2

The Baptism of Blood.

No great and lasting good is ever gained except at an immense cost. The bloody lines that mark the advance of our armies toward the rebel capital show the fearful price we must pay for the perpetuity of the Republic and the preservation of our liberties. Rejoicing in the brightening prospect, we still weep for our fallen braves, never more to return to enjoy with us the peaceful fruits of their sufferings and sacrifices. "'Tis sweet for one's country to die," sung the ancient poets, and the soldiers of the present day verify the truth of the statement. The voice of our country is to us the voice of God. The founders of our beneficent system of Government poured out their blood like water to establish it; for its preservation we can not, we will not, do less. On a hundred hard fought battlefields of this second Revolution, Northern valor and Southern mettle have met in deadly conflict. Though with varying fortunes, the spirit of liberty is undaunted, the star of our hope in the ascendant. Even while the mighty conflict between the grand massed armies of the two contending forces is raging and the momentous issue still doubtful, we have an unwavering faith in the ultimate triumph of the right. The sanguinary scenes of mortal combat upon the gory fields of Virginia will finally purge her from the curse of blood and bondage under which she has so long groaned. The "Mother of Presidents" will sit "clothed and in her right mind" when the devil of Secession shall have been cast out. Rebaptized with the baptism of fire and blood, she will ever hereafter remain true to her covenant vows, loyal and loving among the bright sisterhood of States.

But Virginia is not alone to reap the benefits of this fiery trial. It is simply the chosen battle ground where Liberty and Freedom are to hold the great prize fight. The red lines which mark the course of the gory river of death all along "the front," from the furthest bounds of Texas to the Atlantic, here seem to enlarge into an ocean into which the sullen stream pours its crimson tide. The accumulated horrors of the rebellion are here massed in a mighty pile of chaos, surpassing in hideousness the darkest dungeon on the infernal regions. We look right.

"Into the jaws of death,
Into the mouth of hell."

And the fearful fight still goes on. Forty thousand of our fellow citizens, the best and the bravest in the land, immolated upon the altar of our country, sacrificed to the bloody Moloch of despotism and slavery! And yet the murderous work grows fiercer and hotter. Death seems never to be sated. The funeral pyre blazes high. Men bleed and die that the Republic may live and flourish. Loved ones at home, worn with weary watchings, oh, how long! await the dreaded intelligence, perhaps, that their dearest earthly friends will return no more to gladden the family circle with the music of their "footsteps and the cheer of their pleasant words. The suspense is painfully protracted. Now and then as our armies break through a rebel line of defense, and advance a few miles nearer their destined goal, we feel a sensible relief. We know there is to be no retrograde movement.

But what is to compensate us for this immense expenditure of precious life? Will it pay? Yes, a thousand fold — commercially, politically, socially, every way. The rebellion is none of our getting up. The issue was forced upon us and we could not, if we would, do otherwise than meet it like men. If the Union is successful it removes the fell cause of all our woe forevermore. The Pandora's box, from which flow these mischiefs, will be broken up and destroyed. The overshadowings of slavery will be dissipated by the rising sun of Liberty. Peace and plenty will smile upon the broad acres of our land, industry spring into renewed life and energy, and the good old Government established by our fathers, retouched and reburnished, stand forth in towering beauty and grandeur, resplendent, blessed, and blessing the world!