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Relative numbers and losses at slaughter's mountain ( “Cedar Run” )

By Colonel Wm. Allan, late Chief of Ordnance, Second Corps, A. N. V.

McDonough school, Md., March 2, 1880.
Rev. Dr. J. Wm. Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society:
My Dear Sir--General G. H. Gordon, of Massachusetts, has published several valuable papers on the war. His last book (noticed in your last number) is, however, by far the most elaborate and useful. Indeed, it is the most extensive and carefully prepared account of Pope's campaign (after Cedar Run) that I have met with. It is vivid, and, with some exceptions, which may be credited to the natural bias of an earnest and active participant in the struggle, it is fair and truthful. The faults of style, which are many, and the diffuseness with which the jealousies and spites of Halleck, Pope, Fitz John Porter, McClellan and others are told over and over again, may be pardoned to a gallant soldier, more at home on a hard fought field than in the cabinet. Nor is his own temper always serene. General Banks probably considers him a good hater, if no worse. But General Gordon's clear and vigorous description, his manly independence, his oftentimes generous appreciation of his foemen, are qualities that far outweigh his imperfections.

I write not to review his book. There are passages in the history of Pope's campaign very unfair and that I hope will receive the prompt attention of our old chief General Early, whose trenchant pen can best set forth the right. But General Gordon has been careless and inaccurate (not in comparison with other writers, but with other parts of his work) in the statement of numbers, and I would do what I can to correct these, and to call out from others the information yet wanting to a complete settlement of the questions involved.

And let me say at the outset, that General Gordon is entirely free from the gross exaggerations and absurd statements about Federal and Confederate numbers that characterize so many Northern (and I may add not a few Southern) writers. He has merely not always taken care to be accurate, and has naturally erred in favor of his own side.

Pope's campaign began with the battle of Cedar Run, and though General Gordon treats of that in a previous book, I send you such facts as to the strength of the forces there engaged as I am able to find. [179]

1. In regard to the total Confederate strength under Jackson on August 9 (battle of Cedar Run), General Gordon is not so far wrong.

General Jackson had at that time Winder's, Ewell's and A. P. Hill's divisions and Robertson's brigade of cavalry. The organization was, I believe, as follows on July 23d:

Winder's division.
Stonewall Brigade--Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-third Virginia regiments5
Jones' Brigade--Twenty-first, Forty-second, Forty-eighth Virginia regiments and First Virginia battalion3 1/2
Taliaferro's Brigade--Tenth, Twenty-third, Thirty-seventh Virginia and Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Alabama regiments5
Lawton's Brigade--Thirteenth, Twenty-sixth, Thirty-first, Thirty-eighth, Sixtieth and Sixty-first Georgia regiments6
Ewell's division.
Early's Brigade--Thirteenth, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-first, Forty-fourth, Fifty-second, Fifty-eighth Virginia, and Twelfth Georgia regiments,7
Trimble's Brigade--Fifteenth Alabama, Twenty-first Georgia, and Twenty-first North Carolina regiments3
Hays' Brigade--Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Louisiana regiments and First Louisiana battalion4
Maryland Line1
A. P. Hill's division.
Thomas' Brigade--Fourteenth, Thirty-fifth, Forty-fifth and Forty-ninth Georgia regiments, and Third Louisiana battalion4 1/2
Branch's Brigade--Seventh, Eighteenth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third and Thirty-seventh North Carolina regiments5
Archer's Brigade--First, Seventh and Fourteenth Tennessee and Nineteenth Georgia regiments and Fifth Alabama battalion4 1/2
Pender's Brigade--Sixteenth, Twenty-second, Thirty-fourth and Thirty-eighth North Carolina regiments4
Field's Brigade--Fortieth, Forty-seventh, Fifty-fifth and Sixtieth Virginia and Second heavy artilery regiment5
Gregg's Brigade--First, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth South Carolina and First South Carolina rifles5

Add to this Stafford's, which arrived just in time for the battle, and was under General Hill's command that day:

Stafford's Brigade--First, Second, Ninth, Tenth and Fifteenth Louisiana regiments and Coppen's battalion (of which the Fifteenth Louisiana regiment was mainly composed of the Third Louisiana battalion of Thomas' brigade)5
Robertson's Brigade--Second, Sixth, Seventh and Twelfth Virginia cavalry4


A. P. Hill had nine batteries on July 23d, of which six seem to have been with him at Gordonsville, while the batteries in the other divisions were eleven. Total batteries, seventeen.

