The New York Times sees a silver lining in the tough situation in Kentucky. Buell’s got a huge army there now, and they should be able to destroy Bragg’s army before the Confederates can withdraw back southward.
KENTUCKY THE WORK FOR BUELL
Kentucky begins to breathe freely again, though the rescue of her commercial metropolis from the threatened seizure of the enemy has cost the country dearly. Still we do not blame Kentucky, nor think that the fact of a successful rebel invasion leaves any stain on her loyalty. The State has furnished every volunteer demanded by the National Government for the general defence. And this, after losing many thousands of her unworthy young men, who were allured but too easily into the ranks of treason. An agricultural people, in the quiet pursuit of their usual farm avocations, are never expected to repel an armed enemy coming upon them in force. Hence, the fairest and most loyal portion of Kentucky deserves sympathy in its misfortune. If the nation loses much by what has occurred there, the population who have been despoiled lose in proportion much more.
The cost to the country is the abandonment of Huntsville, Ala., and all of Middle Tennessee, save the Capital of the State; the evacuation of Cumberland Gap by the gallant Gen. MORGAN, who so long held that gateway to loyal East Tennessee; the vast expense of moving Gen. BUELL’s army so far and so rapidly North, and the time that will be lost in regaining what he had to abandon.
Gen. BUELL should see to it that we quickly get back our own with interest. The Louisville Journal says that that city is now defended by an army of one hundred thousand men. Gen. MORGAN, who left Cumberland Gap, is said to have reached Richmond, Ky., with ten thousand men. We know there is no inconsiderable Union army at Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. Here is force enough to sweep down upon BRAGG wherever he is overwhelm him if he stands, or pursue him beyond the limits of any part of Tennessee, if he flies; and thus release East Tennessee forever from the presence and sway of the rebels.
It is supposed that BRAGG is trying to make his escape out of Kentucky by way of Cumberland Gap. If he gets to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky he may be joined by the rebel army that has just cleared out the Kanawha Valley, and thus become strong enough to dispute the possession of the State with BUELL. He should be allowed no time to choose his way out of the State, or to form eligible junctions in it. The force is in Gen. BUELL’s hands to crush the rebel army completely, or by driving it through and beyond East Tennessee, emancipate the long-oppressed loyalists there, and sever the railroad which has been from the beginning the strongest support of the rebellion. If this shall promptly be done, as the natural fruit and military sequence of BRAGG’s invasion and the massing of so great an army against him, the country will soon come to regard what seems a present misfortune, the happiest event of the war.