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Relative numbers of the United States and Confederate States armies. [from the times-dispatch, January 8, 1905.]

Cazenove G. Lee's figures denied by Papers at the North.

With his reply.

One of the most important historical facts in ‘the great struggle we made for constitutional freedom’ (as General Lee always designated the war) is a correct statement of the ‘overwhelming numbers and resources’ against which the Confederates fought.

The disparity of numbers has been frequently brought out, but never more clearly than by Mr. Cazenove G. Lee, of Washington, in the following table, which was published originally in the Baltimore Sun.

Mr. Lee's figures show that the total enlistments in the Northern army were 2,778,304, as against 600,000 in the Confederate army. The foreigners and negroes in the Northern army aggregated 680,-917 or 80,917 more than the total strength of the Confederate army. There were 316,424 men of Southern birth in the Northern army. Mr. Lee's figures are as follows:

Northern Army.

Whites from the North,2,272,333
Whites from the South,316,424
Southern army,600,000
North's numerical superiority,2,178,304
In the Northern army there were:
British Americans,53,500


Other nationalities,74,900
Total of Southern soldiers,600,000
Southern men in Northern army,316,424

Armies at the wars end.

Aggregate Federal Army May 1, 1865,1,000,516
Aggregate Confederate Army May, 1865,133,433
No. in Battle.Confederates.Federals.
Seven days fight,80,835115,249
Federal prisoners in Confederate prisons,270,000
Confederate prisoners in Federal prisons,220,000
Confederates died in Federal prisons,26,436
Federals died in Confederate prisons,22,570

These figures were violently assailed in the Northern press, for our friends in that latitude have tried by every means that ingenuity could devise to disprove the claim of these Confederates that they fought against immense odds, but Mr. Lee has come back in a calm, dignified, and perfectly conclusive reply, in which he shows the accuracy of the figures he gave in his original statement.

This reply, which is given below, should be widely published and preserved as a conclusive statement of relative numbers engaged in the great war between the States.

J. Wm. Jones. Richmond, Va., December 27, 1904.


Mr. Lee's reply to his critics.

Messrs. Editors,—Several months ago you published some Civil war statistics prepared by me. These have been widely republished and much criticised. Will you kindly publish my authorities for these figures?

The statement most objected to is the totol number of enlistments in the Confederate army; that is, 600,000 men.

The New York Tribune never, to my knowledge, said anything kind or generous about the South, and, therefore, what it says in support of that section may be received as authentic. Its Washington correspondent in the issue of June 26, 1867, page I, says: ‘Among the documents which fell into our hands at the downfall of the Confederacy are the returns, very nearly complete, of the Confederate armies from their organization in the summer of 1861 down to the spring of 1865. These returns have been carefully analyzed, and I am enabled to furnish the returns in every department and for almost every month from these official sources. We judge in all 600,000 different men were in the Confederate ranks during the war. Of those we do not believe one-half are alive this day. Of the 300,000 of the Confederate soldiers yet alive no man can say what proportion are wholly or in part disabled by wounds or disease.’

General J. A. Early, in Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume II, page 20, says ‘This estimate is very nearly correct,’ and there was no better authority in the South than General Early. The American Cyclopedia (D. Appleton & Co., 1875), of which Charles A. Dana, late Assistant Secretary of War, was editor, in Volume V, page 232, says:

‘The Adjutant-General of the Confederate army, General S. Cooper, in a statement made since the close of hostilities, estimates the entire available Confederate forces capable of active service in the field at 600,000. Of this number not more than 400,000 were enrolled at any one time, and the Confederate States never had in the field at once more than 200,000 men.’

The letter of General Cooper relating to this subject is published in Volume VII, page 287, of the Southern Historical Society Papers.

Lieutenant-Colonel Fox of the United States army, in Losses in Civil War, says: [49]

‘The aggregate enrollment of the Confederate armies during the war, according to the best authorities, numbered over 600,000 effective men, of whom not over 400,000 were enrolled at one time.’

This author also gives to the ‘eleven States of the Confederacy a military population in 1860 of 1,064, 193, with which to confront 4,559,872 of the same class in the North.’ Of this 600,000 were in the Confederate army and 86,000 in the Union, while the Confederate States received 19,000 from the border States, making 677,009 in both armies out of the I,044,193 men of the age of service in the South, and leaving 387,184 for other duties, such as State government officials, Confederate government officials, railroad employes, ordnance and other manufacturers and skulkers and invalids. It is a historical fact that many of the centers of population in the South soon fell into the hands of the Federal army. Thus, in Virginia, Alexandria was occupied the day after secession, Norfolk and Wheeling soon after, together with the whole of the western part of the State, and by the time the Confederate conscription act went into force many large cities were out of the control of the Confederacy, and the circle gradually contracted until the end; therefore, it is safe to say that the conscription act was never enforced in half of the territory, and that the most populous part of the Confederate States. In the town of Alexandria, Va., for instance, five companies of infantry and one of artillery were organized in 1861. Alexandria's quota should not have been less than 1,000, according to the established rule, but these companies numbered less than 500 men, most of them young men from 18 to 25, and after the occupation by the Union soldiers very few reached the Confederate ranks. Of those who remained at home, many from necessity, having no other means of livelihood, served the Federal army in various capacities, such as teamsters, drovers and laborers, and these are not estimated among those who enlisted in that army. These conditions existed in many parts of the South, so that it will be seen the estimates made by Northern authorities from the population of the South are not reliable, and that given by the authorities who were best able to judge must be received.

While it is a historical fact that we fought as a whole about five men to our one, and that it took four years to conquer us, and while the Northern men were better equipped, better armed, better clothed and fed, still it does not prove they were less brave, for [50] they came from the same race of people; but it does prove they were without a cause and without leaders. A great leader will incite men to brave actions even in a bad cause, but a noble cause will incite them to brave action without a leader. The attempt was made to convince the North that they fought for the Union, and some think so even now, but the truth is, if the Northern leaders had loved the Union as devotedly as did Davis, Stephens, Lee and the Johnstons war would have been impossible. What the North did fight for was a fanatical frenzy on the part of its leaders to free the negroes, in which nine-tenths of the men felt no interest, and on the part of the politicians and contractors to feather their nests.

On the other hand, the cause of the South could not be better stated than in General Order No. 16, to the Army of Northern Virginia, which says:

‘Let every soldier remember that on his courage and fidelity depends all that makes life worth living, the freedom of his country, the honor of his people and the security of his home.’

Could they fight for a better cause, and has not such a cause made men superhumanly brave in all ages?

Did the North produce in their respective sphere men of such extraordinary military genius as Lee, Jackson, A. S. Johnston, Stuart, Forest and Mosby? No intelligent, candid, Northern man of to-day claims that it did. When I look at the snap judgments on posterity, statues to Northern generals (though most of them are Southern men) in Washington, I wonder how posterity will treat these outrages on justice. They will not find an impartial, competent military historian that will give to one of them, except, perhaps, McClellan, one particle of military genius. These, I believe, to be the true reasons for the long-delayed success of the Northern armies, notwithstanding their overpowering numbers and resources.

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