Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 02/July/Relative Strength of the Armies of Lee and Grant

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Southern Historical Society Papers: Volume 2, Number 1  (1876)  by Jubal Anderson Early
Relative Strength of the Armies of Lee and Grant
Southern Historical Society Papers, July 1876

The Relative Strength of the Armies of Generals Lee and Grant.

[The relative strength of the Federal and Confederate armies is a matter of great importance, and its proper solution is surrounded by obvious difficulties. Even our own people are in profound ignorance of the great odds against which we fought, while Northern writers have persistently misrepresented the facts. We feel, therefore, that we will be doing valuable service in publishing in our Papers the following letter of General Early to the London Standard in reply to General Badeau, General Grant's staff officer and biographer.]

REPLY OF GENERAL EARLY TO THE LETTER OF GENERAL BADEAU TO THE LONDON STANDARD.

To a people overpowered and crushed in a struggle for their rights, there is still left one resource on earth for the vindication of their conduct and character: that adopted by England's great philosopher—an appeal to "foreign nations and to the next age." A persistent and systematic effort to falsify the truth of history has been made, since the close of the late war in this country, by the adherents of the United States Government in that conflict; and such a generous desire to vindicate the truth as that evinced by your recent articles upon the death of General Lee, has awakened a deep sense of gratitude in the hearts of all true Confederates. Presuming upon the kind sentiments manifested in your columns, I venture to ask the privilege of correcting, through the same medium, some of the gross errors contained in the letter of General Badeau, the late "military and private secretary to General Grant," which has been extensively copied from your journal into American journals.

In reference to the campaign of 1864 from the Rapidan to James river, General Badeau makes this remarkable statement:

"The calculation that Grant had three times as many men as Lee has been obtained by omitting Longstreet's corps altogether from the estimate, and by giving only Lee's force present for duty on the Rapidan; while in reckoning Grant's numbers, not only the present for duty are counted, but those constituting what, in military parlance, is called the total, which includes the sick, the extra duty men, and various others, invariably amounting, in any large army, to many thousands. Manifestly, either Lee's total should be compared with Grant's total, or Grant's present for duty with Lee's present for duty. But besides this, in order to make out Grant's army three times as large as Lee's, Grant's two forces in the Valley of Virginia and on the James river (each at least one hundred miles from the Wilderness) are included in the estimate of his strength; while the troops which Lee had in front of these separate forces of Grant are left out of the calculation altogether. I repeat that in the battle of the Wilderness Lee had about 72,000 engaged, while Grant had 98,000 present for duty—according to the confidential field returns made at the time by each general to his own Government, when no general would intentionally misstate or mislead."

That officers of Grant's army, after witnessing the terrible havoc made in their ranks by the small force opposed to them at the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Courthouse and at Cold Harbor, should overestimate the strength of that force, is not to be wondered at, but when the report of Mr. Edwin M. Stanton, the United States Secretary of War, made at the opening session of Congress for the years 1865-'6, is critically examined, it will be regarded as most surprising that General Badeau should have committed such gross blunders in regard to the strength of Grant's army. In order to expose those blunders, and to enable you to verify the extracts which I shall make from Mr. Stanton's report, I send you an official copy of that report printed under the authority of the United States Congress.

On page 3d of his report, Mr. Stanton says:

"The national forces engaged in the spring campaign of 1864 were organized as armies or distributed in military departments as follows:

"The Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major-General Meade, whose headquarters were on the north side of the Rapidan. This army was confronted by the Rebel Army of Northern Virginia, stationed on the south side of the Rapidan, under General Robert E. Lee.

"The 9th corps, under Major-General Burnside, was, at the opening of the campaign, a distinct organization, but on the 24th of May, 1864, it was incorporated into the Army of the Potomac.

"The Army of the James was commanded by Major-General Butler, whose headquarters were at Fortress Monroe.

"The headquarters of the Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by Major-General Sigel, were at Winchester." [It is not necessary to mention the other armies for my purpose.]

On pages 5th and 6th of his report Mr. Stanton says.

