previous next

[16] June and July, they being received after the return from the Gettysburg campaign, and the loss by death for the same period was 344, being mostly in battle, and by discharges and desertion it was 160. So that the recruits by enlistment, during the whole period, from the 1st of January to the 1st of Agust, 1863, did not amount to half the loss by discharges and desertion, leaving that by death out of the question. Three of my brigades were from Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, the States from which conscripts for the Army of Northern Virginia were principally received. My returns show that very nearly the whole of the recruits received in the division were from those States, the greater number being from North Carolina. So if recruits were received to any extent by the Army of Northern Virginia between the 31st of May, 1863, and the time that army crossed the Potomac, my division returns would indicate the fact. That they do not do so is very conclusive evidence that the assumption of the Comte de Paris is wholly unwarranted.1

1 Note.--In a communication to the Secretary of the Southern Historical Society from the Comte de Paris, dated March 23d, he states that he has now obtained a full copy of the returns of the Army of Northern Virginia for May 31st, 1863, by permission of the Adjutant-General of the United States army, but it does not appear that he has either applied for or obtained a copy of the return of Meade's army for the 30th of June, 1863, or at any other time — a fact which does not argue that diligent and impartial research which should characterize one who assumes the role of an historian.

In making his deductions from the return of May 31st, 1863, as he now has it, be again falls into some errors which it is proper to notice. He says: “Early's division had some of the hardest marching before it reached the Potomac,” &c. In this he is mistaken. The march from Fredericksburg to the vicinity of Culpeper Courthouse had been very deliberate, occupying from the 4th to the 8th of June, inclusive. From the vicinity of Culpeper Courthouse to Winchester, a distance of about fifty miles, the division had marched in four days from the 10th to the 13th, inclusive. After being engaged around Winchester the afternoon of the 13th, the 14th and the morning of the 15th, having taken a day's rest, It moved to Shepherdstown on the Potomac, a distance of between thirty and thirty-five miles, by the 20th. It had thus occupied ten days in reaching the Potomac from the vicinity of Culpeper Courthouse, a distance of about eighty miles-one day and parts of two others being occupied In the operations around Winchester. Longstreet's corps left Culpeper Courthouse on the 15th, and Hill's left the heights of Fredericksburg on the same day, and, as they crossed the Potomac on the 25th, after Longstreet's corps had done some extra marching to support Stuart's cavalry, it follows that both corps did much severer marching before crossing the Potomac, than my division or any other part of Ewell's corps had done. The weather was also more sultry during the period of their march than it had been during ours.

The Comte now finds, by comparison of the returns of my division for the 31st of May with that of the 20th of June, that there was a loss of only 293, after deducting for the three regiments left behind, and the losses in action, which he states to be less than four per cent. He is here again mistaken. 293 is a little over four per cent. on 6,943, the entire strength of my division for duty on the 31st of May, and deducting the 850, which he allows for the three regiments left behind, it amounts to very nearly five per cent. on the residue of the division. But the fact is, that in the return of June the 20th was Included the Thirty-first Virginia regiment, which was not included in the return of the 31st of May, as I have above explained. That regiment numbered for duty, on the 20th of June, 280, which, being added to the 293 assumed by the Comte to be my total loss, makes a loss of 573 in the portion of the division included in both returns, being very nearly nine and a half per cent.

As there were no detachments made from Hays' and Gordon's brigades, and no additions to either, I have taken those two brigades to ascertain the ratio of decrease, in the absence of the return of the Thirty-first Virginia for the 31st of May, and of the three detached regiments and battalion for the 20th of June.

In those two brigades the decrease, exclusive of loss in action, was a little over ten per cent., and hence, as the marching they had done was not as severe as that done by Longstreet's and Hill's corps before they crossed the Potomac, I have assumed ten per cent. as the ratio of decrease in the whole army.

It is a little curious that, as the Comte thinks the loss in our army must have been very small from sickness, straggling and desertion, on account of the very fine weather (another fact about which he is greatly mistaken, as will be recollected by those who had to endure, without shelter, the heavy rains and cold nights we frequently had), he should make the decrease in Meade's army so excessive for the four days preceding the battle of Gettysburg.

It is true, as the Comte says, that when there were but eight divisions in the army there were but two smaller than mine, but when the number was increased to nine, mine became and remained more than an average one in size.

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 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.
James Longstreet (3)
George Meade (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
Harry T. Hays (1)
John B. Gordon (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
Jubal A. Early (1)
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.
May 31st (4)
May 31st, 1863 AD (3)
June 20th (3)
15th (2)
June 20th, 280 AD (1)
June 30th, 1863 AD (1)
1863 AD (1)
July (1)
June 8th (1)
March 23rd (1)
January 1st (1)
25th (1)
13th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: