ended in the confessed defeat and Rebels lost, by their own account, flight of the Rebels, whose loss was 230; among them, Col. Forney, of at least twice that they inflicted on the 10th Alabama, wounded, and us. Admit that they were but 2,500 Lieut. Col. Martin, killed. They to our 4,000; the Army of the Potoleft 25 horses dead on the field, with mac, now nearly 200,000" strong, two caissons-one of them exploded, and able to advance on the enemy
Gen. McClellan, in his deliberately prepared, loudly trumpeted, and widely circulated Report,
THE SITUATION AT THE CLOSE OF 1861.
with not less than 150,000 sabers and had been called to command at Washbayonets, eagerly awaited the long- ington on the same day that Fremont expected permission to prove itself left New York for St. Louis, stood but fairly represented in that casual cooped up and virtually besieged in detachment which had fought and the defenses of Washington, holding won at Dranesville.
barely ground enough in Virginia to In every other quarter, our arms encamp and maneuver his army; were in the ascendant. The blow while the Rebels impudently obwell struck by Butler and Stringham structed the navigation of the lower at Hatteras, had never been retaliated. Potomac, on one hand, by batteries The Rebels' attempt to cut off Brown's erected at commanding points on the regiment at Chicamicomico had re- Virginia shore, while the Baltimore sulted in more loss to them than to and Ohio Railroad was dismantled us. Du Pont's triumph at Port Royal and obstructed by them at Harper's had dealt a damaging blow to our Ferry and further west on the other ; foes, and inflicted signal injury on leaving the city of Washington, as the original plotters of treason, with well as his vast army, dependent on out loss to our side. In West Vir- the single track of the Branch Railginia, the campaign was closing with road for all their subsistence and supthe prestige of success and superiority plies, throughout the tedious Winter gilding our standards, and with at that followed. least nine-tenths of the whole region The Confederates had not yet ensecurely in our hands. In Missouri, forced a general Conscription; and, Gen. Fremont—though vehemently though volunteering was widely stimreproached for not advancing and ulated by Police discipline and Lynch fighting sooner, and though never law, while the more ignorant and illenjoying facilities for obtaining arms, informed young women of many munitions, or any material of war, at slaveholding localities were envenall comparable to those at all times omed Secessionists, refusing to give eagerly accorded to McClellan-had any but the most furious countecollected, organized, armed, and pro- nance to young men who hesitated vided, a movable column of nearly to enlist, yet the white population 40,000 men, at whose head he had of the States actually controlled by pushed Price—one of the very ablest the Rebels was so very far inferior iii of the Rebel chieftains—to the fur- numbers to that of the loyal North thest corner of the State, and was on and West, that the Rebel armies the point of hunting him thence into were necessarily and vastly the less Arkansas or eternity, when the order numerous likewise. which deprived him of his command Gen. McClellan, indeed, appears to was received at Springfield on the 2d have estimated their numbers in Eastof November. Yet then and through- ern Virginia at 150,000; but the inout the Winter, Gen. McClellan, who formation on which he acted differed widely from that of his subordinates | wore heavily away, and saw nothing who spent the Winter in camp in of moment attempted. Even the Virginia, while he remained snugly Rebel batteries obstructing the lower housed in Washington. Gen. Wads- Potomac were not so much as menworth, who saw and (until forbidden) aced—the Navy laying the blame on questioned the contrabands' and the Army; the Army throwing it other deserters who came within our back on the Navy-probably both lines from Centerville and vicinity right, or, rather, both wrong: but the that Autumn and Winter, was con- net result was nothing done; until fident that 60,000 was the highest the daily repetition of the stereotyped number they ever had encamped in telegraphic bulletin, “ All quiet on our front; and these we might have as- the Potomac?_which had at first sailed at a day's notice with 120,000; been received with satisfaction; afterand, by taking three days for prepara- | ward with complacency; at length tion, with 150,000. Why not? evoked a broad and general roar of
states the force under his more immediate com- 169,452 were "fit for duty." This does not inmand on the 1st of December that is, the force clude Gen. Wool's command at and near Fortress then in the Federal District, Maryland, Delaware, Monroe. On the 1st of January following, he and the small patch of Eastern Virginia opposite makes his total 219,707; on the 1st of February, Washington held by him-at 198,213; whereof | 222,196.
