London, Saturday, April 5, 1862The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1138, p. 332.
April 5, 1862
The news from America is of a strange and perplexing kind. The sudden and grand movement of the army of the Potomac was an event in the war, and it excited the utmost interest all over the North. The details of the breaking up and onward march were truly spirit-stirring. It is true that the enemy did not wait to receive General M'Clellan, but completed a masterly retreat which left nothing but the soil and some abandoned fortifications to the Federals. On this account the young General has been severely attacked by a party in the North, though how he could prevent his enemy running away it is difficult to understand. We are sorry, too, to observe that such attacks proceeded from the Abolitionists, who have chosen to regard the General as a friend to the domestic institution, though, so far as we can learn, he seems to have adhered to the duty of a soldier, and to have known nothing except that there were enemies to be crushed. But the army moved, and a somewhat grandiose proclamation was put forth by General M'Clellan, inviting his men to follow him to their graves, if necessary, but not to wonder at any strange action of his, warning them that they had no light task before them, for that their enemies were brave men, and adding, "God smiles on us." The next news is that the hideous mud of the invaded country has made it impossible for the Federals to march; that their ranks are thinned, to a remarkable extent, by desertion, drunkenness, and death; and that their Commander is compelled to devise another route for them, by water, which seems to promise better, but which was by no means in the original programme. Beyond this very unsatisfactory report, and the statement that one of the Mississippi islands is being stoutly held by the South, while another victory of some magnitude has been gained by the Burnside expedition, there is little definite news; and it is not worth while subjecting to the crucible the heap of rumours which we receive touching the want of confidence in M'Cllellan, the reasons for the again confiding the command to the "tainted" Fremont, and the rest of the points which the American press—now far more sternly bound down by authority than the press in France—raises for the amusement of those for whom war news must not be provided.