Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/159
Causes of Lee's Defeat at Gettysburg. 151
Letter from Major- General Henry Heth, of A. P HilPs Corps, A. N. V.
[The following letter from General Heth was originally addressed h> the Secretary of our Society, and was duly forwarded to our distinguished for- eign correspondent, whose letter of enquiry to us called it forth.
It has been recently published in the Philadelphia Times, but will be none the less acceptable to our readers as one of our Gettysburg series.]
RICHMOND, VA., June, 1877. Rev. J. WM. JONES, D. D.,
Secretary Southern Historical Society :
MY DEAR SIR : : , referring to the invasion of Pennsylvania
in 1863, says : " The Arrny of Northern Virginia, when it invaded the Northern States, was more powerful than it had ever been before." If , in using the term " more powerful^" means that the numerical strength of the Army of Northern Virginia, on this occasion, was greater than ever before, he is wrong, as the sub- joined statement of the strength of that army, taken from the offi- cial returns now on file in Washington, will show :
Seven days' fight, 1862 80,000 115,000
Fredericksburg, 1862 78,000 110,000
Chancellorsville, 1863 57,000 132,000
Gettysburg, 1863 *62,000 ^12,000
Wilderness, 1864 , 63,981 141,000
It has been said that the morale of an army is to numbers as three to one. If this be correct the Army of Northern Virginia was never stronger than on entering Pennsylvania, and I am perfectly satisfied in my own mind, that this fact entered very largely in determining General Lee to make the attack on the 3d of July, at Gettysburg ; for there was not an officer or soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia, from General Lee to the drummer boy, who did not believe, when we invaded Pennsylvania in 1863, that it
- Field return, Army of Northern Virginia, May 31, 1863 : Infantry, 54,356 ; artillery, 4,460 ;
cavalry, 9,563. Total, 68,352. From this total must be deducted Ewell's loss at Winchester, the details left on the south side of the Potomac to guard persons and property captured at Winchester, and also the loss in the cavalry, It must be borne in mind that the cavalry did not join General Lee at Gettysburg until late in the evening of July 2.
t Hooker telegraphs to Stanton, June 27, 1863 : Strength of rank and flle, 105,000 ; adding commissioned officers not included in above, T,000. Total, 112,000.