Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/68

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

60 Southern Historical Society Papers.

commands, and gives a total present for duty in the entire department of 59,093 men ; 5,169 of the number thus reported were stationed either in the Valley or on the railroad defences, leaving the total present of 53,924 on the Richmond and Petersburg lines on February 20, 1865. To this should be added the command of General Ewell, who had about 2,760 infantry in the Department of Richmond, under General Custis Lee, and the Naval battalion under Commodore Tucker. Including these in the total of the troops immediately around Richmond and Petersburg, General Lee's present for duty on the 20th of February, 1865, would amount to 57,000, in round numbers, of all branches of the service. If we deduct from this number the 6,041 cavalry and 5,392 artillery, it would give Lee, six weeks before the final operations- began, 45,567 muskets for the de- fence of his entire line of thirty-seven miles from right to left. Of the cavalry present, 2,500 were dismounted for lack of horses, and the horses of the remainder were hardly fit for use owing to the ardu- ous service, the effects of the hard winter, and the scarcity of forage. Between the 2oth of February and the ist of April, 1865, owing to the gloomy outlook of the cause, and the great suffering of the men and their families at home, the desertions from Lee's army, ac- cording to the statement of his adjutant general, amounted to about 3,000. In the attack on Hare's Hill, on March 25th, the Confederate loss in killed, wounded, and missing was about 3,500, to which should be added the loss on other parts of the line of about 1,000 men, so that on the morning of the 29th of March, when Grant commenced his final movement, and every available infantryman was in line, Lee could muster a little over 38,000 muskets to withstand the attack.*

  • My estimate of the number of muskets available to Lee at the com-

mencement of final operations, after deducting the losses by desertion be- tween that time and February 20, 1865, and the casualities of March 25th, is a little less than Colonel Taylor gives him a month earlier before these casuali- ties occurred. He says : " It will be seen on February 28, 1865, General Lee had available 39,879 muskets." I reach my estimate by including the number of troops under Custis Lee and the Naval batalion, which are not borne on the last morning report of the A. N. V. of February 20, 1865, and accept, though it may be erroneously, the conclusion of Humphreys that Wise's brigade is not included in these returns. Colonel Taylor may be right, and my esti- mate be erroneous. My purpose in accepting the figures of Humphreys is to show the disparity of numbers, even conceding all reputable claims of our strength by writers on the other side.