previous next
[32] strong,1 consisted of fifteen regiments organized into five brigades and two divisions.2 Stevens's division comprised but three small brigades, one of three and the other two of two regiments each. The regiments of the division, under Pope's estimate, averaged four hundred and sixty-six men each. So Stevens added three thousand two hundred and sixty-six men to Kearney's four thousand five hundred—together, over seven thousand seven hundred fresh troops attacking a division originally, it is true, of a little over ten thousand, but which had then been fighting ten hours at least. Surely the disparity was entirely against Hill's division, and not in our favor. Complimenting Schurz's division, as it was relieved at midday by Hooker, General Gordon says, page 259:
‘From 5 o'clock in the morning his (Schurz's) division had been under fire. Since the evening before they had been without food; from death and from wounds their losses had been severe; from constant engagements, they had exhausted their ammunition. They retired behind the hill on which the battery of the second brigade had been in position, and from thence they moved to a wood about four hundred yards to the rear. The division of Schurz's took no further part in the actions of the day. The General commanding this division praised the conduct of his troops, and they were entitled to praise.’

We think so too. They were entitled to praise. But who on our side had this division been contending with since five in the morning? Was it not with Hill's division? And had we been eating while they were without food? Had not we, too, suffered from death and from wounds? Was not our ammunition expended equally with them? And yet they were relieved as having done their full share of the day's work, while we, after having withstood Hooker's division and Gower's charge, since Schurz had been relieved, were expected to be more than a match for Kearney's and Stevens's seven thousand fresh troops.

Kearney indeed had a beginning of victory, a presage of success. Our men were thoroughly exhausted. Whatever the spirit was still willing to do and dare, the flesh was failing. The Frenchman's epigram as he witnessed the charge at Balaklava, ‘c'est magnifique mais ce n'est pas la guerre,’ had no application here. It was the reverse. It was war, but it was not grand. Ten hours of actual conflict had exhausted all the romance of the battle. It was business; it was work, wearisome work in the face of death we were doing. Our feet were worn and weary, and our arms were nerveless.

1 The Army under Pope, page 195.

2 Ibid, page 210.

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Balaklava (Ukraine) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Carl Schurz (4)
W. H. Stevens (3)
Philip Kearney (3)
Frederick Pope (2)
Joe Hooker (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
Gower (1)
George H. Gordon (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: