From the 5 April 1905 issue of The New York Times.


Wartime Sarcasm Recalled.

Writing for the Pittsfield (Mass.) Eagle, JAMES MCKENNA attacks what is certainly more than a common impression, both North and South, that in the latter part of the civil war ROBERT E. EE was General in Chief of the Confederate forces. To prove that this impression is inaccurate Mr. MCKENNA quotes “General Order No. 23,” issued Feb. 24, 1864, from “The War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Richamond,” by the terms of which “Gen. BRAXTON BRAGG is assigned to duty at the seat of Government, and, under the direction of the President, is charged with the conduct of hte military operations in the armies of the COnfederacy.” This technically proves Mr. MCKENNA’S contention, perhaps, but the facts remainmuch as everybody has always understood them, and of much more interest is a quotation made by him from an editorial article printed in The Richmond Examiner the morning after this selection was announced. The Examiner didn’t like BRAGG, but both the time and the place counseled caution in expressing dissatisfaction with President DAVIS’S official acts, and therefore it resorted to sarcastic praise. “The judicious and opportune appointment of Gen. BRAGG,” it said, “to the post of Commander in Chief of the armies will be appreciated as an illustration of that strong common sense which forms the basis of the Prersident’s character, that regard for the feelings and opinions of the country, and respect for the Senate, which are the keys to all that is mysterious in the conduct of our public affairs. The Confederate armies cannot fail to be well pleased. Every soldier’s heart feels that merit is the true title to promotion, and that glorious service should inspire a splendid reward.” Then, after a few feeling references to Lookout Mountain and “the conqueror of Kentucky and Tennessee,” The Examiner added in conclusion: “Finally, this happy announcement should enliven the fires of confidence and enthusiasm reviving among the people, like a bucket of water on a newly kindled grate.” The chief value of this bit of eloquence is the evidence it supplies that there were differences of opinion in the South as in the North, during the war, and that those who think of each as a unit assailing the other have simply fallen into the error of substituting legend for history. There were several Souths, as there were several Norths, and the big conflict cannot be thoroughly understood if the smaller conflicts which combined to determine its line of motion are forgotten.