previous next

[341] the statement of losses in the world's noted battles. General Wheeler, the distinguished Confederate cavalry commander, thus vividly presented this question at the gathering of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland and Confederates at Chattanooga in 1881:

Waterloo was one of the most desperate and bloody fields chronicled in European history, yet Wellington's casualties were less than twelve per cent., his losses being 2,432 killed and 9,528 wounded out of 90,000 men; while at Shiloh, the first great battle in which General Grant was engaged, one side lost in killed and wounded 9,740 out of 33,000, while their opponents reported their killed and wounded 9,616, making the casualties about thirty per cent. At the great battle of Wagram Napoleon lost but about five per cent. At Wurzburg the French lost but three and a half per cent., and yet the army gave up the field and retreated to the Rhine. At Racour Marshal Saxe lost but two and a half per cent. At Zurich Massena lost but eight per cent. At Lagriz Frederick lost but six and a half per cent. At Malplaquet Marlborough lost but ten per cent., and at Ramillies the same intrepid commander lost but six per cent. At Contras Henry of Navarre was reported as cut to pieces, yet his loss was less than ten per cent. At Lodi Napoleon lost one and one-fourth per cent. At Valmy Frederick lost but three per cent., and at the great battles of Marengo and Austerlitz, sanguinary as they were, Napoleon lost an average of less than fourteen and a half per cent. At Magenta and Solferino, in 1859, the average loss of both armies was less than nine per cent. At Koniggratz, in 1866, it was six per cent. At Worth, Specheran, Mars la Tour, Gravelotte and Sedan, in 1870, the average loss was twelve per cent.

At Linden General Moreau lost but four per cent., and the Archduke John lost but seven per cent. in killed and wounded. Americans can scarcely call this a lively skirmish. At Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania, the loss frequently reached and sometimes exceeded forty per cent., and the average of killed and wounded, on one side or the other, was over thirty per cent.

And when it is considered that this degree of bitter fighting was persistently maintained by both sides throughout the two entire days without any defensive works deserving of the name, and for the most part without any at all, except as the natural features of the ground supplied them in part to the Union side, it is readily seen that there is no other field of the war which more fully illustrates the indomitable courage and all the varied fighting qualities of the American

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 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.
Lodi Napoleon (6)
Joseph Wheeler (2)
Wellington (2)
Saxe (2)
Moreau (2)
Zurich Massena (2)
Mars (2)
Malplaquet Marlborough (2)
Contras Henry (2)
Grant (2)
Valmy Frederick (2)
Lagriz Frederick (2)
Americans (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1881 AD (2)
1870 AD (2)
1866 AD (2)
1859 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: