American History Stories—Volume IV - Mara L. Pratt

The Sea-Island Cotton Plantations

After this defeat of the Union forces, the South was in high spirits. They thought the war was as good as ended in this one battle; but they did not know, as well as they did later, what the Northerners were made of, if they imagined one defeat would make them give up the "Union."

These soldiers, who had enlisted only for three months, were now, many of them going home; but other troops were pouring in from every town and village of the North. The North was indeed awake now. Now a great army was raised, and put under the charge of General McClellan, one of the finest military officers of the war. He very soon got his army into such fine order that they moved about as if they had been brought up, every one, from babyhood, in battle lines. This army was called the "Army of the Potomac." The only fault that was ever found with this army was that all this long fall and winter the army lay idle, except for two or three little battles of no great importance.

[Illustration] from American History Stories - IV by Mara L. Pratt


Every evening, as the Northerner sat down to read his evening paper, he read, "All quiet along the Potomac." This was well enough for a time; but as week after week passed, the North began to complain. Still, all remained "quiet along, the Potomac"—until at last the very sound of the sentence came to excite indignation and anger among the waiting Northerners.