Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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The General Look-Out


January-February 1865

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, January 6, 1865.


Had the rebels obtained control of the entire Mississippi, and so occupied it with gunboats as to cut off Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and the rest of the loyal territory west of the Mississippi, from communication with the East; had they then pushed one of their largest and best armies, under their most skillful General, across the border, and, after capturing Pittsburgh, moved on to the lakes; and were they now in possession of Buffalo, from it, as a base, threatening Cleveland and Chicago; were they, with another army, investing Washington; while, in power upon the ocean, they had succeeded in blockading every one of our ports, except New York, where their fleet was engaged in throwing shot and shell into the battery and Fort Lafayette—in these circumstances we would conclude the loyal cause to be “under a cloud,” as one of the Richmond journals expresses itself in speaking of Confederate affairs. Yet such a picture faintly portrays the desperate condition to which the rebel cause is now reduced.

The Mississippi is ours from end to end, including New Orleans, Memphis, and all the other river cities and towns, while our gunboat fleet insures our permanent possession. This effectually severs the Confederacy in twain, cutting off the disloyal districts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas from the rebel possessions east of the river, almost as thoroughly as if they belonged to a different continents. But this is not the only amputation the rebel Confederacy has undergone. Dr. Sherman, as if with a single stroke of his sword, has sundered it in two elsewhere, and in a still more vital part. He has pierced into, penetrated through, its very bowels. Having secured Savannah, he is now in a secure position to strike at Charleston, Mobile, or almost any other sensitive point, left to Secessia. Grant has Richmond, the Confederate Capital and stronghold, within his reach, and almost within his power, while our supremacy upon the ocean enables us to blockade every rebel seaboard town, and our monitors are keeping themselves in practice, by an interesting bombardment of Fort Fisher in the harbor of the only port which has for a long time given the rebels a taste of foreign commerce.

Nor does this by any means exhaust the case. Think of our principal inland towns, as Indianapolis, Columbus, and Harrisburg, being garrisoned by the enemy, our great lines of railroad cut at so many points that they had become useless for national purposes, and great bands of rebel raiders riding through the country pretty much at will, and you will have some conception of the present condition of Dixie.

The prospect for the Confederacy is certainly very gloomy. The only thing which keeps the rebel Government intact, is the heartless absolutism of Jeff. Davis & Co., its proprietors and business managers. By exercising a perfect tyranny over the Southern people, Davis and his associates are enabled to force every man into their service, and of course make all the resources of the South available for their purposes. But this is a fearfully exhaustive process, and must soon break down the whole concern. Such a result, it is manifest enough, must be rapidly approaching when the rebel leaders are driven to the disagreeable alternative of taking their slaves, their pride and their wealth, the boasted badges of their separate nationality, and the treasured jewels of their private superiority, and putting them in the ranks of their armies to become “food for Yankee powder.” Vastly milder has been the pang with which the Southern people have given their sons to become a prey to the great war Moloch, than the one they will experience, when called upon to surrender their slaves. But the demand is made. Negroes, as well as sons, must be given up, or the Confederacy dies. And even this surrender does not insure its safety, but may, and probably will accomplish its more speedy downfall. The negroes of the South have been the breadwinners. They have fed and clothed the rebel armies. When they enter the ranks their usefulness as commissaries is at an end. It is the business of soldiers to destroy, not to accumulate, and this rule will hold good as well among blacks as whites. In taking the negroes from the corn and cotton fields, therefore, the rebels are tearing away one of the main props upon which their entire fabric has rested. Certainly every promise is bright for the Union—every prospect foreboding to the Confederacy.