The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, March 8, 1862

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1134, p. 244.

March 8,1862


A decisive and important victory gained by the Federals has naturally thrown the Northern States into great excitement. About this action there can be no mistake, and there is no need for exaggeration. Fort Donnelson has fallen after three days of hard fighting and very considerable slaughter on both sides. Three Confederate Generals are prisoners, with, it is said, 15,000 men; and General Floyd, with 5000 men, saved himself by a flight which is not considered "chivalrous."
Right and left, therefore, the forces of the Union are clearing their way, and their operations may speedily induce General M'Clellan to advance. It would appear that no time was to be lost, the victors in Tennessee were pushing onwards, and, though the character of the country rendered a check possible at any moment, it was not thought that they would meet serious opposition for some time to come. It is also reported that Savannah has fallen, and there is no improbability in the news. At length, therefore, the North may fairly be said to be putting out its strength in earnest and delivering the effective blows which might have been expected from the magnitude of its preparations. The Secretary at War has availed himself of these successes to rebuke in a stern Puritan tone the language in which various American writers have sought to imitate the Napoleonic bombast, which, as he says, began in "infidel France," and led the French up to Waterloo. There is no "organisation of victories," he says, the triumph being due to the spirit of the Lord putting valour into the soldiery of the North. But there is too much love for fine writing and grandiloquence in America to make the stern Secretary's reproof very effectual. We do not suppose that, in the present state of the American mind, any expressions of English admiration for the gallantry of the Federals will be received with favour; but we may put on record, to be read when all ill-feeling shall have subsided, that, apart from the satisfaction felt in England at any success obtained against the advocates of slavery, we are proud of the bravery of our cousins, and are ready to recognise in the endurance which they have displayed under trying circumstances an evidence that their relationship to the conquerors in the Crimea, India, and China, is more real than many will allow, We shall, of course, be told that these sentiments are curiously coincident with the success which is said, unfairly, to be the idol of England; but we will bear that, simply remarking that we have nothing to gain by a Northern triumph, whereas we might be commercially benefited by the establishment of the South.

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