Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/87

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"Four Years with General Lee."

If the strength of the brigade is correctly given on the 21st of May, it should have been stronger the latter part (29th) of March when it joined General Magruder on the Peninsula. The morning of May 3d the brigade was moved to the front, and took position at various points along the line—one regiment, or the greater portion of it, being at Mulberry Point, on the James river, and a portion of one at the redoubts near Yorktown. I reported to General Magruder that morning that I had brought him 2,200 men. This number included, if remembered correctly, the Thomas artillery, a four-gun battery. The 2,616 must have been the aggregate present and absent. The present with the army, including detached and sick, would not have reached the numbers given in the return. In my report of the battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27th, 1862, the strength of the brigade—four regiments—was given at 1,850. At the battle of Seven Pines only four companies of one regiment were engaged the first day, and these lost heavily; the second morning, three of the regiments were under fire, in a dense woods, probably twenty minutes,—loss small. The brigade in this battle was about 2,000, whilst in the battle of Williamsburg, May 5th, it was between 1,200 and 1,400. In this battle one entire regiment—Eleventh Alabama—was absent, and four full companies detached under a major, and ten men and an officer from each company detached to aid the artillery and wagons over the wretched roads.

According to this return the total strength of all arms in the army was 53,688, and this will be supposed by most people to have been its fighting strength at the time, whilst all who have had experience with armies in active field operations know that the returns are always largely in excess of the fighting numbers.

C. M. Wilcox.