Marx-Engels Correspondence 1862

Engels To Marx
In London

Source: MECW Volume 41, p. 358;
First published: in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913.

Manchester, 5 May 1862

Dear Moor,

There was no end of trouble at the office last week, on top of which I didn’t feel very well, hence didn’t manage to write. Friedländer’s magnanimous letter returned herewith. Those people have peculiar ideas of London!

As to the Tribune, I saw in the Manchester Examiner and Timesliterary gossip an item to the effect that Dana is resigning from the Tribune ‘On account of Differences of Opinion with Mr Horace Greeley. So, that old jackass with the face angelic seems to have been behind it all. But I wouldn’t let the fellows off just like that without at least writing to Dana, asking for further elucidation as to what it all means and who is now managing the Tribune in his place, so that you know whom you are to have recourse to. If the chaps want to sever the connection, at least get them to say so; I wouldn’t just tamely put up with indirect hints. If you were subsequently to go to another New York journal, they could always say that you were being disloyal to them. Besides, they must surely give a reason.

Borkheim writes to say that he has paid the balance of the money, so I hope you will be saved from arrest.

Ad vocem Ariadne, there’s no doubt I'm right. All the old constellations still exist on the modern charts. What Diodorus maintains is not authoritative. The fellow wasn’t an astronomer. Moreover, it was a question of the wording. I betted on constellation. But subsequently it struck me, too, that she figures among the recently discovered asteroids; that, however, has absolutely nothing to do with the case, of course.

What I want besides the War Department estimates (for 1862) is a paper laid before Parliament which sets out the new organisation of the Indian native army (as it has existed since 1861) (i.e., the number of regiments with their old and new names and in what way these have been retained or renumbered).

Can you send me The Free Press for April? I shall try and get hold of the May issue up here.

As regards America:

1. Battle of Corinth. May be classed with all well fought major modern battles, in which the antagonists have been of approximately equal strength. Eylau, Wagram, Lützen, Bautzen (admittedly the French were much stronger here, but, being without cavalry, they were incapable of pursuit), Borodino, Magenta, Solferino. The battle, to use Clausewitz’s words, smouldered away like damp powder, exhausting both sides, and, when it was over, the positive advantages gained by the victorious side were of a moral rather than a material nature. At all events, the momentary advantage gained by Beauregard on Sunday was more intensive and much greater than that gained by Grant and Buell on Monday. The bulk of the trophies went to the Confederates, even though they were ultimately beaten, i.e., compelled to forego their attack and withdraw. That is the tactical aspect. But the strategic one is this:

Beauregard had concentrated all the troops he could get hold of so as to pounce on the approaching Federal divisions, one by one when possible. This miscarried; the troops under Grant, Buell and Wallace were sufficient to repulse him. Had they lost this battle, the Federals would have lost Tennessee; now they have kept it. It was thanks only to the redoubts at Corinth that Beauregard was not at once compelled to move further south. Whether these earthworks are capable of protecting him from an attack by Halleck (who has now assumed command), there is no way of telling. No more can we credit the rumour that he has received massive reinforcements from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. If this is to some extent the case, they can certainly be nothing but raw recruits, who will be more of a hindrance to him than a help. On the other hand, the forces at Pittsburg Landing were so close to being evenly matched that, without reinforcements, Halleck, too, will find it difficult to carry out an assault on a fortified camp or undertake some other major offensive operation. We don’t know what troops the Federals still have in Tennessee or Kentucky, other than those engaged at Pittsburg Landing, so it’s hard to say what the odds are. In the meantime, the Unionists have cut the railway from Memphis to Chattanooga (i.e., to Richmond, Charleston, Savannah), both to the west as well as to the east of Corinth. Consequently, Beauregard is restricted to one railway (to Mobile and New Orleans), and the question arises whether his troops will be able to subsist in Corinth for any appreciable time.

2. Virginia. Hero McClellan is in a dead fix. I think this will mark the passing of his spurious glory. He has had another division transferred to him from McDowell, but that won’t help him much. All that can save him are the ironclads, yet another of which (the Galena) has sailed for Monroe. Concerning this topic, see today’s Morning Star, American news; of great interest to Austria. You will also learn from it why, not long ago, the Monitor lay quietly at anchor when the Merrimac, the Yorktown, etc., seized the 3 transports. If they cleared the rivers to right and left and engaged the flanks and rear with their guns, these ships could once again save this jackass or traitor, in the same way as the gunboats at Pittsburg Landing saved Sherman (who had nothing but young troops, who had never been under fire before).

3. Mountain Department . Frémont is still at Wheeling, the result being that the mountainous portion of south Virginia as well as east Tennessee is still in enemy hands. I.e., the very best Union regions! Impossible to explain why. At all events, the Confederate regiment that was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, as recently as the beginning of April, will doubtless go over at the first shot.

Bonaparte is up to his tricks again in America. He'll take good care not to stir up that hornet’s nest. Before the year was out (vide ‘Morning Star'), his ironclads and likewise all French merchantmen would be gone from the ocean, and then farewell to pleasure!

Apropos. You will have seen in today’s Standard (or Morning Herald) that General Hecker has become chief nigger catcher (Manhattan). Be sure to keep the paper.

What do you make of the Prussian elections? So colossal is the government’s defeat that it’s tantamount to a decisive victory, for the same. For it can only drive handsome William to extremes. Now they are sending him nothing but democrats! The Hamburger Correspondent as well is already saying that, under the present electoral law, there is nothing to be done and that it is impossible to govern. The worthy Twesten has already completely relapsed into parliamentary cretinism and wants to move a vote of no confidence in the ministers. At any rate, troubles are mounting, and the tide is rising.

How is little Jenny placed for wine? Tell me which kinds Allen usually recommends. I can now send you some port as well, old, light, no spirits, which I highly recommend; but only after it has been well filtered, for the crust has loosened.

Warm regards.

F. E.