previous next

Unlike other tabulations in these pages, the above list is not an exhaustive one. Although showing losses of over ten per cent., it does not include every loss which exceeded that ratio. It is impossible, in many cases, to ascertain the number of muskets taken into action; regimental commandants seldom stated it, although it always would have formed an important item in their official report.

Morning reports are of little assistance in this matter, for there was always a wide difference between the number of men reported as “present for duty” and the number taken into action. Although the morning reports stated the “present for duty” separately from the “aggregate present,” there were still a large number of non-combatants included in the “present for duty,” a large number of men detailed on special duties — too often, contrary to orders; and in case of a hard march, immediately preceding a battle, many fell out from inability to keep up, to say nothing of disinclination. General McClellan, in his official report of the battle of Antietam, carelessly states the strength of his army at 87,164, when it is doubtful if he had 60,000 muskets on the field.1 Yet the morning reports would justify his statement.

Let it be hoped that, in the future wars of the Republic, the army may have its corps of intendants, as in the German Army that every wearer of the national uniform shall be a man-at-arms, serving as such only; and that the men attached to the trains and all other subsidiary departments shall be enlisted for such service and wear a different uniform. Then a morning report will be some indication of the strength of a regiment or of an army.

The Confederates managed these things better. They counted their men as they went into action, and were careful to report no larger number. They were quick to see the important point involved. In General Cheatham's official report for Stone's River, he not only tabulates the number of killed and wounded in his division, but adds other columns in which he states the number of men taken into action by each regiment and the consequent percentage of loss.

This mention of the actual force engaged is a frequent item in the reports of the Confederate erate colonels, while in the Union Army it is correspondingly rare. In the latter there were so many men detailed contrary to order — officers' servants, for instance — that, too often, a colonel did not care to call attention to the discrepancy between his morning report and his

1 Gen. F. W. Palfrey: The Antietam and Fredericksburg, p. 70.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Stone River (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Francis W. Palfrey (1)
McClellan (1)
Cheatham (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: