James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
one can foresee the issue of a great battle. And a rapid outbreak is, on the whole, more favorable to us than delay. In a little over a fortnights time, Moltke had a Prussian army more than twice as large as the French on the French frontier.1
Had either South or North had the comparatively imperfect preparation of France, with no similar development on the part of the other, that side would have swept everything before it. Had both South and North had the perfect organization of Prussia, the war might have been shorter. But the Prussian military system was impossible in the United States and even if possible, it would not have been considered worth while. The Americans, like the Athenians of the time of Pericles, then preferred to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training.2
Davis, in his message of April 29 to his Congress, maintained that Lincolns call for 75,000 troops was a declaration of war against the Confederacy and he asked them to devise measures for their defence. Arguing that each State was sovereign and in the last resort the sole judge as well of its wrongs as of the mode and measure of redress, he justified secession and the formation of the Confederate States. We feel that our cause is just and holy, he declared. All we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will, this we must, resist to the direst extremity. Davis as President was obliged to make the best out of a situation which he regarded with considerable misgiving. He had been averse to war and had wished his Southern brethren less precipitate. Toward the end of June
Note 1. Ollivier, XV; de la Gorce, VI; Walpole, II; Ency. Brit. article Leboeuf; La Rousse, ibid.; von Sybel; Bismarck. [back]