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Relative strength at Second Manassas.

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

McDonough school, Md., March 27, 1880.
Rev. Dr. Jones:
My Dear Sir — In my letter of March 2d, in regard to Federal and Confederate strength and losses at Cedar Run, as published, there is a typographical error on page 183, line twenty from the top. The figures 1,161 at the beginning of that line should be 1,661.

Confederate strength.

Deducting Jackson's loss of 1,314 at Cedar Run from his total strength of 23,823 we have left for his force of all arms at the beginning of the second Manassas campaign about 22,500.

What forces did General Lee add to this from Richmond? Colonel Walter Taylor (Four Years with General Lee, page 60) says: “General Lee . . . took with him the divisions of Longstreet, D. R. Jones, Hood and Anderson, leaving in front of Richmond the divisions of D. H. Hill and McLaws, and two brigades under J. G. Walker.” The return of these troops for July 20th exists in the Archive Office at Washington, and is the nearest one extant to the date of the battle.

But in addition to these commands of infantry, General Lee took “two brigades (Drayton's and Evans'), recently arrived from South Corolina.” The whole infantry force was organized, I believe, as follows:

Longstreet's division.
Kemper's Brigade--First, Seventh, Eleventh, Seventeenth and Twenty-fourth Virginia regiments5
Jenkins' Brigade--First, Fifth and Sixth South Carolina regiments, Second South Carolina rifles, Palmetto Sharpshooters and Fourth South Carolina battalion5 1/2
Pickett's (or Garnett's) Brigade--Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-eighth and Fifty-sixth Virginia regiments5
Wilcox's Brigade--Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Alabama regiments4
Pryor's Brigade--Fifth and Eighth Florida, Third Virginia and Fourteenth Alabama regiments4
Featherstone's Brigade--Twelith, Sixteenth and Nineteenth Mississippi regiments, and Second Mississippi battalion3 1/2
D. R. Jones' division.
Toombs' Brigade--Second, Fifteenth, Seventeenth and Twentieth Georgia regiments4
G. T. Anderson's Brigade--First, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Georgia regiments5
Hood's division.
Whiting's (Law's) Brigade--Fourth Alabama, Sixth North Carolina, Second and Eleventh Mississippi regiments4
Hood's (Wofford's) Brigade--First, Fourth and Fifth Texas, and Eighteenth Georgia regiments and Hampton's legion5
R. H. Anderson's division.
Mahone's Brigade--Sixth, Twelfth, Sixteenth, Forty-first and Forty-ninth Virginia regiments5
Wright's Brigade--Third, Twenty-second and Forty-eighth (Fourth?) Georgia, and Forty-fourth Alabama regiments4
Armistead's Brigade--Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, Fifty-third and Fifty-seventh Virginia regiments5


Drayton's Brigade--Fifteenth South Carolina and Fiftieth and Fifty-first Georgia regiments 
Evans' Brigade--Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-second and Twenty-third South Carolina regiments and Holcombe legion5


The strength of the last two brigades (no returns having been found) Colonel Taylor obtained from Major Young, Adjutant-General for General Drayton, who at one time commanded both brigades, and from General Sorrel, General Longstreet's Adjutant-General. Major Young says the strength of the two brigades “did not exceed 4,600 present for duty.” General Sorrel puts them at 4,500 when they marched forward from Gordonsville towards Manassas.

The return of July 20th gives, according to Colonel Taylor--

Longstreet's division, present for duty, officers and men8,486
D. R. Jones' division, present for duty, officers and men3,713
Hood's division, present for duty, officers and men3,852
Anderson's division, present for duty, officers and men6,117


Drayton's and Evans' brigades4,600
Total infantry taken by General Lee26,768


The cavalry, under General Stuart, consisted of two brigades under Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. Hampton was left at Richmond, and Fitzhugh Lee's brigade, consisting of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Virginia cavalry, accompanied the army on the Manassas campaign. The total of Stuart's force July 20th was 4,035, of which Colonel Taylor estimates that Fitzhugh Lee had 2,500. This estimate is no doubt nearly correct.

The artillery taken consisted of twenty batteries (and possibly a few more). There were the four companies constituting the Washington artillery, viz: Squiers', Richardson's, Miller's and Eshleman's; the five under Colonel S. D. Lee, viz: Eubank's, Parker's, Rhett's, Jordan's and Taylor's; three attached to Hood's division, viz: Reilly's, Bachman's and Garden's, and the following: Dixie artillery, Striblings', Maurin's, Leake's, Rodger's, Brown's, Grimes' and Anderson's batteries. This list, I think, is incomplete, and I hope someone who has the knowledge will make it correct. Colonel Taylor puts the strength of this artillery at 2,500, which seems to me an over-estimate, as artillery companies in the Confederate army were far more frequently under than over one hundred men.

In the foregoing roster of troops there may be some errors as to the assignment of a few of the regiments, for so many changes were made during the summer, that in the absence of full official reports it is sometimes hard to follow them. No reports of Anderson's division, for instance, are published, and, in consequence, I am not fully certain of the organization of Armistead's brigade. But the gross numbers will not be effected by such errors.

To sum up the entire force at General Lee's disposal between August 16 and September 2, 1862, was

Whole force with Jackson August 1622,500
Infantry brought by General Lee26,768
Cavalry brought by General Lee2,500
Artillery brought by General Lee2,500

In round numbers, 54,000. This I believe to be an outside estimate of the Confederate strength.

Federal strength.

As was seen in my former letter, General Pope had 45,000 men at the time of the battle of Cedar Run, even after deducting nearly 3,000, which he claims as an error in Banks' report, but [220] which the latter has never admitted. Deducting the losses at Cedar Run, Pope must have had nearly 43,000 men in his three corps. Reno joined him with 8,000 men on August 14th. He had thus, on August 18, the day he began to withdraw behind the Rappahannock, a total of 51,000 men against Lee's 54,000.

General Gordon says: “At this time the Union army was greatly outnumbered by the enemy.” He exaggerates the Confederate forces to 63,500, without deigning to give any data for such an estimate, and in the face of the returns given by Colonel Taylor. This error of General Gordon may have been due to want of information, but the opposite one in regard to Pope's strength can hardly be thus explained. He makes Pope's strength, August 18, including Reno, to have been only 42,000 men, in spite of Pope's own official report, from which his numbers are seen to have been 51,000, as above. Thus, by deducting 9,000 from one side and adding it to the other, he finds Pope a reason for retreating that had no foundation in fact.

On his retreat Pope was reinforced as follows (Pope's report):

Reynolds' division, August 232,500
[General Gordon puts it at 4,500.] 
Piatt's brigade of Sturgis' division, August 261,100
Heintzelman's and Porter's corps18,000
[General Gordon puts them at 19,000.] 
Strength on the Rappahannock51,000
Or, taking General Gordon's figures, above75,600

Sturgis' division of 10,000, and Cox's of 7,000, were being sent forward to Pope when the breaking of the railroad stopped them. Only one brigade of Sturgis' reached him, but some of Cox's troops were about Manassas Junction. Franklin's and Sumner's corps joined Pope at Centreville after the battle.

Thus it is seen that in the series of fights ending with the 30th August, General Pope had from 73,000 to 75,000 men against the 54,000 of the Confederates. There is no danger that the figures of the Federal forces are too high. General Pope was ever modest in estimating his own numbers. Thus Reynolds' division above, put by him at 2,500 in August, had over 6,000 after the battles around [221] Richmond, and Generals Porter and Heintzelman had over 30,000 on July 20th, before they left the Peninsula, and though they dwindled to 18,000 in General Pope's estimate, Porter alone had 20,000 men on September 12th, two weeks later.

General Pope states that on August 30th his effective force had dwindled to 50,000. This, if correct, would show great straggling and demoralization. General Pope attributes the diminution to the fatigues and activity of the campaign. General Gordon, in his book, adopts Pope's estimate, and at the same time most unfairly credits General Lee on the 30th August with the whole force he had at the beginning of the campaign, “less the killed, wounded and missing of the day before.” If Pope's movements had been exhausting, surely General Lee's ought to have been more so. Jackson's corps especially marched or fought almost constantly for several days and for part of the time depended upon the green cornfields for rations.

But enough. No one will ever know precisely how many of his march-worn 54,000 troops General Lee was able to hurl against what was left of Pope's 75,000 in the last great struggle of the 30th of August. By one of the boldest and most skillful military movements of our times, he broke into fragments this army of Pope, so much larger than his own, while an army equal in number to the Confederates lay near Alexandria and Washington, within one day's forced march of the battlefield.

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