"Official reports show that on the 1st of May, 1864, the aggregate military force of all arms, officers and men, was nine hundred and seventy thousand seven hundred and ten, to wit:

Available force present for duty 662,345
On detached service in the different military departments 109,348
In field hospitals, or unfit for duty 41,266
In general hospitals, or on sick leave at home 75,978
Absent on furlough, or as prisoners of war 66,290
Absent without leave 15,483
 Grand aggregate 970,710

The aggregate available force present for duty May 1, 1864, was distributed in the different commands as follows:

* Department of Washington 42,124
Army of the Potomac 120,380
* Department of Virginia and North Carolina 59,139
Department of the South 18,165
Department of the Gulf 61,866
Department of Arkansas 23,666
Department of the Tennessee 74,174
Department of the Missouri 15,770
Department of the Northwest 5,295
Department of Kansas 4,798
Headquarters military division of the Mississippi 476
Department of the Cumberland 119,948
Department of the Ohio 35,416
Northern department 9,546
* Department of West Virginia 30,782
Department of the East 2,828
Department of the Susquehanna 8,970
* Middle department 5,627
Ninth army corps 20,780
Department of New Mexico 3,454
Department of the Pacific 5,141
  662,345

Mr. Stanton in this statement accounts for all the extra duty men, the sick in field hospitals and camp, the sick in general hospitals, prisoners and men on furlough, and the men absent without leave, and shows, exclusive of all these, an aggregate available force present for duty on the 1st of May, 1864, of 662,345 of which there were 120,380 in the Army of the Potomac, under Meade, and 20,780 in the Ninth Corps, under Burnside, making an aggregate available force present for duty under Grant, on the north side of the Rapidan, on the 1st of May, 1864, of 141,160, officers and men. Now, I ask what inducement was there, on the 1st day of May, just two days before Grant began his movement across the Rapidan, and four days before the commencement of the battle in the Wilderness, for the officers commanding Grant's corps, "intentionally to misstate or mislead" in regard to their available force, in the official reports which they made, or for Grant to give countenance to such misrepresentations by forwarding the reports, or for Stanton to mislead the Congress and the country in December, in regard to the strength of Grant's army? Does not this statement of Mr. Stanton's, taken from the official reports filed in the War Office, conclusively show that General Badeau has made a great mistake, to say the least of it?

But the latter says that "to make out Grant's army three times as large as Lee's, Grant's two forces in the Valley of Virginia and on the James river are included in the estimate of his strength." Let us see how this is. Now, Mr. Stanton shows that there was in the "Department of West Virginia," to which the Valley of the Shenandoah belonged, an available force present for duty, on the 1st of May, 1864, of 30,782, and in the "Department of Virginia and North Carolina," from which the Army of the James came, an available force for duty of 59,139; and no part of the "Army of the Potomac" or of the "Ninth Army Corps" was in either department.

In General Grant's report, dated the 22d of July, 1865—a copy of which I am sorry I have not in a form to send you, but which is to be found in the official documents printed at large in book form by the 39th Congress he gives a letter from himself to Major-General Butler, dated the 2d of April, 1864, and containing instructions for the approaching campaign, in which he says:

"You will collect all the forces from your command that can be spared from garrison duty—I should say not less than twenty thousand effective men—to operate on the north side of James river, Richmond being your objective point. To the force you already have will be added about ten thousand men from South Carolina, under Major-General Gilmore, who will command them in person. Major-General W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you, to command the troops sent into the field from your own department." These troops, under Smith and Gilmore, afterwards constituted the "Army of the James," under Butler. Grant also says in the same report:

"A very considerable force under command of Major-General Sigel was so held for the protection of West Virginia, and the frontiers of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

"General Sigel was therefore directed to organize all his available force into two expeditions, to move from Beverly and Charleston, under command of Generals Ord and Crook, against the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. Subsequently, General Ord having been relieved at his own request, General Sigel was instructed, at his own suggestion, to give up the expedition by Beverly, and to form two columns, one under General Crook, on the Kanawha, numbering about ten thousand men, and one on the Shenandoah, numbering about seven thousand men."

