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[59] evacuation of Richmond, or to describe, except in the simplest way, the movements of the army from Petersburg to Appomattox. I shall not be able even to mention all the actions on the retreat or to describe many of its noted scenes or to recall many heroic feats of arms, or to attempt, were I worthy to pronounce it, any eulogy upon its great commander.


The strength of the contending armies.

The odds against which the army contended, both moral and physical, are not comprehended even now by many who took part in the struggle. It is material, therefore, to consider the strength and conditions of the two armies at the commencement of the operations which ended at Appomattox.

The exact strength of the contending armies at the opening of hostilities, March 25, 1865, is a matter of some dispute. The morning reports and field returns of the two armies, however, give data from which the strength of each can be determined with substantial accuracy.

Major General Humphreys, at one time chief of staff to General Meade, and afterwards a corps commander in his army, a writer of great ability and fairness, states that the total effective of Lee's army on the 25th day of March, 1865, was infantry 46,000, field artillery 5,000, and cavalry 6,000, making a total of not less than 57,000 officers and men. He appears to reach these figures on the assumption that Wise's brigade, 2,000 strong, was not included in the reports of Anderson's corps, and that Rosser's cavalry was also omitted from the last morning returns of the Department of Northern Virginia of February 20, 1865. Not having the returns before me for inspection, it is impossible to determine whether the assumption is well founded.1

The last morning report of the Department of Northern Virginia was made February 20, 1865, and included not only the troops around Petersburg and Richmond, but those in the Valley and guarding bridges and railroads in the department, and other unattached

1 Colonel Taylor, in ‘Four Years with General Lee,’ speaks of the morning return of February 28, 1865, while Humphreys and other Northern writers speak of the return of February 20, 1865, as being the ‘last morning report of the A. N. V. on file in the War Department.’ All evidently refer to the same report since the figures in each are the same.

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