New York Times November 1, 1861

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New York Times November 1, 1861


Winter Campaign


Article about the upcoming winter campaign of both armies.


New York Times

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Indications on the Potomac-The Rebels Going Into Winter Quarters The National Troops Likely to Follow the Example. Probable Transfer of Military Operations to the West

From an Occasional Correspondent. Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1861.

Much ill-natured speculation is indulged in here at the apparent inactivity of the army, some blaming the President and Cabinet, and some the Commanding Generals. I have reason to believe that the President has devolved the whole responsibility of a forward movement on Gen. McClellan, and placed every facility in his power to accomplish it. If he fails to advance, it will be because his army is not perfect in all of its appointments, or that the enemy is too numerous, or too well entrenched, to justify an attack. Gen. McClellan's movements thus far have been characterized by extreme caution a quality, perhaps, which was required by the exigency of the times. He has shown great powers of organization, but that organization has not even yet been brought to the highest state of efficiency. It now remains to be proved whether he is possessed of that strategic skill, that power of wielding great masses, and throwing them with overpowering effect on a given point, which will entitle him to be enrolled among the great commanders. His onward course is beset with difficulties, but they are such as a great general, backed by the resources of the North, can overcome. In front, Beauregard has withdrawn to his entrenchments, about Manassas Junction, and Is busily engaged in preparing his Winter quarters. The nature of the intervening ground, between the hostile camps is impracticable for the maneuvering of a large force ; and his position, I have reason to believe, is so strong that it can be destroyed only by regular approaches which is a slow and tedious process. In the mean while, his communications with the South and West are such that he can concentrate men and munitions by rail, quite as rapidly as we can by the common roads of the country. It then becomes reduced to i . question of superiority of resources, at a point of eligibility, of the enemy's selection. I therefore predict that this season will not be made historical by another battle near Bull Run.

But there is a necessity of striking a blow. The period for field operations Is rapidly drawing to a close ; the country Is anxious to derive some practical results from all this expenditure of money, and this assemblage of me a and armaments. Capitalists begin to speculate as to the ultimate value of their investments, and the subalterns complain that thus lax they have been compelled to handle the shovel rather than the musket The blockade of the Potomac, and the obstruction of the canal, meanwhile seriously Interfere with the supplies of the army. Coal, forage, previsions, are all compelled to seek a transit over the single track of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway. The blockade must be raised as a military necessity, and I predict that the first blow win be in that direction. While the rebels are undoubtedly aware of this, and have made their dispositions to give us a warm reception, on the other hand I have reason to believe that such a combination of the army and navy will be effected as shall render our attack successful.

In looking over the whole ground, I am disposed to believe that the Army of the Potomac, with the exception of a demonstration on the enemy's right, will, until another season, remain in a fortified camp, Washington, guarded by 50,000 men In the entrenchments, is impregnable, and no one now believes that the enemy would be so presumptuous as to attempt to cross either above or below. I am not certain that this Is the best disposition which can be made of the army. Why should we attack the enemy under unequal conditions? Can we not select better battle fields than Bull Run, and Ball's Bluff, or Big Bethel t Have not these B. B.'s become already an augury of disaster?

There are those whose opinions are entitled to the highest consideration, who from the outset have believed that the true way to conquer the rebels is by assailing them along the seaboard and in the Valley of the .Mississippi. There is hardly a city between Norfolk and New-Orleans that is Impregnable against such an expedition as is now afloat upon the broad bosom of the Atlantic Such a power, hovering like a black cloud over the South, charged with lightnings, and sure to strike with terrific effect, bat no one knows where, must produce Infinite distraction among the rebels, and leave their territory free to invasion. This course of warfare leaves us masters of our own position, and assails "the institution" In its vital part.

Allow the West to recall the troops which the has contributed to the defense of the Capital, and where their services are no longer required except for an aggressive movement. Let them be transferred to Kentucky, which now promises to be the " dark and bloody ground." While Fremont has seized Springfield, which Is the gateway of Southwestern Missouri and Rosecrans holds the gaps of Western Virginia, an overwhelming force must be thrown Into Kentucky. Myself a Western man, and having inspected the while line of warfare from Missouri to the Atlantic, I regard the passage through Kentucky as the high road to success.'- Here transfer our ablest Genera! and our best disciplined troops, armed with the; most effective weapons. If We possess and hold the mountain line of Tennessee, at one of half a dozen, points, we sever the rebels communications between the East and West, we cut them off from the region of com and cattle, and we permit the Union sentiment of Western Tennessee again to find utterance.

Let this great movement be made according to lines of longitude and not of latitude. New-England and' the Middle States are adequate to the protection of the Capital, and even 'Co aggressive warfare ;' and if the' Administration will furnish the West with arms and ammunition, she will furnish the men who, within ; a twelvemonth, will achieve the conquest of the Mississippi Valley.



New York Times, “New York Times November 1, 1861,” Mapping the Civil War in Arlington, accessed September 24, 2023,

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