Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/363

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333
First Congress.

The contrast between our past and present condition is well calculated to inspire full confidence in the triumph of our arms. At no previous period of the war have our forces been so numerous, so well organized, and so thoroughly disciplined, armed, and equipped as at present. The season of high water, on which our enemies relied to enable their fleets of gunboats to penetrate into our country and devastate our homes, is fast passing away; yet our strongholds on the Mississippi still bid defiance to the foe, and months of costly preparations for their reduction have been spent in vain. Disaster has been the result of their every effort to turn or to storm Vicksburg and Port Hudson, as well as of every attack on our batteries on the Red River, the Tallahatchie, and other navigable streams. Within a few weeks the falling waters and the increasing heat of summer will complete their discomfiture and compel their baffled and defeated forces to the abandonment of expeditions on which was based their chief hope of success in effecting our subjugation. We must not forget, however, that the war is not yet ended, and that we are still confronted by powerful armies and threatened by numerous fleets; and that the Government which controls these fleets and armies is driven to the most desperate efforts to effect the unholy purposes in which it has thus far been defeated. It will use its utmost energy to arrest the impending doom, so fully merited by the atrocities it has committed, the savage barbarities which it has encouraged, and the crowning infamy of its attempt to excite a servile population to the massacre of our wives, our daughters, and our helpless children. With such a contest before us there is but one danger which the Government of your choice regards with apprehension, and to avert this danger it appeals to the never-failing patriotism and spirit of self-sacrifice which you have exhibited since the beginning of the war. The very unfavorable season, the protracted droughts of last year, reduced the harvests on which we depended far below an average yield, and the deficiency was unfortunately still more marked in the northern portion of the Confederacy, where supplies were specially needed for the Army. If through a confidence in early peace, which may prove delusive, our fields should be now devoted to the production of cotton and tobacco instead of grain and live stock, and other articles necessary for the subsistence of the people and the Army, the consequences may