According to the statements of the enemy's papers, the loss on both sides in the battle of Gettysburg
was at least 50,000 men, killed and wounded.
This battle, then, was by far the bloodiest of the war; indeed, we do not think any battle has been fought in any part of the world since the battle of Waterloo
, and the close of the great French wars, which bears any comparison with it in respect to carnage.
If the estimate of Napoleon
be correct, even the results of that renowned conflict fall short of Gettysburg
in the sum total.
He places the killed and wounded of the French
and allies at about 45,000--considerably less than the loss on our field of slaughter.
We are naturally horror struck when we hear of such wholesale murder.
Fifty thousand men form the population of a large city Richmond
, by census of 1860, did not reach quite 40,000.
It must be recollected that the population of a city is composed of all ages and sexes, while the victims of a field of battle are all men in the prime of life.
It is awful to think of the reckless indifference with which men "break into the bloody house of life," whenever prompted by avarice, ambition, revenge, or any of the "infernal" passions, and our enemies seem to be animated by all of them.
It is to them, and them alone, that the war is due. It is the work of their own hands, and they are entitled to all the credit that can be derived from it. Our position is defence, our attitude that of men who merely ward off blows aimed at their hearts, without attempting to retaliate.