The Illustrated London News

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London, Saturday, May 31, 1862

The Illustrated London News, vol. 40, no. 1147, p. 549.

May 31, 1862


Victories, such as they are, but at all events successive occupations of positions lately held by the Confederates, are reported by every American mail, and there seems little ground to doubt that the cause of the South is, in a military point of view, hopeless. The Confederates are pressed at all points by the enormous forces opposed to them, and, whether they gain a battle here or repulse an attack there, such items will go for nothing in the general account. The Merrimac, hitherto valued as equal to an army of 50,000 men, has been blown to pieces to prevent her falling into Federal hands, and all other war material at Norfolk has been similarly dealt with, though it is alleged that the Federal commanders might have prevented the destruction by some display of the dash which has been so singularly deficient in this war. General M'Clellan was, by the last advices, stated to be pursuing the Confederate force that so hastily abandoned the peninsula where the work of Sebastopol was to have been done over again, and, from the positions of the armies that were to support him, there seemed every chance of that portion of the Southern force being checkmated. Only where Halleck and Beauregard continue to look at one another was there hope for the Confederates, and this hope was not worth much amid the circumstances of the campaign. But anxiety as to the Federal army was openly expressed, and Government had forbidden the publication of any news from Corinth. Mr. Jefferson Davis had named a day for humiliation and prayer. The bitter hatred of the South for the "Yankee" was becoming more deep and deadly, and it is manifest that, though the Confederation may be suppressed by force of arms, no reunion, in the true sense of the word, can be possible. As if to make the breach wider, the Senate had passed a bill enfranchising the slaves in all the Territories, and the threat was that all the States that did not at once rejoin the Union in a loyal way should be reduced to the territorial condition. Flushed with conquest, the North announces that it never can again be the peaceful nation which it curiously discovers itself always to have been, and begs England to revise her rule of behaviour; to avoid abolition talk; to dismiss Ministers who are disliked in the States; and by such submissions to avoid the anger of the now martial Republic. We are, of course, duly schooled, but have not sent back the Emily St Pierre.

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