Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/30
Southern Historical Society Papers.
for the defence of Wilmington had been made during the winter, and General Lee's army was, at the time of the evacuation, the mere skeleton of what it had been, and its supplies find means were exhausted. Again, all the energies of the United States Government had been put forth, and Grant was at the head of an over-powering army, thoroughly equipped and appointed in every respect, and with the most abundant supplies of all kinds. Yet, General Lee conducted his retreat in the face of his enemy, and over roads almost impassable, for more than one hundred miles, and finally surrendered less than 8,000 men with arms in their hands. It is true that 27,805 men of his army were paroled, but the greater part of them were stragglers without arms, whose commands had been cut up in detail, teamsters, camp followers, and extra-duty men; and we fail to see in the statement of paroled men contained in Mr. Stanton's report, on page 44, the "tens of thousands also belonging to Lee's army" who General Badeau says afterwards came in and gave themselves up. Mr. Stanton in fact shows only 174,223 men who surrendered and were paroled at the close of hostilities in all the Confederate States.
Mr. Stanton, on page 30 of his report, shows that there were 2,656,553 men put into the United States service during the war, by calls on the States—that is, more than one-half of the number of the entire white population, young and old, male and female, to which the Confederate States had to resort for soldiers, while the author of the letter to the Tribune states that he judges (from the returns, I presume), that 600,000 in all were put into the Confederate service during the same period that is, less than the available force present for duty in the United States army on the 1st of May, 1864, and at the close of the war. This estimate is very nearly correct, and fully covers our whole strength from first to last. Is anything farther necessary to show the tremendous odds against which we fought?
In view of the results, so far, of the unfortunate war now progressing between two of the greatest powers of Europe, nearly equal in men and resources, and each having the benefit of the most improved engines of war, may we not look the world squarely in the face, point to our struggle, and the sacrifices and sufferings we endured for the cause for which we fought, and challenge its judgment as to whether we are to be regarded as "rebels and traitors," who were seeking to overturn a "benign government?" In