The following significant article from the Richmond Examiner of the 16th inst., shows that the rebels are uncomfortably oppressed by the view of their present situation:
* * * “While the political leaders of the South have been reposing in dreams of approaching peace and while our accomplished captains of engineers have been expending their remarkable scientific ingenuity in the erection of works as wonderful, and almost as extensive and quite as valuable as the Chinese wall to resist invading forces from a given direction, the enemy have gradually and at leisure gathered up their immense resources and concentrated their tremendous energies to envelope the Confederacy with their armies and fleets and to penetrate the interior from some one of many alternate points. Although they can now do nothing, they have their general programme in perfect order for execution when the weather changes in the ordinary course of the earth around the sun and it this moment we find ourselves in the face of superior forces wherever we look whether to the North, the East, or the West, or the South itself. General Sydney [sic] Johnston has to strain every nerve to prevent the military as well as the geographical heart of the country from slipping out of his grasp. Generals Joseph Johnson [sic] and Beauregard are held by McClellan on the Potomac as in a vice. A gigantic armament is ready to attempt the descent of the Mississippi, and their fleet on the Atlantic seacoast and the Gulf are too freshly before the attention to require remembrance. Such are the fruits of a policy purely defensive. Without even the hesitancy which would come of a possible interruption, the enemy have thus surrounded the Southern Confederacy, and if permitted to repeat as often as may be desired their efforts to penetrate its heart, they will necessarily attain the place and the time where success awaits them.
“There is now but one chance of success from the net that has been coolly drawn around us. – it is to concentrate our energy on one point, and cut it through, to convert our defensive into an offensive war, and transfer the scene of at least part of these hostilities to the enemy’s own country. Situated as we are it is only possible at one point – and that is Kentucky. If the forces that we are dispersing to the four corners of the continent every day to meet the new menaces were collected under the hand of General Sydney Johnson [sic] till a column was formed sufficient to enable him to manoeuvre with some possibility of success over the plains of that region he might hurl back the army in front of him, at present, and penetrate the State of Ohio. The attainment of the object would render worthless all the plans of the enemy. The circle of armies would be in the condition of the constrictor whose back has been broken, the scene of war would be transferred to his own territory, and everyone who has witnessed the ravages of armies in any of the invaded districts of Virginia knows what a precious blessing is designated in that brief phrase. He would be attacked beyond his defences. The alarm and confusion of the United States would paralyze its Government and its Generals, and the entire arrangement by which we suffer now and dread great disasters in future would be immediately reversed.
“At present Gen. Johnson confronts superior forces of the enemy under Buell, one of the most cautious painstaking and able Generals on the other side. General Buell has now; immediately in front of Johnson, an army of seventy six thousand men (Yes, 110, men – Eps) and can bring to bear on us, and other given points, thirty thousand more. What the Confederate commander has may not be stated, but it is probably enough to hold his present strong position against any numbers that might attack him there or pass him on either side, get to his rear and cut off his supplies. This he can do by leaving a sufficient army in front of Gen. Johnson while he can still send upon the right or left flank a force as large as he leaves behind. That this is the plan of Buell is now no longer doubtful. He has placed a force of 8,000 men at Glasgow, thirty miles to the eastward of Bowling Green threatening the rear of Gen. Johnson while it is within easy supporting distance of two other posts held in strong force by the enemy. If the plan of Buell is successful it may result in a great disaster. To defeat him it is absolutely necessary that more men should at once be sent to Bowling Green. Gen. Johnson must have a force sufficient to attack Buell in front with a good chance of success and by so doing will not only defeat his scheme on the centre of the Confederacy, but immediately transfer the war to the State of Ohio, and thus save the whole South from the great danger of being overrun in the first fine weather of the coming spring.
“We are satisfied that, beyond the flattering possibilities of a foreign intervention, the only rational hope we can entertain of a speedy termination of this war, is to be found in an offensive campaign across the Ohio, from the point that Gen. Johnson now defends. The best line of advance imaginable to strike at the vitals of the North which are the Lake States, is that through Kentucky. The country is a plain, the people are not actively hostile, supplies without stint and the great resources of the North are beyond. The enemy understand this and are making tremendous efforts to secure Kentucky to them without the possibility of escape. This season of inaction, from the inclemency of the skies, is a precious boon of Providence to us, we can now determine on a plan, and prepare for its execution in a short time, that will render naught and abortive all the costly and complicated devices of the adversary.”
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 1, 1862, p. 4