His method of estimating our strength by taking my regiments as the average for the whole army is not warranted by the facts of the case. The return for May 20th, as given by Colonel Taylor, shows present for duty in the entire army at that date, in the infantry, 55,261 officers and men. This does not include the general officers and their staff. I had nineteen regiments in my division included in that return, and the number of officers and men present for duty, excluding general and staff officers, was 6,421. There were certainly one hundred and sixty-nine regiments and battalions present in the army at that time, and there may possibly have been another. The average for my nineteen regiments would be 338, and this multiplied by 169 gives 57,122, being in excess of the number actually present for duty 1,861. Multiply by 167, the number of regiments assumed by the Comte to have been at Gettysburg, and it gives 56,446, an excess of 1,185. But three of my smallest regiments were left behind in the Valley, and taking their joint strength (773 present for duty) on the 20th of May, there would be left 5,648, giving an average of 353 for the sixteen which were present on the 20th of May and also at Gettysburg. Multiply 353 by 169, and it gives 59,657, an excess of 4,396 above the number actually present; and by 167 and it gives 58,951, an excess of 3,690 above the number actually present. The return of May 31st, as now correctly given, shows present for duty in the infantry, including all officers, a total of 59,457. In my division there were present for duty at the same time 6,943, giving an average of 365 to the nineteen regiments present. This multiplied by 169 gives 61,685, an excess of 2,128 above the number actually present; and by 167 gives 60,955, an excess of 1,498 above the number actually present. Taking off 919, the strength of the regiments detached, and the other sixteen had 6,024, giving them an
As there were no detachments made from Hays' and Gordon's brigades, and no additions to either, I have taken those two brigades to ascertain the ratio of decrease, in the absence of the return of the Thirty-first Virginia for the 31st of May, and of the three detached regiments and battalion for the 20th of June.
In those two brigades the decrease, exclusive of loss in action, was a little over ten per cent., and hence, as the marching they had done was not as severe as that done by Longstreet's and Hill's corps before they crossed the Potomac, I have assumed ten per cent. as the ratio of decrease in the whole army.
It is a little curious that, as the Comte thinks the loss in our army must have been very small from sickness, straggling and desertion, on account of the very fine weather (another fact about which he is greatly mistaken, as will be recollected by those who had to endure, without shelter, the heavy rains and cold nights we frequently had), he should make the decrease In Meade's army so excessive for the four days preceding the battle of Gettysburg.
It is true, as the Comte says, that when there were but eight divisions in the army there were but two smaller than mine, but when the number was increased to nine, mine became and remained more than an average one in size.