A city contemporary not only agrees with us, that Grant
's force has been greatly overrated, but from documents in his possession and published in part by him, places it even lower than we have ventured to do. He thinks he can barely muster 90,000 men, infantry, artillery and cavalry, allowing his regiments 500 men each, which he thinks, and which we think, excessive.
We are very much inclined to believe he is nearer the truth than we were, and we thought as much at the time we wrote our article, but concluded it would be best to err on the safe side. --We allowed him 115,000 men of all arms, estimating his army when it commenced its march at 130,000, rating his losses at 100,000, and giving him credit, upon the statements of Stanton
, the Northern
press, and the prisoners captured by our troops, for reinforcements to the extent of 85,000.
But we do not believe he had 130,000 in the beginning.
Our correspondent "Sallust," who is rarely far in the wrong, estimated his infantry before any battle had been fought at 92,000.
It is certain that Sheridan
never had more than 12,000 cavalry, and there was very little besides.
Allow him, however, 15,000 cavalry and 5,000 artillery, and we make his force at starting 112,000 men. Of these, according to our calculation, he has lost 100,000 men. But his losses have been supplied to a great extent as fast as they occurred.
His 85,000 reinforcements, would bring his army up to 97,000.
But has he received reinforcements to that extent?
We have the word of Stanton
— the greatest liar in Christendom — that he sent him 25,000 veterans.
That statement was published a fortnight ago, while he was still in Hanover
We have the word of Yankee prisoners that 40,000 had reached him from Ohio
That statement is far from being as worthy of credit as the gospel. --We have the statement of a Yankee correspondent, that Butler
had sent him 30,000. --That we set down as extremely doubtful.--Lastly, we have the statement of Stanton
, that Col. Cesnols
, at the head of 5,000, had reached him, about the first of this month.
True, no doubt, as to the fact of Cesnola
's having reached him, but unworthy of credit as to the numbers.
How comes a Yankee Colonel
in command of 5,000 troops, when they have so many Brigadiers doing nothing?--On the whole, we are disposed to think the estimate of our contemporary much more nearly correct than ours, and we believe even his estimate to be exaggerated.
The country owes Gen. Lee
a debt of everlasting gratitude for the vigor, perseverance, and skill with which he has conducted this campaign.
We are confident that there is nothing comparable to it in all history.
His economy of his men's lives is above all praise, and ought to, as it no doubt does, call down blessings on him from every family in the Confederacy
Such has been the skill with which his operations have been conducted that he has always compelled his enemy to attack him behind his breastworks, whence his men inflicted the most enormous loss, without sustaining anything like an equivalent.
In this campaign the casualties of the enemy, as contrasted with ours, have certainly not been loss than five to one--Stanton
telegraphs that Grant
only lost 7,500 men in the battle around Cold Harbor.
The figures ought to be multiplied, we have no doubt, by at least three; but, allowing them to be correct, what a disparity is presented.
The Confederates have not had 1,500 casualties since the two armies were in their present position!
Never were so prodigious results produced with so little loss.
The only defensives
campaign of modern times which can be compared to this, is Wellington
's in Portugal
, in 1810.
Compare the two, and the campaign of Lee
will be found to be infinitely the more brilliant.--Portugal
was threatened by an army of 70,000 men under Massena
met him on the frontier, and repulsed him in the battle of Basaco.
After that he fell back, covered his retreat by the Cos, and leisurely entered the lines which he had been fortifying for a year to cover Lisbon
, and which have become famous over the whole civilized world as the lines of Torres Vedras.--His force behind these lines amounted to 55,000 splendid troops, English and Portuguese, assisted by 40,000 militia.
The lines themselves, three in number, presented the most tremendous system of fortifications of which there is any account.
They extended from the Tagus
on one side, to the ocean on the other, Lisbon
, which is on the river near its month, being in their rear and entirely surrounded by them, and itself strongly fortified, while an enormous fleet of transports, men of war, and merchant vessels, all English
, lay in the harbor and kept the Anglo-Portuguese army constantly supplied with provisions, recruits, and all the munitions and appliances of war. Great credit is certainly due to the English General
for his forethought in creating these works; but once erected, they rendered the defence of Portugal
a matter of absolute certainly, for no force could prevail against them.
In the meantime Massena
advanced through a country which the policy of his adversary and the zeal of the inhabitants had converted into a desert.
Every horse, every cow, every sheep, every goat, every particle of provision, every bit of grain, had been either removed or destroyed, and as the French
had depended on their favorite system of making war support war — that is, if living on the country — they had neglected to bring their supplies with them, and soon began to be pinched by hunger.
True, they were partially supplied from beyond the frontier; but the way was long and rugged, the guerillas swarmed around the convoys, and the supply was to the last degree precarious.
Fifteen thousand men disbanded, and dispersed in search of food, sickness and death prevailed in the French
camp, while Welling
on sat quietly behind his fortifications, never offering battle, suffering two important towns to be taken on the frontier rather than abandon his advantages, supplied with everything that heart could wish, and calmly waiting for his enemies to break up and retreat.
That time came at last.
, having lost half his men without fighting a battle, decamped in the utmost disorder, leaving all his artillery behind him, because his horses were all dead, and carrying off his cavalry dismounted for the same reason.
followed, yet even then did not attack him, but suffered him to gain the frontier and recruit.
had none of these advantages.
He had no Torres Vedras on which he could fall back.
He had no fleet to supply him with everything he wanted.
He had an enemy in his front, and another in his rear; and that enemy was not only enormously superior in numbers, but had the entire command of the sea. He fought not one, merely, but half a dozen great battles before he fell back to his base, killing, wounding, and making prisoners, 75,000 men; more than Wellington
put hors de combat
during the whole time he was in Portugal
Arrived in the neighborhood of his works, he does not seek shelter behind them.
He defies his enemy outside of them, and that enemy having twice attacked him, and met with a murderous repulse each time, seems not at all disposed to try it again.