previous next

[387] Confederate power — the gloom, as well as the determination of the :greater part of the Southern people, who did not need the after light of history to reckon aright the stunning effect of the blows just received — the rising disaffection of certain portions of the Confederacy under the pressure of the new call of the conscription acts, extending the draft upon our populations upwards to men of forty-five and downwards to boys of eighteen--the growing conception of the colossal power marshalled against us — the sufferings of all the people in their homes — the fierce storm of battle let loose upon Charleston — the calm repose of the only two great armies left to the Confederacy, Lee's in Virginia after the deadly grapple at Gettysburg, defiantly holding its adversary at bay; Bragg's in Tennessee, after vainly weakening itself to succour Vicksburg, waiting the spring of its powerful foe, with no other hope than to avoid it nimbly and retire upon the strong gateway of the South, Chattanooga — if, carrying in your minds all the details of those anxious days of July and August, 1863, you will pass rapidly with me over the events which culminated in the battle of Chickamauga, and then, reflecting upon what happened one year later, if it appear that to the men who fought at Chickamauga the Southern people owed one year's respite from their inevitable fate; if I show you that to the extraordinary and romantic presence of two divisions of Longstreet's corps on that field the result of that battle is strictly to be ascribed; if I can impart a proper conception of the magnanimity of your great leader in stripping himself of so large a portion of his strength after such a campaign as that of Gettysburg, or of the exceeding skill and fortune with which that wonderful movement of Longstreet's over nine hundred miles of dilapidated railways was swiftly and secretly conducted, I feel that you will rather tax the temerity of the speaker than the poverty of the theme.

In the last days of June, 1863, General Bragg stood in advance of Shelbyville in Middle Tennessee with about 47,0001 men of all arms,

1 In comparing the numbers of two armies it is obvious that some common basis of comparison is necessary. The Federal returns contain a column entitled “Present for duty equipped.” This is made up by deducting from the aggregate of officers and men reported “Present for duty” all those who, for lack of arms or for some other reason, it is assumed would not stand in line of battle. When the officials of the War Department are asked to report the strength of any army on any field, they use this column of “Present for duty equipped,” and it is to be supposed — that military writers on the Federal side observe the same practice. In five Federal returns examined by me, the aggregates of this column were less by four, five, six, six and ten per cent., respectively than the aggregates of the “Present for duty.”

The Confederate returns contain no such column, but they give a column called the “Effective Total,” which is generally made up by adding together the sergeants, corporals and privates present for duty. As the Federal returns contain no similar column, this is obviously an unsuitable standard of comparison, and certainly it is rather odd not to count the officers standing in line of battle as part of the effective force of an army.

The column of officers and men “Present for duty” appears in the returns of both armies, and is made up in the same way; the aggregate thus reached is subject in each army to the same influences, tending to reduce it practically in actual line of battle. I have, therefore, uniformly used this aggregate of officers and men “Present for duty” to denote the strength of an army.

By the tri-monthly return of June 20, 1863, made by General Bragg, now in he Archive office of the War Department, the aggregate of officers and men of all arms “Present for duty” in the Army of Tennessee is 47,249, to which the cavalry contributed 14,290. In the tri-monthly return of the Department of the Cumberland of June 30, 1863, the aggregate “Present for duty” of all arms is given at 79,681, but there is an obvious error in addition, the correction of which would make the aggregate 81,681; and as the aggregate “Present for duty equipped” is given at 80,222, the probability is that a further correction of the return would considerably increase the aggregate “Present for duty.” The return of June 20, 1863, shows that Bragg had under his command in addition to the Army of Tennessee : in the District of Tennessee, officers and men, “Present for duty” 1413; in the District of North Alabama “Present for duty” 1745.

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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: