[From the London Herald, (Derby organ,) July 15.]
It is no longer possible to doubt that McClellan's army has sustained a decisive defeat. Whatever lingering faith in the Army of the Potomac may have been kept alive by the ambiguous wording of New York telegrams, there is now no chance of concealing the misfortune that has befallen the Northern invader, or of sustaining the fiction of Northern invincibility. The second campaign closes as did the first, with disaster and humiliation to the Federal arms. * * * * *
Gen. McClellan commanded. Young and active, a great strategist on paper, a severe critic of our Crimean blunders, with unlimited powers at his back, and the unstinted confidence of the whole of the North to support him, his army saluted him as if with the sure presentment of victory, the Northern press could find no parallel for him save in the greatest soldier of modern days, and christened him the "Young Napoleon." But we venture to say that no General, either of ancient or modern times, ever achieved such small results with the magnificent material entrusted to him.—For months a few mud embankments and "quaker" guns served to keep Washington in terror, and when the order for advance was given, the grand army of the Potomac found the lines of Manassas deserted. McClellan's plans were upset. The Confederates were disobliging enough to insist upon choosing their own ground for fighting, and the Young Napoleon was nonplussed. But Richmond was to be taken somehow, and the point of attack was changed. Suddenly the great army was broken up, and the bulk of it transported to Yorktown peninsula. Those who knew their man at once declared the Young Napoleon's chances gone. There was some hope in the inert strength of his undivided force; very little in his own military skill. The events of the campaign in the Yorktown peninsula have removed all doubts about his claim to be considered a great commander. At Yorktown the Confederates retired, because it did not suit them to fight at a disadvantage. At Williamsburg he lost guns and prisoners, and publicly attributed the success he claimed to the valor of one brigade. At West Point more guns and more prisoners were lost, and again a timely brigade saved the honor of the army. At Fair Oaks a division was cut to pieces, its guns, camp and material captured, and now, from being the assailant, McClellan's army, or all that remains of it, is shut up between the Chickahominy and the James rivers, indebted to the protection of gunboats for escape from destruction or surrender. In one particular only has McClellan succeeded in resembling his great master—he has written excellent parodies of his dispatches.
[From the London Times, July 12.]
At the present it cannot be said that there is any probability of the reduction of Richmond. The Confederates, by using all the strength and rousing all the enthusiasm of the country, have brought together armies in Virginia with which the Federals find it impossible to cope. It is impossible to refuse admiration to a people which, invaded by a community three times as numerous as itself, and deprived of military supplies from foreign countries, is yet able not only to oppose a stubborn resistance to its enemies, but to take the offensive, and inflict on them the most severe defeats. The present situation of the two armies is likely to give the greatest encouragement to the South, and to raise to the highest pitch the resolution and the military pride of its people. They have defeated the Northern men in every battle of the war in which naval strength did not enter, and now the main army of the enemy is driven back and shut up in a narrow peninsula, where its communications are endangered and its power of doing harm to the Confederates is almost destroyed.—What must be the result of such a battle as has just been fought? Evidently that the Federals will have again to begin the siege of Richmond, with much worse chances than at first. A beaten army, which loses daily large numbers from fever and other maladies, encamped on a desert tract of land, debarred from all communication with the country beyond them, and the enemy's cavalry ever ready to take advantage of any weakness in their communications with the sea behind them, is not likely to gain any very important advantages in the midst of an American summer.