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»Guerrilla Action

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A Few Figures

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History

May 11, 1861, page 290 (1-2)

At the time we write it seems likely that the Border Slave States, with the exception of Delaware and Maryland, will make common cause with the rebels against the United States Government. There is much talk about "neutrality" in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. In this case "neutrality" means a covert alliance with rebels, and treasonable willingness to supply them with aid and comfort. The Government will regard such "neutrals" as enemies, and will deal with them accordingly. Maryland aspires to a similar position of neutrality; but geographical necessity will compel the Government to lay hands on her at the outset of the war, and it is therefore not worth while to estimate her among the parties to the conflict. Delaware alone, of the Border Slave States, evinces loyalty to the Union.

The war which has now begun will therefore be waged by the Free States, on one side, against thirteen Slave States on the other, to wit: Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri.

The population of the Free States, by the census of 1860, amounts to 18,950,759;; the free population of the thirteen rebellious States to 7,657,395—considerably less than half that of their opponents.

In the Free States every man able to bear arms is at the service of the Government. In the rebellious States a certain number of men are required at home to keep in subjection 3, 912,096 slaves. By a law of Louisiana planters are obliged to keep on their plantations a sufficient force of white men to resists a negro insurrection. Custom renders the same practice imperative in the other Slave States. Thus, from the 7,657,395 whites of the rebellious States must be deducted a large body of adult males, who are required at home to defend the women and children from the negroes. It is with the balance only that the Government will have to deal.

In modern warfare, however, success is won not so much by numbers as by money. The longest purse, in the long-run, infallibly wins the day. The comparative wealth of the two sections thus becomes a matter of the highest moment. In the Banks of the States now constituting the Southern Confederacy, there is at present about $20,000,000 in specie: in the Banks of the Border States about $5,000,000 more. With the exception of the Banks of New Orleans, all the Banks of the Gulf States, of North Carolina, and of Virginia, and many of those of Tennessee and Kentucky, are insolvent, have suspended specie payments, and issue notes which are uncurrent except at an enormous discount. In the three cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, the Banks hold about $51,000,000 in specie, and the sub-treasuries and mint about $15,000,000 more. Notes of Western Banks, secured by deposits of Slave State stocks are greatly depreciated. But the currency of Pennsylvania, New York, and New England is at par. It is now well known that the attempt to negotiate $5,000,000 of Confederate Bonds, ten days ago, was a failure, notwithstanding the terrorism exercised by the rebel press. When our Government asked for $8,000,000, $34,000,000 were offered, notwithstanding the opposition of leading newspapers. The Southern Savings Banks contain so little money that the amount is not worth recording in statistical reports: in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, the working-classes have deposited some $130,000,000 in Savings Banks. The Government of the United States can borrow, without difficulty, and at a moderate rate of interest, a hundred millions a year at New York for two or three years, if so much be required to suppress the rebellion: the rebel Government can not borrow ten millions at home, or ten cents abroad. If, therefore, money be the sinew of war, as historians assure us, a very brief campaign must settle the question in favor of the North.

Mechanical appliances are as essential in war as men and money. In these the pre-eminence of the North is unquestionable. The Southern States are a purely agricultural region. Mechanical arts can not thrive side by side with slavery. There is a foundery at Richmond, Virginia, at which arms and munitions of war are manufactured, and there are one or two other small shops in other Southern States where Northern mechanics make a few guns. But, with sparse exceptions, every pistol, rifle, musket, cannon, bayonet, sword, and bowie-knife, and every pound of powder, every box of caps, every cartridge, every shell, every fuse, and every bullet or ball that is used by the Southern troops was made at the North, and can not be replaced at the South. From the hour the United States occupy the Richmond foundery, and blockade the Southern ports, the supply of arms to the rebels will be stopped. Every cartridge burned after that time will be an irretrievable loss. Nor is there any chance that founderies will be established at the South. Slaveholders dare not. The most magnificent pasture-lands in America are untilled because the Southern whites dare not trust their slaves with scythes to mow hay; much less could they suffer armories and factories to be established where negroes might obtain powder, ball, and edged tools. In the North, on the other hand, the prospect is that every adult male will, in the course of a few weeks, be supplied with the most perfect weapons of modern warfare, and that the highest efforts of mechanical skill and modern engineering talent will be at the service of the Government.

Again, in wars between regions which have both a large coast surface, much depends on the respective tonnage of the belligerents. In this respect the power of the Government is to the power of the rebels as four hundred to one. Where they have a thousand tons the Government has four hundred thousand. All the great steamships and clipper vessels, all the fast yachts, and the bulk of the small steamers and propellers are owned at the North. New York alone can fit out, in thirty days, a fleet sufficient to capture every Southern vessel and blockade every Southern port. Mr. Jefferson Davis committed a sad blunder in organizing a system of privateering. He may tempt half a dozen pirates to seize a few of our merchant ships. But he has certainly secured the ultimate extirpation of Southern vessels from the face of the deep. In six months from this time there will not be a craft afloat that will dare to hail from any port south of the capes of the Delaware.

What, then, can the South hope from this absurd rebellion?

 

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