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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 05, 1861

Newspaper Predicted Results of Manassas

The Richmond Times Dispatch printed an item on what they believed the result of the First Battle of Manassas would be. Some of their predictions were overly optimistic, but one was unfortunately correct - “Years of war will desolate our land, and misery fill our homes….”

Plain talk for the Lincolnites. The New York Day Book, of the 23d ult., comments as follows upon the Battle of Manassas: ‘After our first edition went to press yesterday, the rumors of the morning were fully confirmed. The Federal forces met an unexpected but severe and overwhelming defeat, and retreated upon their entrenchments at Washington. The causes are not fully known, but a correspondent of the Times says it was occasioned by a “masterly flank movement” of the Confederates. Jefferson Davis, it seems, assumed the command in person, and it can easily be imagined what enthusiasm this must have produced among his troops. Nearly all our artillery, a large amount of baggage, army stores, provisions, “c., have fallen into the hands of the Confederates. The Republican papers do not deny their defeat, but they profess to believe it will be a useful lesson for the future. We should hope it might be. The sorrow, the suffering, the misery entailed upon our people by this sad battle has filled our land with grief. Our citizens are shuddering to hear the details. There are few who have not friends among the killed and wounded, but it is remarkable how general is the unanimity among all classes, except the most rabid Republicans, that this slaughter has been occasioned by the reckless Abolition newspapers who drove General Scott, contrary to his earnest protestations, to make a forward movement. But of the past it is no use to speculate.–What of the future? Where are we now? Let us see. The terms of about 80,000 of our troops expire within a very short time. They are the very flower of our army. Their places cannot be filled by any better men, if so good. This defeat must prolong the time of another advance movement until fall. A large force and an immense sum of money are to be raised in the face of a severe defeat. Can it be done? The magic words, “defend the Capital,” have lost their power. The deception was played once, but can hardly be repeated again. Such is the condition in which this disastrous battle leaves the Federal Government. How does it leave the South? They have acquired the prestige of victory. It will inspire all her citizens with renewed courage.–It will give them greater confidence in their leaders, already almost unlimited. It will crush every disaffected voice in their borders. It will stimulate them to put forth all their resources, and beyond, places England and France entirely dependent upon them for the cotton crop, which may, and doubtless will, lead to their recognition. It is well to look calmly over the ground upon which we stand; and with as dispassionate an eye as we can command, these events seem to loom up out of the future, unless Lincoln turns square about, kicks over his present Cabinet, sets every negroite now in it afloat, reverses his policy, and submits to the decision of the Supreme Court. He must either do this or resign the Government. If neither, then the present effusion of blood is but an instalment of what is to come. Years of war will desolate our land, and misery fill our homes, all for the purpose of enabling the Abolition party to place their free negro construction upon the Constitution. When these men say that this war is for preserving the Constitution, they utter a falsehood as infamous as man can conceive of. If it was war for the principles our fathers contended for, it would be worth all that it might cost to triumph in it; but when it is a war upheld and instigated by such free negro traitors as Giddings, Chase, Sumner, Isoveioy, &c., &c., it is no less than sacrilege to mention it in the same breath with the glorious Constitution of Washington, Jefferson and Madison.’