Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/17
Relative Strength of the Armies of General Lee and Grant.
rights, there is still left one resource on earth for the vindication of their conduct and character: that adopted by England's great philosopher—an appeal to "foreign nations and to the next age." A persistent and systematic effort to falsify the truth of history has been made, since the close of the late war in this country, by the adherents of the United States Government in that conflict; and such a generous desire to vindicate the truth as that evinced by your recent articles upon the death of General Lee, has awakened a deep sense of gratitude in the hearts of all true Confederates. Presuming upon the kind sentiments manifested in your columns, I venture to ask the privilege of correcting, through the same medium, some of the gross errors contained in the letter of General Badeau, the late "military and private secretary to General Grant," which has been extensively copied from your journal into American journals.
In reference to the campaign of 1864 from the Rapidan to James river, General Badeau makes this remarkable statement:
"The calculation that Grant had three times as many men as Lee has been obtained by omitting Longstreet's corps altogether from the estimate, and by giving only Lee's force present for duty on the Rapidan; while in reckoning Grant's numbers, not only the present for duty are counted, but those constituting what, in military parlance, is called the total, which includes the sick, the extra duty men, and various others, invariably amounting, in any large army, to many thousands. Manifestly, either Lee's total should be compared with Grant's total, or Grant's present for duty with Lee's present for duty. But besides this, in order to make out Grant's army three times as large as Lee's, Grant's two forces in the Valley of Virginia and on the James river (each at least one hundred miles from the Wilderness) are included in the estimate of his strength; while the troops which Lee had in front of these separate forces of Grant are left out of the calculation altogether. I repeat that in the battle of the Wilderness Lee had about 72,000 engaged, while Grant had 98,000 present for duty— according to the confidential field returns made at the time by each general to his own Government, when no general would intentionally misstate or mislead."
That officers of Grant's army, after witnessing the terrible havoc made in their ranks by the small force opposed to them at the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Courthouse and at Cold Harbor, should overestimate the strength of that force, is not to be wondered at,