He further says:

"Owing to the weather and bad condition of the roads, operations were delayed until the 1st of May, when, everything being in readiness and the roads favorable, orders were given for a general movement of all the armies not later than the 4th of May."

The movement under the immediate superintendence of Grant, on the Rapidan, begun in fact on the night of the 3d, with the Army of the Potomac and the Ninth Corps, and the foregoing extracts from Grant's report show that the armies under Butler and Sigel constituted no part of the force which Mr. Stanton sets down at 141,160, on the 1st of May, 1864. The above statement from Stanton's report shows that there was in the "Department of Washington," at the very same time, an available force for duty of 42,124, and in the "Middle Department" (at Baltimore) a like force of 5,627, making an aggregate force of 47,751 within a few hours' run of Grant's army by rail and steamboat. So that, with the force of 59,139 in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and of 30,782 in the Department of West Virginia, Grant had, besides his army on the Rapidan, an available force of 137,672 to draw upon for his operations in Virginia, making in fact in all a force of 278,832 immediately available for that purpose, besides what could be drawn from other quarters where there was no hostile force to confront. That nearly the whole force at Washington and Baltimore was added to his army before it reached James River, is shown by the following extract from Mr. Stanton's report. On page 7 he says:

"Meanwhile, in order to repair the losses of the Army of the Potomac, the chief part of the force designed to guard the middle department and the department of Washington was called forward to the front. Taking advantage of this state of affairs, in the absence of General Hunter's command, the enemy made a large detachment from their army at Richmond, which, under General Early, moved down the Shenandoah Valley, threatening Baltimore and Washington."

The reinforcements from Washington and Baltimore actually reached Grant at Spotsylvania Courthouse, where, he says: "The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th (of May) were consumed in manœuvring and awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Washington;", and this was before General Lee had been reinforced by a solitary man. In addition to these reinforcements, Mr. Stanton says, on page 46, near the conclusion of his report, that the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, tendered 85,000 hundred days' men on the 21st of April, 1864, to be raised in twenty days, which were accepted, and the greater part of which were raised, and that they supplied garrisons and relieved experienced troops which were sent to reinforce the armies in the field—some of the hundred days' men being sent to the front at their own request. In order, then, to substantiate his assertion that Grant's force for duty in the field at the Wilderness was only 98,000 men, General Badeau must show that Mr. Stanton has lied in the most willful and stupid manner, and without the slightest inducement to do so. His statement not only has this effect, but it also convicts General Grant himself of very gross blundering. The latter states in the outset of his report, which has already been quoted from, the strategic principles upon which he proposed to conduct the war, after the command of all the United States armies had devolved upon him, and says:

"From the first, I was firm in the conviction that no peace could be had that would be stable and conducive to the happiness of the people, both North and South, until the military power of the rebellion was broken. I therefore determined, first, to use the greatest number of troops practicable against the armed force of the enemy, preventing him from using the same force at different seasons against first one and then another of our armies, and the possibility of repose for refitting and producing necessary supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources, until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the loyal section of our common country to the constitution and laws of the land.

"These views have been kept constantly in mind, and orders given and campaigns made to carry them out."

Yet, notwithstanding these views and purposes, and despite the preparations on such a grand scale for the campaign of 1864, as described by Mr. Stanton, with evident feelings of pride, on page 3 of his report, General Grant, according to General Badeau's statement, out of an aggregate force of 662,345 available men for duty, could only muster 98,000 to confront the most formidable army of his antagonist—that is, when the United States forces were larger than they had ever been before, Grant opened the campaign in Virginia with a smaller army than any other Federal commander in that State, since the First Battle of Manassas, had ever before entered the field with, and that, too, according to General Badeau's estimate, against a larger army than General Lee had ever before commanded in an active campaign, except, perhaps, during the Seven Days' Battles around Richmond. General Badeau's recollections of the "Confidential field returns," mentioned by him, is evidently very confused. It is very probable that when the battle in the Wilderness opened, on the 5th of May, between one corps of General Lee's army (Ewell's), and the Army of the Potomac, the infantry of the latter army amounted to about 98,000 men, as that would be about the proper proportion of that arm, the rest being cavalry and artillery—the Ninth Corps not coming up until the night of the 5th, and going into action for the first time early on the morning of the 6th, during which day also Longstreet's two divisions came up from near Gordonsville, where they had been for some time. This state of facts may account for General Badeau's mistake, as it can be explained on no other hypothesis.

Neither Stanton nor Grant have given any estimate of the loss of the army of the latter in this memorable campaign, but Mr. Swinton, who was a regular correspondent of a New York paper, in constant attendance with the Army of the Potomac, and who has published a history of the campaigns of that army, says, on pages 491-92 of his book:

"Grant's loss in the series of actions from the Wilderness to the Chickahominy reached the enormous aggregate of sixty thousand men put hors du combat—a number greater than the entire strength of Lee's army at the opening of the campaign."

In a note he gives the particulars of the loss of the Army of the Potomac in the various battles, and shows that his statement of Grant's loss is confined to that army and the Ninth Corps, and does not include any loss sustained by the reinforcements from Butler's army, which were at Cold Harbor.

Now, from this statement, if General Badeau is right in his statement of Grant's force, the conclusion is inevitable that the army of the latter was in effect destroyed; and if, according to Grant's famous remark, Butler had got himself into "a bottle strongly corked," the former, to use one of Mr. Lincoln's elegant expressions, had "butted his brains out against a gate-post." Perhaps it was fortunate for Grant that Butler was "hermetically sealed up at Bermuda Hundred," when he too was compelled to seek refuge at the same point, and wait for further reinforcements.

Having disposed of General Badeau's statement of Grant's force, I will now consider his estimate of the strength of General Lee's army.

A strange hallucination in regard to the strength of all the Confederate armies seems to have haunted the Federal commanders from the beginning of the war to its close. According to their estimates, there were few occasions on which they were not outnumbered, and this hallucination seems to have beset General McClellan with peculiar vividness during his whole military career.

The absurdity of the Federal estimates of our strength, at various times, will be apparent from the following statistics taken from the official census of 1860, as published by the United States Government: In the fourteen States from which came any part of the armies of the Confederate States, including Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, there was a white population of only 7,946,111, of which an aggregate of 2,498,891 was in the said States of Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, leaving only 5,447,220 in the remainder of the Southern States, while there was a white population of 19,011,360 in the States and Territories indisputably under the control of and in sympathy with the United States Government from the beginning, exclusive of Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. The strong hand of the military power was put upon Maryland in the very outset, by which her voice was suppressed before there was an opportunity of giving expression to it. That State furnished to the Confederate Army only one organized regiment of infantry for one year, and several companies of artillery and cavalry which served through the whole war, while it furnished a very considerable force, by voluntary enlistment and under the draft, to the United States Army. Kentucky undertook to assume a neutral position in the beginning, and by this means was soon brought under the control of Federal bayonets, and subsequently furnished a much larger force to the United States Army than she did to the Confederate Army. Missouri was in the outset taken possession of by military force, and her regular government was overturned and its officers driven out of the State. She furnished also a much larger force to the United States Army than to the Confederate Army. In fact, from their passage, the United States laws upon the subject of the draft were in full force in these three States, during the whole war, while the Confederate conscript act was never in force in either of them for a moment. In addition to this, the greater part of that portion of Virginia now called the State of "West Virginia" was disaffected, from the beginning, to the Confederate cause, and was very soon overrun and held by the United States forces. A large portion of East Tennessee was also disaffected, and at no time did the white population, from which the Confederate States had alone to draw their troops, exceed five millions, while the white population in its own limits, from which the United States Government drew its troops, exceeded considerably twenty millions. In addition to this, by large bounties, it was enabled to draw very largely upon the population of other countries on this continent and in Europe, and it also obtained a large number of troops from among the slaves and free negroes of the South, and from the disaffected of those regions which were overrun by its armies. These facts, taken in connection with the further fact that the latter Government entered the contest with all the prestige attached to it as a well established and recognized power, an organized army and navy, possession of the seas and the seaboard, and unlimited resources of money and the materials of war, while the Confederate Government had in the outset to organize all its departments and its armies for the conflict, and was in a great measure destitute of arms, of a revenue, and of the materials of war, demonstrate the utter absurdity of the idea that the latter Government was, at any time, able to oppose to the main armies of its antagonist anything like equal numbers. To suppose that it was able, at so late a period as May, 1864, when so much of its territory was in the possession of its enemy, to oppose to the principal army of the United States under the command of its chosen Commander-in-Chief, at a point so near the capital of that Government, an army so nearly approximating in numbers the former, as stated by General Badeau, would argue a degree of energy and efficiency on the part of the Confederate Government and of imbecility on the part of the United States Government utterly unparalleled in the history of nations.

