previous next

[171] of small arms, ambulances, mules and horses, with a large amount of other valuable property, all of which was secured and appropriated to proper uses. Besides all this secured, we destroyed not less than eight hundred wagons, mostly laden with various articles, such as arms, ammunition, provisions, baggage, clothing, medicine and hospital stores. We had lost only three pieces of artillery, all in Breckinridge's repulse. A number of stands of colors, nine of which are forwarded with this report, were also captured on the field. Others known to have been taken have not been sent in. The list, marked “6,” is here — with transmitted.

A tabular statement of our forces, marked “7,” is herewith transmitted, showing the number of fighting men we had in the field on the morning of the thirty-first of December, to have been less than thirty-five thousand, of which thirty thousand were infantry and artillery. Our losses are also reported in this same comprehensive table, so as to show how much each corps, division and brigade suffered, and in case of Breckinridge's division, the losses are reported separately for Wednesday and Friday. These reports are minute and suggestive, showing the severity of the conflict, as well as where, when, and by whom sustained.

Among the gallant dead the nation is called to mourn, none could have fallen more honored or regarded than Brig.-Gen. Jas. E. Rains and R. M. Hanson. They yielded their lives in the heroic discharge of their duties, and leave their honored names as a rich legacy to their descendants. Brig.-Gen. J. R. Chalmers and D. W. Adams received disabling wounds on Monday--I am happy to say not serious, but which deprived us of their valuable services. Having been under my immediate command since the beginning of the war, I can bear evidence to their devotion and to the conspicuous gallantry which has marked their services on every field.

For the sacred names of the heroes and patriots of lower grades that gave their lives, illustrating the character of the confederate soldiers on this bloody field, I must refer to the reports of subordinate commanders and to the list which will submitted. Our losses, it will be seen, exceeded ten thousand, nine thousand of whom were killed or wounded.

The enemy's loss we have no means of knowing with certainty. One corps commanded by Major-General Thomas L. Crittenden, which was least exposed in the engagement, report over five thousand killed and wounded. As they had two other corps, and a separate division, third of a corps, and their cavalry, it is safely estimated at three thousand killed and sixteen thousand wounded. Adding the six thousand two hundred and seventy-three prisoners, and we have a total of twenty-five thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

Lieut.-Gen. L. Polk and W. J. Hardee, commanding corps, Major-Gens. J. M. Withers and P. R. Cleburn, commanding divisions, are specially commended to their government for their valor, skill, and ability displayed by them throughout the engagement. Brig.-General J. Patton Anderson for his coolness, judgment, and courage with which he interposed his brigade between our retreating forces and the enemy, largely superior in numbers, on Friday evening, and saved our artillery, is justly entitled to special mention.

Brig.-Generals Joseph Wheeler and John A. Wharton, commanding cavalry brigades, were preeminently distinguished throughout the engagement, as they had been for a month previous in many successive conflicts with the enemy. Under their skilful and gallant lead, the reputation of our cavalry has been justly enhanced. For the just commendation of the officers, many of whom were preeminently distinguished, I must refer their more immediate commendation.

To the private soldier a fair word of praise is due, and though it is so seldom given, and so rarely expected, that it may be considered out of place. I cannot, in justice to myself, withhold the opinion ever entertained, and so often expressed during our struggle for independence.

In the absence of instructions and discipline of our armies, and of the confidence which long associations produce between veterans, we have in a great measure to trust to the individuality and self-reliance of the private soldiers, without the incentive or the motive which controls the officer who hopes to live in history, without the hope of reward, actuated only by a sense of duty and patriotism, he has in this great contest justly judged that the cause was his own, and gone into it with a determination to conquer or die, to be free or not to be at all; no encomium is too high, no honor too great for such a soldier. However much of credit and glory may be given, and probably justly given, to the leaders in the struggle, history will yet award the main honor, when it is due( to the private soldier, who, without hope of reward, and with no other incentive than a conscientiousness of rectitude has encountered all the hardships, and has suffered all the privations.

Well has it been said: The first monument our confederacy raises, when our independence shall have been won, should be a lofty shaft, pure and spotless, bearing this inscription: “To the unknown and unrecorded dead.” The members of my staff arduously engaged in their several duties before, during and since the prolonged engagement, are deserving of mention in this report. Lieut.-Colonels George Garner and G. W. Brent, and Captain P. H. Thompson, Adjutant-General's Department; First Lieutenants Towson, Ellis, and S. Parker, regular Aids-de-Camp; Lieut.-Colonel Baird, Inspector-General; Lieut.-Col. A. J. Hays, P. A. Major; Major James Stainbridge, Louisiana Infantry, and Major Clarelate, Seventh Alabama volunteers; Acting Assistant Inspector-General; Lieut.-Colonel L. W. P. Bannon, Chief Quarter-master; Major J. J. Walker, Chief Commissary; Major F. Mallory and G. M. Hillyer, Assistants; Lieutenant-Colonel H. Alidouskin, Chief of Ordnance; Captains W. H. Warren and O. T. Gibbs, and Lieutenant W. F. Johnson, Assistants; Captain

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 31st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: