Gen Lee's losses.

A statement was made in some of the Yankee newspapers, apparently upon the authority of Gen. Meade, that Gen. Lee's losses in the battle of Gettysburg amounted to 33,000 men! A more monstrous falsehood was never published even in a Yankee newspaper. It contradicts itself, and is so plainly contradicted by subsequent events that it scarcely deserves the trouble of investigation; yet as there are persons among us who, though well meaning, are weak-hearted, and prone to believe the worst, if the loss of Gen. Lee was so great, how comes it that a single man of his army was allowed to cross the Potomac? Why was it not pursued sword in hand, and either killed or captured by the innumerable cavalry which Meade had at hand? Why did the Yankees first leave the field of battle, and leave it in possession of an army which had suffered so much? Why was Gen. Lee allowed to withdraw without the loss of a gun or a caisson?

The loss of 33,000 men would occasion the destruction of any army under 100,000 men strong, in such weather as we have had, and in the face of a force numerically so superior as that of Meade's. It would have been routed beyond the possibility of rallying. It would have dissolved like a snow wreath in the warm rains of Spring. It would have become totally demoralized, and could not have been rallied to the colors. Napoleon invaded Belgium in 1815 with 122,400 men. He carried into the battle of Waterloo the 2d and 5th corps of the French army, numbering, after their losses in the battles of Ligny and Lee Quatre Bras, 68,650 men. Of the rest 12,000 had been put hors de combat by the battles above mentioned, 34,500 were with Grouchy and did not come up, and 8,000 were left on the field of Ligny. The rout of Waterloo was the most completes recorded in modern history. Yet the French lost only 29,000 men--4,000 less than the Yankees affirm that Lee lost in the battle of Gettysburg, while it is certain that Lee did not carry 120,000 with him into Pennsylvania. Like most habitual liars, these Yankees prove too much. If they killed and wounded such a number of men for Lee as they represent, they must have been the most miserable of all cowards to let him get off.

But the Yankee army were not cowards. They did not follow Lee because they could not. They had been so badly beaten that pursuit was impossible. The true loss of Gen Lee did not probably reach 12,000 men, while their own as probably doubled that figure.--They were therefore in no condition to molest Gen. Lee in any movement he might choose to make. We are sorry to see Confederate letter writers exaggerating our losses almost as much as the Yankees. What do they propose to effect by such statements?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Ligny (Belgium) (2)
Waterloo (Belgium) (1)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Belgium (Belgium) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Gen Lee (10)
Meade (3)
Napoleon (1)
Grouchy (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1815 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: