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[144] his forced retreat across the Potomac, who can point out any real, tangible advantage attained for his cause by all these bloody sacrifices? His victories over McClellan and Pope were disappointing, but they did not shake the determination of the North, or for one moment unsettle its purpose to crush the rebellion.

He had inflicted on the enemy losses less than his own army had sustained, except in prisoners; the long, unceasing strain of battle, with its harassments and its killings, had brought his once formidable army to so low a state of morale and discipline that there was well-grounded fear of its total dissolution by wholesale desertion and straggling after Antietam, if we may believe General Lee's own statements and those of D. H. Hill and others. September 22d, five days after the battle, his total infantry force present for duty was officially stated at only 35,757. Lee telegraphed Secretary Randolph September 23d, that ‘unless something is done the army will melt away.’

In short, at this time the Confederate outlook was gloomy. The fortunes of the Confederacy were then at a lower ebb, in my opinion, than at any other period of its existence, except during the last few months prior to the final collapse in 1865. Its army was reduced to a frazzle by its frightful losses, and other causes far more more dangerous to its existence; the object of its chief general's campaign had been defeated and his weakened army thrown back upon the defensive. And what was worse, notwithstanding Lee's apparent successes, which had set the South delirious with joy, while he had thus been sensibly growing weaker, his adversary, constantly gaining in strength, was now confronting him more numerous and powerful, more confident and determined than ever. McClellan's effective army shortly after Antietam had increased to over 15o,000 men. Lee was relatively worse off than at the beginning of his series of brilliant operations. All the reinforcements added to Joe Johnston's army in June had disappeared into the grave, the Southern hospitals or deserted to their homes.

Mere stupidity largely contributed to Lee's principal successes, whereas in Grant's advance upon Richmond, the Confederate defense, from first to last, was conducted with consummate ability. And note the difference in results. Lee lost 45,000 men and gained no permanent advantage, whereas Grant, after losses not exceeding the other's, permanently fastened himself upon the very throat of the rebellion, and just eleven months from the time he set forth he had accomplished his object in its complete overthrow to recompense

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