Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE SPRING OF 1862--BATTLE OF SEVEN PINES OR FAIR OAKS

Indomitable Americanism, North and South -- Rally of the North after Bull Run -- Severity of winter quarters in Virginia -- McClellan's army landed at Yorktown -- Retreat of the Confederates -- On the Chickahominy -- Terrible slaughter at Seven Pines -- A brigade commander.

THE North had lost, the South had won, in the first bloody battle of the war, and all chances for compromise were obliterated, if indeed they had ever existed. The Northern army had been defeated and driven back beyond the Potomac, but the defeat simply served to arouse the patriotic people of that section to more determined effort. Party passion was buried, party lines were almost entirely erased, and party organizations were merged into the one compact body of a united people, led by the all-pervading purpose to crush out the Southern movement and save the Union. With that tenacity of will, that unyielding Anglo-Saxon perseverance -- or, I prefer to say, that indomitable Americanism -- for which the people of the United States are so justly famed, the North rose superior to the disaster, and resolved, as did old Andrew Jackson, that "the Union should be preserved."

The South, on the other hand, greatly encouraged by the victory, bowed at its altars and thanked Heaven for this indication of ultimate triumph. Her whole people, with an equally tenacious Americanism, and fully per

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