which he so described was competent to recover “the territory from which it had been driven.”
He had visited it some two months before, and seen that it could make no forward movement for the purpose then, when the opposing Federal army had not been increased by the corps of twenty thousand veterans, led from Mississippi
; nor ours weakened by the withdrawal from it of Longstreet
and its losses at Missionary Ridge
Those losses must have been severe, for such troops are not easily driven from strong and intrenched positions; still less, easily routed.
As I had much better means of information on the subjects of this paper than its author, it could not have been written for my instruction.
The two high executive officers expressed in their letters very different opinions of the effect of its recent defeat, upon the army.
The Secretary of War
expressed plainly his consciousness of the great losses it had suffered in men, morale
, and material.
The President, on the contrary, regarded “the effective condition” of the army as “a matter of much congratulation.”
And, to give a distinct idea of its strength, he asserted that “the morning report exhibited an effective total that, added to the two brigades last sent from Mississippi
and the cavalry sent back by Longstreet
would furnish a force exceeding in number that actually engaged in any battle, on the Confederate
side, during the present war.”
To disprove this assertion, it is not necessary to