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[274] calculations—1st. The strength and loss in my own division; 2d. The strength of the five divisions reported; 3d. The strength of fourteen brigades, including largest and smallest; 4th. The strength of eighteen regiments, including largest and smallest. Taking General McClellan's own estimate of his forces, 87,64, the boys in gray were outnumbered by sixty thousand. Not one of you who were on that terrible field will think even now, when calmly reviewing the awful scenes of that bloody day, that the odds against us was less than three to one. Who did not see again and again a thin Rebel line, scarcely a skirmish line, attack three heavy lines of battle with the utmost confidence, and come back again looking puzzled because the other fellows did not run? I will attempt no description of the wonderful deeds of valor performed by the hungry, ragged and broken down Rebels. Your own Patrick Henry could not do justice to it; my poor, stammering tongue would fall infinitely short of it. I have seen a plucky little bee martin hover over, swoop down upon and peck at the ferocious hawk, and I have seen the grotesque movements of the great hulking bird to avoid the tiny beak of its tormentor. These old eyes of mine have watched that battle in the air, and these old eyes of mine looked upon the battle by the Antietam.

It is to the glory of Virginia that more than one-fourth of the infantry regiments, and about one-fourth of batteries actually engaged at Sharpsburg belonged to the Old Dominion. The best handling of artillery which I saw during the war was there, always excepting the King William battery at Seven Pines. That irrepressible and ubiquitous battery was at Sharpsburg also. I said in my official report, and I have said hundreds of time since, that this battery contributed largely to the defeat of Burnside's attack on our right and rear.

What shall I say of that wonderful campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg, in which Lee's army killed and wounded more of their enemies than they had men in their own ranks? What shall I say of the ten months in the trenches, under a constant rain of shot and shell, endured by these privates in the ranks half fed, half clothed, destitute of all the usual appliances for a defensive siege; stifled at one time with heat and at another frozen with cold; fighting against ever-increasing odds—three times, five times, ten times, twenty times their own number—confronting in their want and misery the sleek soldiers of the most pampered army on the globe, luxurious in its comforts, magnificent in its appointments, and invincible in its serried masses? But

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George B. McClellan (1)
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