Now the return of A. P. Hill's division for July 20th, 1862, gives his officers and men present for duty as 10,623 (see Colonel Taylor's Four Years with General Lee). He had twenty-eight infantry regiments and nine batteries then, and assuming his infantry to have been 10,000, we have the average strentgh of his regiments as 357. The only portion of his command whose strength is reported at Cedar Run is Archer's brigade, which was “1,200 strong” in that fight. This would give Archer's regiments but 267 each on August 9.

No return of Winder's and Ewell's divisions for this period is to be found. Colonel Taylor estimates them together at 8,000 men; but I think he has probably overlooked the fact that these divisions contained not merely the troops that had followed Jackson in his famous Valley campaign, but two brigades and more in addition. Thus the infantry engaged in the Valley campaign and taken by Jackson to Richmond, consisted of twenty-eight regiments. The strength of nine of these at Cedar Run is given in the Confederate official reports of the battle. They were the seven in Early's brigade and the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-third Virginia, in the Stonewall brigade. General Early reports his brigade as 1,700 “effectives.” The Twenty-seventh Virginia had 130 “rank and file,” and the Thirty-third Virginia 150 engaged and 160 when it began to march to the battlefield. Thus Early's regiments averaged about 250 and the other two about 150 each. Taking the higher figure the whole twenty-eight regiments may have numbered 7,000, and the artillery would have added 600 or 700 more. This is probably the force that Colonel Taylor puts at 8,000 men.

But at Cedar Run Jackson had in addition six regiments, constituting Lawton's brigade, five and a half constituting Stafford's brigade, and the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Alabama regiments added to Taliaferro's brigade. He had lost by transfer one regiment (Sixteenth Mississippi) from Trimble's brigade Hence, he had gained twelve and a half regiments in addition to [181] those that had fought in the Valley. Lawton's regiments were comparatively strong. Stafford's were not; but if we put them at the average of Hill's regiments on July 20th, or about 350, we shall certainly be over rather than under the mark. Hence Jackson had, exclusive of Hill, possibly 12,000 infantry and artillery. Robertson's cavalry, after its hard service, could hardly have exceeded 1,000 or 1,200 men. Thus the Confederate force under Jackson on August 9 was--

Hill's division10,623
Winder's and Ewell's division's12,000

Nearly 24,000 men.

Of this force two brigades, Lawton's and Gregg's, were not on the battlefield. This diminished Jackson's strength by eleven regiments or about 3,800 men. So his force engaged against Banks was, by the above, about 20,000 men. But this is no doubt an excessive estimate, for in it no account is taken of the diminution which must have taken place between the latter part of July and August 9th, due to the heat and sickness of the season. In the ten days preceding the battle, Banks' Federal corps seems to have lost twenty-five per cent. of its strength from this cause. Jackson's strength was lessened, but not to the same degree. Jackson's losses in the battle itself were 1,314.

There seems to be an unnecessary tangle about the strength of Pope's army at the time of Cedar Run, August 9.

General Pope reports officially as follows:

First corps (Seigel's)10,5509481,73013,228
Second corps (Banks')13,3431,2244,10418,671
Third corps (McDowell's)17,6049712,90421,479

Deduct infantry brigade stationed at Winchester2,500 
Deduct regiment and battery at Front Royal1,000 
Deduct cavalry unfit for service3,000 
Total 47.878

Note--“Instead of 14,500 infantry and artillery, Banks had only about 8,000, from his report to me after the battle of Cedar Mountain.” The date of this return was July 31, 1862. [182]

General Gordon (3d paper, pp. 167-8) says: “Although the consolidated report of Banks' corps, sent into Pope some days previous to the 9th of August, exhibited an effective force of something over 14,000 men, made up of infantry, 13,343; artillery,. 1,224; cavalry, 4,104; total, 18,671, less infantry and artillery left at Front Royal and Winchester, 3,500. In his official report Pope distinctly states that it appeared after the battle that when Banks led his forces to the front he had in all not more than 8,000 men.” . . .

General Gordon thus leaves the impression that there was a descrepancy of 6,000 between Banks' report on July 31st and his strength on August 9th. This is evidently an error, for if we subtract the 3,500 infantry and artillery left at Winchester and Front Royal from his total infantry and artillery on July 31st, we have 11,067 as the strength of Banks' infantry and artillery east of the Blue Ridge at that date. Now Pope says that Banks had “only about 8,000” at Cedar Run, meaning infantry and artillery, as the above extract plainly shows. Hence the discrepancy was 3,000, and not 6,000; and any one who reads General Gordon's account of the sufferings of Bank's corps from heat and diarrhea on their march to Cedar Run, and recalls the fact that one regiment,. Sixtieth New York (General Gordon says two), was sent back in a body because of excessive sickness, will not find it hard to realize that perhaps Banks brought “only about 8,000” infantry and artillery into the fight of August 9th. To this force should be added Bayard's cavalry brigade of 1,000 or 1,200, according to General Gordon, which is evidently not included by General Pope in the “8,000.”

General Gordon seems to have followed in his estimate a statement of General Strother in the Harper for August, 1867, in which the latter puts Banks' infantry and artillery at 6,289 and thirty guns, and his cavalry at 1,200, or 7,500 in all; but as General Strother gives no definite authority for this estimate, it must be considered as unsupported. General Gordon also refers to the-testimony of General Banks, December 14, 1864, before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, in which he estimates his strength at Cedar Run at 6,000, and again on the the next page at 5,000. This is evidently a loose statement from memory, nearly two and a half years after the event, and not to be set against Banks' official report made to General Pope at the time. Hence Pope's entire strength early in August, 1862, by his own report, was 47,878, [183] less 3,000, or nearly 45,000 men. Of this force there was present at Cedar Run--

Banks' corps8,000
Bayard's cavalry1,200
Rickett's division of McDowell's corps7,000

Rickett arrived at nightfall too late to prevent the defeat of Banks, but in time to stay the further progress of the Confederates.

Now as to the Federal losses, General Pope says: “No report of killed and wounded has been made to me by General Banks. I can, therefore, only form an approximation of our losses in that battle. Our killed, wounded and prisoners amounted to about one thousand and eight hundred men, besides which fully one thousand men straggled back to Culpeper Courthouse and beyond, and never entirely returned to their commands. He also states that on the 10th Banks' corps was reduced to about 5,000 men.” Thus Pope puts the loss at from 2,800 to 3,000 men including stragglers, the larger part of whom returned to their commands.

General Gordon, following Strother, gives the Federal loss as 1,161 killed and wounded, and 732 missing, of whom half were prisoners and the remainder stragglers. This would give an actual loss of about 2,000.

Medical Director McParlin says: “In the Second corps (Banks'), which was principally engaged, the losses were 280 killed, 1,346 wounded, and 241 missing. This report underestimates the full number of wounded and missing.” By this estimate the total loss in Banks' corps was over 1,867.

The Surgeon-General (Federal) reports the total loss among all the troops engaged as--


In this report the “660” is evidently a misprint, and was probably intended to be “1,660.” If so, the loss by this report would be 2,400. As Jackson captured 400 prisoners, the above estimate seems under, not over, the mark.

Taking all these estimates together, it is evident that Pope's loss was over 2,000.

This letter is too long to add anything in reference to the second Manassas.

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