Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/96
88 Southern Historical Society Papers.
running fight for nearly fourteen miles, was driven across Sailor's Creek, Lee lost about eight thousand men, including stragglers, who were not captured. The cavalry was constantly fighting for the protection of the wagon trains, and so was a portion of the infantry after the army left Amelia Courthouse. There was also the action at Sutherland's Station, April 2d; that at High Bridge, in which Reid's force was captured, and the fighting around Farmville, including the repulse of Humphreys, the affair in which General Gregg was captured, and also the action on the 9th at the Court- house. The losses in all the actions which took place after the retreat was begun amounted to at least 12,000 men, and subtracting that number from the force with which Lee left the Petersburg lines, would leave about 24,000 men of all arms to be accounted for at Appomattox, exclusive for the force for Richmond and Danville defences of about 1,400 men. Some of this force joined Lee on the retreat and accompanied him to Appomattox, and if all are properly included in the number of troops to be accounted for there, it would make the total number 25,400. The total number surrendered at Appomattox, according to General Humphreys, was 28,536, and according to the figures furnished from the Adjutant General's office, 27,416. This excess of between two and three thousand above the fighting force which the returns would give Lee, is accounted for by the fact that detailed men in the medical, ordnance, quartermaster, subsistence, engineer, and provost departments of Lee's own army, who were not included in his line of battle strength, and some of the men detailed in the arsenals and various departments at Richmond who took part in the retreat, were also paroled at Appomattox. Any one conversant with the proportion that such details bear to the aggregate strength of an army will readily admit that this is a mod- erate estimate for the number of these non-combatants.
These facts and figures effectually dispute the assertions which are sought to be palmed off as the truth of history that Lee's army melted away along the retreat by regiments, and scattered to their homes in advance of their pursuers.
The fact, so well known to numbers of the survivors of the Army of Northern Virginia, that Lee had not quite eight thousand organ- ized infantry with arms in their hands on the morning of April Qth, has been disputed or doubted by Northern writers, but its correct- ness is susceptible of most convincing proof. It will be remembered