The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, August 24, 1861

The Illustrated London News, vol.39, no. 1104, .

August 24,1861

Our kith and kin on the other side of the Atlantic are beginning to graduate in their self-constructed new school—war. It was a very pretty pageant as long as it was confined to strutting about in fantastic uniforms, winning the smiles of the New York beauties and fulminating furious tirades in newspapers. It is quite another thing now when what might have been a substantial success, or, at the worst, a drawn game, at Bull Run, has been converted into a stampede, in which "devil take the hindmost" seems to have been the only order of the day. Nothing comes out clearer now than that the ill-starred attack of the Northern men was undertaken in obedience to unwarlike and inexperienced politicians, and in utter defiance of the advice of the very few men of actual military experience who have commands in their army. A more wholesome condition of affairs has been inaugurated by the Bull Run rout. The three months' men are abandoning their posts in favour of volunteers who consider three years a far more reasonable allotment of time for fair drilling; and the American press generally has come to an understanding with the General, which tardily recognises the impolicy of publishing for your antagonist's benefit a daily programme of your movements and intentions, and the public of the States are universally recognising the truth and weight of the axiom so often laid down and so repeatedly laughed at by the public before the days of our volunteer corps by officers of experience, that drill—drill—drill—is essential to the formation of an efficient soldier. Drill reduced to practice means the almost mechanical movement of the human machine in one direction or another, instantaneously consequent on the utterance of the word of command, whether by mouth or bugle. It is in this that the Northern levies were deficient, and it was for want of this that they were routed—a good lesson to our own volunteers, which Colonel M'Murdo has not been slow to impress on them.

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