Thursday, November 21, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, February 16, 1862

CAMP PIERPONT, VA., February 16, 1862.

Sergeant1 writes that your mother appears softened at Oby Wise's2 death. I must confess if lives are to be sacrificed less sympathy should be shown for those who have plunged us into this difficulty, with their eyes open, and Oby Wise by his writings and conduct was as influential in bringing on the war as any one in his sphere could be. It appears he lost his life in attempting to escape in a boat. Had he surrendered when the day was lost, he would not have sacrificed his life. I think the rabid feeling you describe as existing against McClellan is confined to a certain party, and they are in the minority; though being very loud and noisy in their abuse, would seem to be formidable. I don't think they can succeed in their attempts to displace him. I am now very anxious to hear from Fort Donelson.3 A reverse there at the present moment would be very unfortunate; and I trust Halleck has arranged matters so as to render success in all human probability certain. The attack has, however, been in progress for four days, which is time enough for it to have fallen, provided it can be carried by assault. Perhaps to-morrow we shall hear something, but the absence of all news to-day is not favorable. We had quite a fall of snow yesterday, and neither the weather nor the roads indicate much prospect of our moving. Foolish people consider the war over because we have had a few victories, but I consider it just begun. I believe, though, if we continue to be as fortunate as we have recently been, that it will not be long before the other side will have enough of it. There are many signs indicating that the people in the South are beginning to be tired, and if we can only inflict two or three really severe blows on them, breaking up their armies, I don't believe they will be able to gather them together again in any formidable numbers. Let us hope and pray for such a result and not mind the idle clamor of bad or foolish people.

1 Son of General Meade.

2 Son of Henry A. Wise.

3 Fort Donelson, twelve miles from Fort Henry, captured February 16, 1862. The Federal forces, under Brigadier-General U. S. Grant and Commodore A. H. Foote, defeated the Confederate troops under General J. B. Floyd. Federal loss, killed, wounded, and missing, 2,832 (O. R.).

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 246-7

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