The weather was magnificent; the disdainful merriment. roads hard and dry, till far into Win- And so, Winter at last settled down ter. An artillery officer wonderingly upon that vast, gallant, most effectinquired: “What is such weather ive army, Two Hundred Thousand for, if not fighting ?"
strong, able and ready, on any fair The loyal masses-awed by the ob- field, to bear down at a charge all the loquy heaped on those falsely accused Rebels in their front without coming of having caused the disaster at Bull to a stand; yet lying thus beleaguered Run by their ignorant impatience and and paralyzed, shivering and dying in precipitancy--stood in silent expecta- the tents to which they had been so tion. They still kept raising regiment suddenly transferred from their comafter regiment, battery after battery, fortable homes-not allowed to build and hurrying them forward to the all- themselves huts, such as the Rebels ingulfing Army of the Potomac, to had, because that would reveal to the be in time for the decided movement country the fact that nothing was to that must be just at hand-but the be attempted till Spring or later; extorrent was there drowned in a lake pecting, hoping every day to receive of Lethean stagnation. First, we were the long-awaited order to advance waiting for reënforcements—which but seeing night after night close in was most reasonable; then, for the without it; and sinking into homerequisite drilling and fitting for ser-- sickness and disease, which employvice-which was just as helpful to the ment for body and mind would readiRebels as to us; then, for the leaves ly have repelled and dissipated. to fall —so as to facilitate military Is this obstinate fixity, this rooted movements in a country so wooded neglect and waste of the grandest opand broken as Virginia; then, for can- portunities, explicable? Not by the non-whereof we had already more hypothesis of a constitutional aversion than 200 first-rate field-guns in Vir- to the shedding of blood—that is, of ginia, ready for instant service: and other men's--on the part of our so the long, bright Autumn, and the Young Napoleon;' for he was at colder but still favorable December, I that moment among the most eager
MCCLELLAN'S TORPOR-FITFULLY BROKEN.
to have our country involved in still frontier, and a perpetual interdict of another great war, by a refusal, on all Anti-Slavery discussion and effort the part of our Government, to sur- throughout the Republic. On this render Mason and Slidell. Not even hypothesis, and on this alone, Gen. Vallandigham was more belligerent McClellan's course while in high in that direction. Constitutional command, but especially during that timidity and irresolution-an over- long Autumn and Winter, becomes whelming sense of responsibility and coherent and comprehensible. inadequacy to so stupendous a trust The Rebels, so vastly outnumbered were probably not without their in- and overmatched in every thing but fluence in the premises. But, beyond leadership, were, of course, too glad and above all these, there was doubt- to be allowed to maintain a virtual less a slowly awakened consciousness siege of Washington, with all but one that Slavery was the real assailant of of its lines of communication with the our National existence, and that to loyal States obstructed, to make any put down the Rebellion by a positive, offensive movement; and the only asdetermined exertion of force, was to sault made that Winter upon our Genseal the doom of its inciting cause, eral-in-Chief's main position, was rewhich had so recently transformed pelled with prompt, decided energy. into downright traitors so many high The circumstances were as follows: officers who once honored and loved A portion of the melodious Hutchour Union and its flag. It was hard inson family, having been attracted for one who had long been arguing to Washington by the novelty of findand voting that, in our current poli- | ing the public halls of that city no tics, Slavery was not the aggressor, longer barricaded against the utterbut the innocent victim, to unlearn ance of humane and generous sentithis gross error in a year; and Gen. ments, had there solicited of the SecMcClellan is essentially slow. But, retary of War permission to visit the in the high position to which he had camps across the Potomac, in order to been so suddenly exalted, it was hard break the monotony and cheer the also not to see that, in order to save ruggedness of Winter with the sponboth Slavery and the Union, there taneous, unbought carol of some of must be little fighting and a speedy their simple, heartfelt songs. Gen. compromise—that fighting must be Cameron gave their project not merepostponed, and put off, and avoided, ly his cordial assent, but his emphatic in the hope that financial embarrass- commendation; and, thus endorsed, ment, a foreign war, or some other they received Gen. McClellan's gracomplication, would compel the mu- cious permission. So they passed over tual adoption of some sort of Critten to the camps, and were singing to deden Compromise, or kindred 'adjust-lighted crowds of soldiers, when an ment,' whereby the Slave Power officer's quick ear caught the drift of would graciously condescend to take what sounded like Abolition! Forththe Union afresh into its keeping, and with, there were commotion, and efconsent to a reünion, which would fervescence, and indignation, rising be, in effect, an extension of the em- from circle to circle of the military pire of Jefferson Davis to the Canada | aristocracy, until they reached the