Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 16

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Secondary Scholarship | 2007
Transcription unquestionably their intention. It is also unquestionable that they are making
vast preparations for the fall campaign upon the coast. Everything afloat that
can act as a transport or carry a gun, is being pressed into the Government
service, is being overhauled and set in order for the coming work. Nor is this
by any means all, or the most important, preparations they now have afoot.
In Boston and elsewhere, every available means is being employed to
construct a large fleet of light draft iron-clad gun boats things made to
stand and give hard knocks. To any ordinary battery they are impervious;
whilst they will be mounted with superb guns, rifled cannon of the best
make, and 15-inch columbiads.
Their proposition is to devastate the whole line of our coast, burn our
crops, lay waste our properties, carry off our slaves, and amidst innumerable
outrages upon our people of all classes and of both sex, to bum our towns
and cities, and drive us across the mountains.
It is not our purpose to produce unpleasant impressions, or needlessly to
give occasion to uneasiness. These are simple, unadorned facts. It is useless,
it may be fatal, to close our eyes to facts because they are disagreeable to
reflect upon or believe.
Since the uprising of all the devilish feelings of the North against the
Southern people and the inauguration of this war of subjugation, it has been
plain there was but one military policy by which this coming war first upon
our coast, and afterwards in the interior of this State could have been
prevented. And that method has not been pursued.
It was by a sharp and vigorous aggressive policy on our borders, pushing
the war into the heart of the enemy's country, and transferring the field of
contest outside of our own limits. A different course has been pursued, and
the Fabian plan of campaign has been adopted the watch-and-wait policy,
both in organization and in strategy. With what discretion, or under what
necessity, it is not our purpose in this article to discuss. The result of the
policy, however, cannot be questioned by any intelligent man. It is to
prolong the war sufficiently to attempt the devastation of the Southern coast,
until the war be finally closed. A prompt, vigorous and dashing campaign of
aggression, extending from the Confederate borders outward, and a thorough
drubbing of the enemy in two or three pitched battles with our superior
volunteers, could alone have frustrated their scheme in reference to our
coast. Disheartened and occupied with taking care of themselves, they would
have had far more important matters to themselves to look after, than making
diversions down here to burn and ravage. But, under existing circumstances,
and the backwardness in preparation, it does not seem probable to anticipate
any such decided results before frost.
The occasion is, therefore, eminently pressing upon the people of South
Carolina to look to their protection. Their security is very, very far from
being effected. For in all human probability there will be heavy and