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 large portion of its forces at any given point along its front. But these results had been dearly bought. The soldiers, obliged to work in the mud in an unhealthy climate, had suffered severely. The camps, too long seated on a marshy soil, had become the foci of swamp fevers and typhoid fevers. To the painful monotony of throwing up earthworks were added continual watches and picket duty, which deprived the men of that rest which is necessary to health, without offering them in exchange the stimulants of an active campaign. In short, fatigue and disgust multiplied the number of deserters into the interior, whose crime was encouraged by a vicious system of recruiting, and especially by the bait of bounties, which they hoped to receive by re-enlisting in new regiments. Consequently, notwithstanding the reinforcements which had come from Fortress Monroe, and the arrival of McCall's division, detached from McDowell's corps and landed on the 11th and 12th at White House, the effective force of the army was reduced to little more than one hundred thousand men for duty. Its official morning reports acknowledged thirty thousand absentees, nine-tenths of whom were on the sick-list, or quartered in the hospitals, or sent to their respective homes on leave as convalescents.1 The Confederates, on their side, had also made good use of the respite which circumstances had granted them. They had naturally opposed a line of entrenchments to those of the Federals. As McClellan's task was to capture Richmond, and not to defend the swamps of the Chickahominy, these delays all accrued to the benefit of his adversaries; and the more he fortified his position, the more the difficulties of the task he had to accomplish increased. The Confederate army was also receiving reinforcements; and, thanks to the plans which the Southern generals had caused the Richmond government to adopt, the
1 The following was the morning report of the army of the Potomac on the 20th of June: Present, one hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred and two; sick, detached, under arrest, twelve thousand two hundred and twenty-five; absent, twenty-nine thousand five hundred and eleven; total, one hundred and fifty-six thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight. The garrisons of Fort Monroe and Yorktown should be deducted from the first figure. Sumner's and Franklin's corps had the least number of men unfit for service. On the 10th of July, out of thirty-eight thousand two hundred and fifty absentees, thirty-four thousand four hundred and seventy-two were on regular leave of absence, three thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight had deserted to the interior.
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