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 army at the opening of the campaign. He had inflicted on Lee a loss of twenty thousand—the ratio being one to three.1 The Confederates, elated at the skilful manner in which they had constantly been thrust between Richmond and the Union army, and conscious of the terrible price in blood they had exacted from the latter, were in high spirit, and the morale of Lee's army was never better than after the battle of Cold Harbor.2 It is not often in war that a belligerent is in condition to afford a sacrifice thus disproportionate; nor can results thus achieved be accounted the proof and procedure of a high order of generalship. I shall endeavor to show this by a recurrence to those simple principles to which great military questions may almost always be reduced.
1 In stating the casualties of the Confederate army at twenty thousand, I place the aggregate somewhat higher than that obtained from the Confederate sources of information to which I have had access. General Lee's adjutantgen-eral, in conversation with the writer, gave eighteen thousand as his impression of the loss. This number corresponds remarkably with that derived from a comparison of the force with which Lee opened the campaign and that present after the battle of Cold Harbor. The former was fifty-two thousand six hundred and twenty-six, and on May 31 it was forty-four thousand two hundred and forty-seven, the difference being somewhat above eight thousand. But meanwhile Lee had received accessions to his strength-seven thousand men under Pickett, from Petersburg, and two thousand under Breckenridge, from the Valley. This would make his loss, up to Cold Harbor, seventeen thousand; and adding one thousand for the casualties of that battle (an over-estimate), we obtain an aggregate of eighteen thousand.
2 I have until lately taken a different view of the condition of Lee's army at this time, inferring that the severe strain to which it had been constantly subjected, must have shaken its morale. In first writing touching this part of the campaign, I used the following language: ‘There was one result of a purely moral order that sprang from this campaign that had, without doubt, a considerable influence on its issue. The very relentlessness with which General Grant dealt his blows, and sacrificed lives to deal these blows, assumed at length to the enemy the aspect of a remorseless fate; taught him that there was a hand at his throat that never would unloose its grasp, and shook him in advance with anticipated doom.’ In holding a different opinion of the condition of the Army of Northern Virginia at this time, I ground the statement on the unanimous and emphatic testimony of officers of that army
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