the graves of above ten thousand Federal soldiers who died south of the Etowah
About a thousand of them fell in General Hood
's four actions, near Atlanta
Not more than two thousand could have died of disease; for hospitals for the sick were not near the army.
As our loss north of the Etowah
was about half of that south of that river, it is reasonable to suppose that there was nearly the same proportion among the Federals
; or, ten thousand killed, while the Confederate army was under my command, and five times as many wounded.1
This cemetery completely vindicates General Sherman
's soldiers from the aspersions cast upon their courage by the under-estimates of their losses made by their officers.
In the course so strongly condemned by the President
, our troops, always fighting under cover, had losses very trifling compared with those they inflicted; so that it was not unreasonable to suppose that the numerical superiority of the Federal
army was reduced daily, nor to hope that we might be able to cope with it on equal ground beyond the Chattahoochee
, where defeat would be its destruction.
The Confederate army, on the contrary, if beaten there, had a place of refuge in Atlanta
, too strong to be taken by assault, and too extensive to be invested.
I also hoped to be able to break, or to procure the breaking of, the railroad by which the invading army was supplied, and thus compel it to assail ours on our own terms, or to a retreat easily converted into a rout.
After the passage of the Etowah
by the Confederate army, five detachments