Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Letter From The Secretary Of War

To the Editor of the N. Y. Tribune.

SIR:  I cannot suffer undue merit to be ascribed to my official action. The glory of our recent victories belongs to the gallant officers and soldiers that fought the battles. No share of it belongs to me.

Much has recently been said of military combinations and organizing victory. I hear such phrases with apprehension. They commenced in infidel France with the Italian campaign, and resulted in Waterloo. Who can organize victory? Who can combine the elements of success on the battlefield? We owe our recent victories to the Spirit of the Lord that moved our soldiers to rush into battle, and filled the hearts of our enemies with terror and dismay. The inspiration that conquered in battle was in the hearts of the soldiers and from on high; and wherever there is the same inspiration there will be the same results. Patriotic spirit, with resolute courage in officers and men, is a military combination that never failed.

We may well rejoice at the recent victories, for they teach us that battles are to be won now and by us in the same and only manner that they were won by any people, or in any age, since the days of Joshua, by boldly pursuing and striking the foe. What, under the blessings of Providence, I conceive to be the true organization of victory and military combination to end this war, was declared in a few words by General Grant's message to General Buckner – “I propose to move immediately on your works!"

Yours, truly,


– Published in the New York Daily Tribune, New York, New York, Thursday, February 20, 1862, p. 4

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