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[280] they were most sternly logical; that as patriots, they had no superiors; and as soldiers, they have had no equals.

This is our conviction, that these men ventured all for self government and died in a righteous and holy cause.

Now, as for their achievements. They were matched against as brave soldiers as the world had produced, in love with a sentiment— the Union. They were outnumbered in the aggregate as six to twenty-seven, or more than four to one. In population, their section (excluding slaves) was as seven to twenty-two, or less than one to three. And yet they carried on the points of their bayonets their cause for four long years, and in the end yielded to famine and an exhausted treasury, rather than to military necessity.

We cannot evade history. We may for a time startle her from her propriety, but she will in the end regain her equipoise.

I have already remarked upon the absurd paradox presented in our school histories, namely, that while in the aggregate the Federal army numbered over twenty-seven hundred thousand and the Confederate but a little over six hundred thousand, yet, in the separate decisive battles of the war, the forces engaged were nearly equal. What surpassing generalship! What matchless strategic skill, which, with an average disparity of more than four to one, yet, on every critical plain, could oppose an equal number to their adversaries! But we can not suffer the prowess of these private soldiers, so justly extolled to-night by one of their most brilliant captains, to be disparaged, even to increase the fame of their immortal leaders. Let the plain story be told, though our Peter Parley histories and Mother Goose biographies should have to be relegated to the regions of romance where they rightfully belong. Let us frankly acknowledge that from first to last, on every important field from Manassas to Appomattox, the Army of the Potomac, composed of brave, enthusiastic, and well-equipped soldiers, outnumbered the Army of Northern Virginia by an average of more than two to one; that for the first two years, the latter were mainly armed and clothed by captures from the opposing forces; that they never hesitated when ordered to attack a superior force and seldom failed to gain the advantage; that they took more prisoners than they lost by capture; that they killed more than they lost in battle, and that in one important campaign they destroyed more of the enemy by ten thousand than the actual count of their own whole army.

I have compiled a table founded on the most reliable authorities

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