The Victory in Tennessee.
The earlier dispatches in relation to the capture of Fort Henry underrated the importance of the brilliant achievement. Accounts from rebel sources represent that the subsistence stores deposited there, were sufficient to supply the garrison for several months, and they also represent that the confederates posted there were in full force. It is common talk at the scene of the success that very many of the fleeing soldiers were disaffected towards the rebel cause, and took that opportunity to give as marked an exhibition of it as they dared. It is plain that they are satisfied that it is useless to resist, or are constitutionally non combatants — an anomalous quality in Tennesseeans, — as history, public and private, well attests. That their leaders designed no ignoble surrender — or strategic feint in giving battle is shown by the determined resistance made by the occupants of the fort. The first impression produced here by the earliest dispatches was, that the confederate troops had retired sometime before the appearance of our fleet, with a view of making a stand at some more eligible site for land operations. But this view is dissipated by the immense quantity of stores and magazine supplies taken with the fort. It is probable that ere this they have been either captured or scattered by their pursers, who at our last dates were pushing rapidly on. We may count with the utmost certainty upon the fall of Fort Donelson, and of the speedy evacuation of Hopkinsville by the numerous force of rebels posted there, and who will scarcely be able to make good their escape, threatened as they are in rear as well as front. Heavy loyal reinforcements are being sent to the Cumberland river country, and Bowling Green is already so nearly hemmed in that no fears need be entertained from that quarter.
Everything points to a speedy termination of confederate resistance in Kentucky and Tennessee. The Memphis and Lexington railroad will soon be, and perhaps is now, ours. The plans for the reduction of Columbus must succeed; the navigation of the Mississippi will be reopened through a greater part of its southern extent; and all the great highways of southern supply be sealed against rebel transit and transportation in all the valley states which oppose the advance of our armies. It is not improbable that the northern frontier of Alabama will, within a very few days, witness the successful advent of the "invader" or deliverer — as divided sentiment there may choose to denominate the Union columns of the north. Such is the present stage of water in the Tennessee that boats of the deepest draft may ascend to Alabama, should such an advance be deemed important.
Meanwhile, Union operations are active in the southern Atlantic states, and in high confederate circles a sense of discouragement, if not utter despair, is evinced. Official rebel addresses have been published calling on the people to burn their houses, lay waste their plantations, destroy their crops and supplies, fire their villages and cities, their mills and factories — in short, render the whole south an uninhabitable desert. The women and children and slaves are conjured to enlist in this profitable and rational work, upon the approach of the northern hordes in conquering force. They profess to believe that these stirring appeals will stimulate the men to fight till the last man has fallen rather than succumb to the rule of the oppressor. Their rallying ery no longer partakes of the confident tone which characterized it at the opening of the conflict, but rather of the wail of blasted hopes and despairing ambition. While these rebel leaders thus suffer, the loyal citizens of the south are expecting to have a new song put in their mouths, set to a very different key-note.