previous next

[95] wounded and captured reported by the enemy, for they do not include stragglers who did not fall into their hands, but failed to join their commands. What is the number of Lee's killed, which must be deducted from the excess above the number captured to ascertain the number of these absentees from other causes than death, captivity or wounds? Grant's losses in the final operations were 9,994 officers and men, of whom about 2,000 were killed. The Confederate loss in killed was somewhat greater. At Five Forks, at several places on the lines, and at Sailors Creek, the Confederates retreated under fire, after being defeated in battle, and sometimes in great disorder, and their losses were greater than their assailants. Grant's troops, however, fell back under fire in Warren's fight, so did Sheridan's towards Dinwiddie. Grant's troops were repulsed at several places on the lines, gained costly success at Battery Gregg,1 and made unsuccessful attacks on field breastworks at Sutherland's Station, and when Humphreys attacked Lee near Farmville. In these actions Grant's losses were considerably greater than Lee's. Upon the whole, it is a fair estimate that Lee's losses in killed during these operations did not exceed 2,500. Deduct this number, and we have 4,500 as the whole number of absentees who were lost to Lee from the beginning to the end of the operations, from any other cause than death, wounds or captivity. Of this number of absentees, as we have seen, fully 2,500 were lost to Lee at Five Forks and on the lines on April 2d, and never started on the retreat. The remainder, 2,000, dropped out of ranks between Amelia Courthouse, where the great suffering for food began, and Appomattox Courthouse. The number of all these absentees, under the adverse circumstances, would be far from proving that the army was melting away. As to most of these absentees, their straggling or absence from their colors proves rather weakness of body than waning fealty to their cause. The fact that only two thousand of them succumbed to despair, famine, or temptation to abandon their colors, on that long march to Appomattox, after nearly two weeks of continuous battle and terrible suffering, affords sublime testimony to the heroic courage and fortitude of that other 34,000 fighting men who started on that memorable retreat, and none of whom was absent at the end, save the killed, wounded and captured in battle.

1 Grant lost 714 men at Battery Gregg.

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)
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.
Robert E. Lee (6)
Ulysses S. Grant (5)
Edward Warren (1)
Philip Sheridan (1)
Humphreys (1)
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.
April 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: