Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
MONDAY MORNING,. . . . . . . . . . .APRIL 3, 1865
We are now in the very crisis and agony of the campaign. Yesterday [April 2, 1865] may have been the decisive day of protracted fighting before Petersburg. Any hour may decide the fate of Richmond, if that fate be not already determined. It would be weak and idle to deny or blind ourselves to facts which stare us in the face. We cannot disguise the probability that Richmond may soon be in the hands of the enemy.
We had finally trusted that no military necessity, and no technical ideas of military necessity would separate the fortunes of Richmond for one moment from these of the Confederacy. It cannot be denied that the fall of Richmond would produce a depressing effect upon the spirits of the South. Her success in this war depends no less upon opinion than upon military strategy. What might be excellent strategy in the cold eye of military calculation, might be disastrous policy in its effects upon publick opinion. Success in this peculiar contest depends not upon mere generalship, but on statesmanship combined with military science. The Southern armies are composed not of mere soldiers, but of soldier citizens; they are not mere animated machines, but they are thinking and reflecting machines. It is therefore essential not merely to consider the effect of movements in a purely military point of view, but the effect also in a political aspect, upon that publick opinion which is the main spring of our whole military and political machinery.—We had trusted, therefore, that with reference to that publick opinion, with reference to moral results, no strategy would be adopted by our Generals and none forced upon them by circumstances, which would result in leaving Richmond out of the lines of the Confederate army.
If, however, the fortunes of war, and the necessities of the military situation should disappoint this fine[?] hope, this earnest expectation, it is useless to repine over the adverse fate. Let us accept the fortunes of war with the fortitude of men and patriots.1
- No title. Richmond Examiner. April 3, 1865, p. 1 col. 1-2 ↩