James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
will the country say! What will the country say!1 On the same day [May 6] Sumner came from the extremely dejected President to Welless office and raising both hands, exclaimed Lost, lost, all is lost!2
Owing to the censorship of the telegraph by the War Department, the news of the disaster at Chancellorsville reached the North slowly. When its full extent became known, discouragement ruled. Many men who were earnest in support of the war now gave up all hope that the South could be conquered. Nothing demonstrates more painfully the sense of failure of the North to find a successful general than the serious and apparently well-considered suggestion of the Chicago Tribune that Abraham Lincoln take the field as the actual commander of the Army of the Potomac. We sincerely believe, the writer of this article concluded, that Old Abe can lead our armies to victory. If he does not, who will?3
Nevertheless, the gloom and sickness at heart so apparent after the first and second Bull Run, the defeat of McClellan before Richmond and the battle of Fredericksburg, are not discernible after Chancellorsville in nearly the same degree. It is true that the newspapers were now become a less accurate reflection of public sentiment than in the earlier stages of the war. A great deal of editorial writing was being done unmistakably for the purpose of keeping up the readers hope; but even after the evidence of the newspapers is corrected by the recollections of contemporaries as printed or as existing only in tradition, it is impossible to escape the inference that the depression was different in kind and in measure from that which had prevailed on other occasions. Business, which had begun to improve in the autumn of 1862, was now decidedly brisk. An era