General Badeau, in the first paragraph of his letter, says: "My principal authority for the proposed corrections is that of General Lee himself." If he means by this that General Lee in person gave him the information upon which he makes his statements, then General Lee has given to General Badeau information which he has not only withheld from all his most intimate associates and friends, and the comrades who followed him so long, but which is entirely at war with his uniform statements in writing and conversation to those in whom he was accustomed to confide. If he means that he has any written statements or acknowledgments of General Lee, then he is challenged to produce the documents in General Lee's handwriting. The word of that gallant gentleman and Christian hero, to those who knew him, is as indisputable as Holy Writ, and he has invariably asserted, up to the time of his lamented death, that the force with which he encountered and fought Grant in the Wilderness was under 50,000 men, including all that Longstreet had brought up. In a letter from him which I have, and which was written on the 15th of March, 1866, he says: "It will be difficult to get the world to understand the odds against which we fought;" and he has since in person assured me that the estimate which I had made of his force, in a published letter written from Havana in December, 1865, and in my published account of my own operations for the years 1864-'5 which—was 50,000—exceeded the actual efficient strength of his army.

The returns of the Army of Northern Virginia, which are in what is called the "Archive Office" at Washington, are not accessible to me; but I have a printed copy of a letter written to the New York Tribune in June, 1867, which gives statements taken from the returns of the Confederate armies on file in said "Archive Office," which letter is understood to have been written by Mr. Swinton, the author of "The Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac." I end that copy to you, in order that you may verify, by an examination of it, all my statements; and, if I appear a little prolix and tedious, I beg you to be patient, as I desire to show to you and your readers how officers of the United States army manufacture history.

In the first column of the letter to the Tribune you will find a table of monthly returns for the Department of Northern Virginia, which is in the following words and figures:

"Department of Northern Virginia. February 28, 1862—February 28, 1865.
DATE. COMMANDER. FOR DUTY. PRESENT. PRESENT AND
ABSENT.
1862— February J. E. Johnston 47,617  55,396 84,225
  May J. E. Johnston [67,000]    
  June R. E. Lee  [100,000]    
  July R. E. Lee 69,559  94,686 137,030
  August R. E. Lee [95,000]    
  September R. E. Lee 52,609  62,713 139,143
  October R. E. Lee 67,805  79,395 153,778
  November R. E. Lee 73,554  86,583 153,790
  December R. E. Lee 79,072  91,094 152,853
1863— January R. E. Lee 72,226  93,297 144,605
  February R. E. Lee 58,559  74,435 114,175
  March R. E. Lee 60,298  73,578 109,839
  May R. E. Lee 68,352  88,756 133,679
  June R. E. Lee  [100,000]    
  July R. E. Lee 41,135  53,611 117,602
  August R. E. Lee 56,327  71,964 133,264
  September R. E. Lee 44,367  55,221 95,164
  October R. E. Lee 45,614  57,251 97,211
  November R. E. Lee 48,267  56,088 96,576
  December R. E. Lee 43,558  54,715 91,253
1864— January R. E. Lee 35,849  45,139 79,602
  February R. E. Lee 33,811  39,562 68,435
  March R. E. Lee 39,407  46,151 79,202
* April R. E. Lee 52,626  61,218 97,576
  June R. E. Lee 51,863  62,571 92,685
  July R. E. Lee 57,097  68,844 135,805
  August R. E. Lee 44,247  58,984 146,838
  October R. E. Lee 62,875  82,535 177,103
  November R. E. Lee 69,290  87,860 181,826
  December R. E. Lee 66,533  79,318 155,772
1865— January R. E. Lee 53,445  69,673 441,627
  February R. E. Lee 59,094  73,349 160,411
This table, which must be understood as giving the returns at the close of the months specified, is believed to be a correct transcript so far as it gives the actual monthly returns which were made, but it is manifestly wrong where the estimates of the writer of the letter are given in lieu of the returns—which estimates are put in brackets in the letter itself. This is especially the case in regard to the estimates for the months of June and August, 1862, and for the month of June, 1863. The reason that the returns exist for those months is to be found in the fact that, at the end of June, 1862, and for some day into July, General Lee's army was engaged in battle with, or in pursuit of, McClellan's army; that at the end of August of the same year his army was engaged with Pope's army and immediately thereafter moved into Maryland; and that at the end of June, 1863, his army was in Pennsylvania, where it engaged Meade's army at Gettysburg on the 1st, 2d and 3d of July. This condition of things at the end of those months prevented the regular monthly returns from being made; and the writer of the letter has taken advantage of the fact to greatly magnify General Lee's forces. The greatest force which the latter ever commanded in the field was that with which he attacked McClellan in June, 1862, and his entire effective force at that time did not exceed 80,000, if it reached that figure—including Jackson's command, and the troops held for the immediate defence of Richmond and at Drury's and Chaffin's Bluffs. The returns for July, 1862, show the strength of his army at the time of the movement against Pope; and all of that was not carried into the field against the latter, as at least two divisions were left to watch McClellan's army at Harrison's landing, and did not get up until after Pope had been driven into the fortifications around Washington. The returns for May, 1863, fully cover the whole force with which the movement was made into Pennsylvania, as no fresh troops arrived after these returns were made, and that movement began on the 4th of June.

It must not be understood that the returns contained in the foregoing table, even where correct, show the actual force which General Lee carried into the field. These returns are for "The Department of Northern Virginia," embracing all the troops north of James river, including those usually kept in the Valley, so that, in estimating the actual strength of the "Army of Northern Virginia," this allowance must be made. Referring now to the returns bearing on the question of General Lee's strength at the opening of the campaign in the Wilderness, it will be seen that, at the end of August, 1863, the first month after the return from the Gettysburg campaign, the entire force for duty in the Department of Northern Virginia was 56,327, while at the end of September it was 44,367. This decrease of 11,960 was caused by the departure of Longstreet's corps from the army during that month, two divisions of it going to Chickamauga, and the other (Pickett's) to the south-side of James river. The strength of that entire corps was then a little less than 12,000 for duty. The returns for March, 1864, show in the Department of Northern Virginia 39,407 for duty, while those for April show 52,626 for duty—this increase resulting from the return of the two divisions of Longstreet's corps (Field's and McLaw's afterwards Kershaw's) which had been at the battle of Chickamauga and afterwards on a winter campaign in East Tennessee, also of some detachments which had been on special service, and of furloughed men. These returns were made at the end of and for the whole month of April, and not on the 20th of the month as stated by General Badeau. Longstreet's two divisions had then returned and were embraced in said monthly returns, his third division being at that time in North Carolina and not afterwards rejoining the army until the 22d of May near Hanover Junction. These returns for April, 1864, which showed the condition of the troops in fact on the 1st day of May, embraced the force in the Valley which was confronting Sigel, and other outlying troops on special service north of James river. So that in reality General Lee's entire force with which he had to confront Grant's army, including Longstreet's two divisions, was under the aggregate of 50,000 present for duty. But General Badeau says that Longstreet's corps was not embraced in the returns of General Lee's army for April, 1864, and he says: "His (Longstreet's) field return of date nearest to the battle shows 18,387 present for duty. Now let us see how he arrives at this conclusion. Run your finger down the second column of the letter to the Tribune, until you get to the table of returns under the head "Armies in the West," and continue on down that table until you reach the "Army of East Tennessee," under which heading you will find the following, which is all that is necessary for my purposes:

  date. commander. for duty.
1863. October  Sam. Jones 7,975
  November  Sam. Jones  10,546
  December  J. Longstreet  15,342
1864. January  J. Longstreet  18,667
1864. February  J. Longstreet  19,010
1864. March  J. Longstreet  18,387
1864. July  S. B. Buckner  14,907

Now is it not apparent that this return for March, 1864, of the "Army of East Tennessee," showing 18,387 present for duty, being the identical number claimed as the strength of Longstreet's corps, is the very same return "of date nearest to the battle" which General Badeau attempts to palm off on the British public as the return of that corps? If he ever saw the actual returns, and was not using a mere extract from them, he must have learned that the two divisions of Longstreet's corps, which were with him in East Tennessee, constituted less than half of the "Army of East Tennessee," the residue being composed in part of a division of infantry which afterwards, under Breckinridge, met and defeated Sigel on the 15th of May in the Valley, and of a body of cavalry, a portion of which subsequently, under Wm. E. Jones, fought Hunter at New Hope or Piedmont in the Valley; and none of which troops accompanied Longstreet on his return to the Army of Northern Virginia.

After the discovery of this palpable attempt at imposition, is it necessary to notice any farther the statements of General Badeau? I will, however, state that the first reinforcements received by General Lee, after the beginning of the campaign in the Wilderness, were received at or near Hanover Junction on the 22d of May, when he was joined by one of the brigades of my division just returned from North Carolina, numbering less than 1,000 men, a force under Breckinridge from the Valley numbering less than 3,000 muskets, and Pickett's division of Longstreet's corps, recently returned from North Carolina, and which with my brigade had been engaged, under Beauregard, against Butler on the south side of James river. These troops did not make up the losses at the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Courthouse, and in the meantime Grant had received considerably more than 40,000 reinforcements from Washington and Baltimore for his army.

In regard to the strength of General Lee's army at the time of the evacuation of the works covering Richmond and Petersburg, and of the surrender at Appomattox, it is only necessary to say that the returns for February, 1865, for the Department of Northern Virginia, afford no just criterion of the real strength of that army, as those returns included the forces in the Valley, and other outlying commands, not available for duty on the lines. Detachments 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 and 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 conclusion, let me quote from the above-mentioned report of General Grant the following passage:

"General Lee's great influence throughout the whole South caused his example to be followed, and to-day the result is that the armies lately under his leadership are at their homes, desiring peace and quiet, and their arms are in the hands of our ordnance officers."

Thus wrote the General-in-Chief of the United States armies—the now President of the United States—on the 22d of July, 1865. Yet we have not had peace. The heel of the military power, supplanting all civil government, is scarce yet withdrawn from our necks, and our venerated and beloved commander has gone down to his grave with his great heart broken by the sufferings of his people—sufferings which he found himself powerless to relieve. We have just witnessed the elections throughout several States of this "Free Republic," some of which are called "loyal States," superintended by armed agents of the United States Government, backed by United States troops, for the purpose of perpetuating the power of the ruling faction, through the instrumentality of the ballot in the hands of an ignorant and inferior race. This thing has been tamely submitted to by the descendants of men who rushed to arms to resist the stamp act, the tea tax, and the quartering acts of the British Parliament. We look on in amazement at the spectacle presented, conscious that, come what may, we have. done our duty in endeavoring to maintain the principles of our fathers, and aware of the fact that we are now powerless and helpless—our only earthly consolation being that derived from a sense of duty performed and the conviction that the world will yet learn to do justice to our acts and motives.

Very respectfully,

J. A. Early, 
Late Lieutenant-General Confederate Army.

Lynchburg, Virginia, November 19th, 1870.


Note.—The marks of the index and of the asterisk, opposite certain items in the tables copied into this article, are mine.