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Zzzthe odds against Early.

In reviewing his campaigns we realize the truth of General Lee's saying, ‘That it will be difficult to make the world believe the odds against which we fought,’ and the wisdom of Early's philosophy of the war, when he declined to ‘speculate on the causes of Confederate failure, finding abundant reason for it in the tremendous odds brought against us.’ Everything about his campaign has been exaggerated; his numbers, his defeats, his losses, the prisoners taken, and the extent of his disasters.

1. I have said that Sheridan's army was larger than Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, with Early's and Beauregard's troops included.

Here is the proof in Sheridan's return of his muster-roll for August, 1864 (see Serial 90 of the War Records, page 974), showing 173,624 aggregate, present and absent; 114,501, present; and 94,026, present for duty, with 736 seige-guns, and 397 field pieces.

This was more than Lee had—all told.

Many of Sheridan's men were at Washington, Baltimore and Chambersburg. But here is the return of what he had actually in the field with him, showing 62,740, aggregate, present, with 37,752 infantry, 14,734 cavalry, and 4,691 artillerymen, aggregate, 57,177 for duty. (See Serial 90, War Records, page 974.) [313]

2. I have said that Sheridan's three infantry corps each outnumbered, by average, Early's whole infantry force. Here is the proof: In Serial 90, of the War Records, page 61, you will find Sheridan's return of September 10th, showing present for duty, 45,487; the the Sixth Corps having infantry for duty, 12,696; the Nineteenth, 12,810, and Cook's army, of West Virginia, having 7,140; aggregate, 32,646, or an average for each corps of more than all of Early's infantry.

And in Pond's History, page 267, you will find the ruturns for the the month of September, showing the Sixth Corps with 10,067 infantry for duty. The Nineteenth with 10,862 infantry for duty; Crook's army, with 10,297; aggregate, 31,226, with the same result.

Sheridan says in his memoirs (1, page 471): ‘The Confederate army at this date (September) was about 20,000 strong, and consisted of Early's own corps, with General Rodes, Ramseur and Gordon commanding its divisions, the infantry of Breckinridge from Southwestern Virginia, three battalions of artillery, and the cavalry brigades of Vaughan, Johnson, McCausland and Imboden.’

The statement as to the infantry commands is correct; but as to numbers it nearly doubles the force of Early. The latter was remarkably accurate and reliable, and he says of this period (September 19, 1864): ‘The Second Corps numbered a little over 8,000 muskets when it was detached in pursuit of Hunter, and it had now been reduced to about 7,000 muskets by long and rapid marches, and the various engagements and skirmishes in which it had participated. Wharton's Division had been reduced to about 1,700 muskets by the same causes. Making a small allowance for details and those unfit for duty, I had about 8,500 muskets for duty.’

Vaughan's Cavalry had at this time been sent to Southwest Virginia, and ‘such,’ says Early, ‘had been the loss in all the brigades in the various fights and skirmishes in which they had been engaged, that the whole of this cavalry now under Lomax numbered only about 1,700 mounted men. Fitz Lee had brought with him two brigades—to-wit: Wickham's and Lomax's old Brigades (now under Colonel Payne), numbering about 1,200 mounted men.’ (Early's book, pp. 85, 86.) I have accepted each commander's statement as to his own troops, and they abundantly sustain me.

3. I have said that Sheridan's cavalry equalled all of Early's infantry, and was sometimes more than his whole army. The returns show that Averill had in August 6,472 present for duty, and Torbert in his corps 8,262-aggregate, 14,734. [314]

This was more than Early's whole force for duty, and more than three times our cavalry. And if you choose to pursue the investigation you will find in Serial 90 and 91 of the War Records reports of cavalry strength by divisions fully demonstrating the correctness of my statements.

4. I have said that Early in his campaign killed, wounded and captured more men than he had ever mustered on a battle-field. Here is the proof:

Hunter lost at Lynchburg 700, Wallace at Monocacy lost 1,959, and Sheridan reports his losses at 16,952. Total, 19,611.

Early had on his rolls 15,949 present and absent, counting Kershaw's Division which was not at Winchester; but with it present, August 31st, his whole infantry for duty was 14,485.

This was before the battles at Winchester and Fisher's Hill, and he never had more at any time.

Nor did his whole army ever equal in number the casualties reported by Sheridan; nor did Early's cavalry ever amount to 5,000.

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