James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
were easily made, most transactions were for cash, and nearly everyone engaged in trade or manufactures seemed to be getting rich. There must have been still considerable financial strength in reserve and, as the value of property depended largely on a stable government, ample funds for its maintenance would have been forthcoming in a supreme crisis. Even now, an element of confidence was to be seen in the large and constant purchases of our bonds by the Germans.
But the question of men was of far greater seriousness. In spite of the large immigration, labor was scarce and, in spite of the high cost of living, seemed to be well paid. The class of men who enlisted in 1861 and 1862 no longer came forward; the ranks were filled by mercenaries, part of whom were obtained from the steady influx of European immigrants and from robust sons of Canada, who contracted their service for a stipulated sum.1 Notwithstanding these sources of supply, able-bodied men in sufficient number were difficult to obtain. Many of the veterans, men of all ranks in Shermans army, the officers generally in all the armies; the militia from the Western States, originally organized as home guards, and now taking part in the defence of Washington, were from the best classes of their several communities; and sorrow now hanging over nearly every household from the casualties among these contingents, augmented the discouragement and gloom.2
Nor did Shermans operations lift the country out of its despondency. Successful though they were, they lacked a striking character, and while steadily making for the destruction of Johnstons army and the capture of Atlanta, had as yet accomplished neither of these objects. On July
Note 1. The conditions of the narrative obliged me to state this previously. [back]