Remarks on the numerical strength of both armies at Gettysburg
[We publish with great pleasure the following paper from our distinguished friend, and only regret that a clear, conclusive note from Colonel Walter H. Taylor
, pointing out the errors which the Count
still holds (in spite of the fair spirit in which he writes), is crowded into our next number.]
The returns of both armies generally gave three figures for each body of troops, which figures it is essential not to mistake the one with the other for the same army, nor to compare the one with a different one in the opposite armies.
These figures showed the number of officers and soldies: 1st, on the rolls; 2d, present; 3d, present for duty.
The first category contained every man belonging to the regiment, either present or absent on leave, sick or healthy, or without leave.
It happened in both armies, at certain times, that the absentees numbered more than one-third of the whole force.
The second category contained both the officers and men present for duty, and those detached on special duty, under arrest, and in the regimental ambulances or corps hospitals.
The proportion between these different classes after a fortnight's active campaign is well illustrated by General Early
's divisional return for the 20th June, which is as follows:
Present for duty (3d category), 5,638; percentage, 87.
On detached service, 468; percentage, 7.3.
Under arrest, 22; percentage, 0.3.
Sick list, 343; percentage, 5.4.
Total, 6,471; percentage 100.
The total is the figure which is generally given in both armies where only one is given, the number of the men on detached service being liable to vary greatly from day to day.
Army.-According to the return of the 31st of May, the effective strength of the Army of Northern Virginia was:
Present: Infantry, 54,356; cavalry, 9,536; artillery, 4,460.
Total present, 68,852.
If the percentage of the men on detached service, under arrest, and on the sick list was the same for the whole army as for Early
's division, and if the army had neither been increased nor diminished, we should find the figure representing the men present for duty at the time each corps reached the banks of the Potomac
by a deduction of 13 per cent., which would give us for the three arms 59,901 men.
I do not believe that those two figures (68,852 and 59,901) represent fully the whole strength of the Army of Northern Virginia when it invaded Maryland
Through the operation of the draft the effective strength of each regiment had been increased after Chahncellorsville.
The regiments had received some recruits between the 15th and the 31st of May; some more came between the 1st and 10th of June.
says that the regiments of cavalry were largely increased in that way, but I am not satisfied by such vague statements, and in order to prove the fact, I propose to calculate the average strength of the regiments from the known strength of several corps, divisions, or brigades a few days before the battle, as stated by reliable authorities, and mostly by official reports.
I have picked out the following figures from the statement of Confederate officers:
Four regiments: Present, 1,420; average per regiment, 372; present for duty,--; average per regiment,--. Benning
Eighteen regiments: Present, 6,471; average per regiment, 360; present for duty, 5,638; average per regiment, 313.
's division, with one battery of artillery.