Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/257

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249
Causes of Lee's Defeat at Gettysburg.

my view that the force shown by the returns of July the 20th, 1863, included in it very many men who had never crossed the Potomac at all.

I think it may be assumed as very certain that we had less than 60,000 effectives of all arms at Gettysburg, and that the battle was fought with something under 50,000 infantry and about 4,000 artillerymen on our side, the cavalry merely serving to protect our flanks and guard our trains, as from the nature of the ground they could not be employed in the battle.

I will now give some consideration to the evidence in regard to the Federal strenght at the battle, as that bears a very important relation to a just estimate of the battle itself. It must he borne in mind that when Hooker moved from the banks of the Rappahannock, his route led him all the time towards the sources from which his army was to be recruited; that while the route of our army was the arc of a circle, he moved on the cord of it; and that, therefore, our movements had to be rapid while his were slow.

When our army had crossed the Potomac he was enabled to recruit his strength, not only from the convalescents from the hospitals at Washington, Baltimore, and further North, time enough having elapsed to enable the wounded from the fields of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg to begin to return to duty, but also from the troops in the defences of Washington south of the Potomac, now rendered useless there, as well as from new recruits answering to the many earnest appeals to the "loyal North" to rally to the "Standard of the Union" and the defence of the invaded "loyal State," as well as of the National Capital. It was not probable, therefore, that his army should decrease from causes similar to those that were diminishing ours. His chief of staff, who subsequently occupied the same relation to Meade, in his testimony (Con. Rep., 428), says that on the 10th of June, when Hooker was yet on the Rappahannock, "the First corps bad 11,350; Second corps, 11,361; Third corps, 11,898; Fifth corps, 10,136; Sixth corps, 15,408; Eleventh corps, 10,177; Twelfth corps, 7,925; making in all, 78,245."

This was exclusive of the cavalry, which Bates, in his history of the battle, concedes to have been 12,000, and of the reserve artillery, which General Hunt, in his testimony, says constituted one-third of the artillery of the army. Butterfield, the chief-of-