Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/147
.1 /',/,-,///,/// /,v,f,i/'.v ArfH.,1.
army. ( irant inaugurated a c -ampaign again-l I. ee which involved a sue. es-,ion of bloody battles hardly paralleled in modern warfare, in which tin- Confederate mmmandcr, almost constantly acting on a can-lul defensive, to husliand his rapidly failing strength. was hardy able throughout thi- terrible summer to hold his own and protect Richmond. By thus always fighting behind fortified lines and taking few chance^. I.ee was enabled to inflct far greater losses on the Union army than his own sustained. But, nevertheless, the Confederate losses were also quite large. Confederate bulletins and newspapers from time to time announced the repulse of the Yankees with " great slaughter," and showered enthusiastic praises upon the brave and brilliant defense their great leader was making against overwhelming numbers, yet the Union army day by day drew nearer and nearer Richmond, and the very terseness with which, after the first trial of strength with Grant, the heretofore bold and dashing Confederates hugged their breastworks, was evidence that they were cowed and dismayed by this new order of warfare. Grant at once detected this after the Wilderness; he asserted to his government that Lee was already whipped, and that it was impossible to get a battle out of him in the open. Grant pressed the fighting with such ferocity and persisted in it with such bull dog tenacity that he began to be stigmatized by his enemies North nnd South as a " butcher."
It is my purpose to indulge in some speculations concerning this campaign, and the Union losses, comparing them with other cam- paigns of the war, and then let the reader form his own conclusions as to whether Grant's eventual success was dearly bought or other- wise. The period of which I shall treat is the forty-one days begin- ning with the battle of the Wilderness, on the 5th of May, and end- ing w r ith the crossing of the James on the 151!) of June, 1864. The fighting, beginning on the 5th, was almost continuous throughout the month of May, but practically ended with the battle of Cold Harbor on the third of June. The total Union losses in all the bat- tles of this period in killed and wounded (I do not include prisoners, as they are not counted in the butcher's bill), was follows:
Killed. Wounded. Total.
Wilderness, 2 days 2,246 12,037 14,283.
Spotsx Kama, 14 days 2,725 13,413 16,138.
North Anna, Cold Harbor, etc., 24 days 2,436 11,811 14.247.
Total, 41 days 7,407 37,261 44,668.
The campaign in which these losses were made may be truthfully