War

All expounders of the law of nations are agreed in holding war to be an exceptional case situation, and only profitable so far as it aims at the foundation of a new peace. “Peace on earth” is first commandment of the christian law of nations. Every war breaks up an old peace in order to establish a new one; & the question is whether the new peace is better than the old one: whether by means of the war, difficulties which menaced the future have been removed, & fresh guarantees given for the development of peace. Looking at the late war from this point of view, it is difficult to find results which justify the conflict. Political quarrels were the motive of the war, but what difficulties in the way of the development of the country have been removed by it? The war has destroyed the bond of unity which existed in the old Confederation & the acts of congress have shaken faith in the sanctity of the constitution & weakened the respect paid to law. The feeling of insecurity is universal. The political party which rules the country is indulging in the wildest projects. “Might before right[”] is the practical axiom of the day. History proves that smaller states have been precisely the ground where intellectual & social freedom has sprung up & where art & science have flourished most successfully. Why is the political worth of a country to be judged by nothing else than the magnitude of its territory & the numbers of its population. Great military nations it is notorious, have almost always suppressed the liberty of a people & nipped the fairest buds of intellect, promoting only a material civilization which rots the life of the people to the core, like that of the Roman Empire in its decline. Is this the gaol [sic] to which our progress in civilization is guiding us? The constitution of the country has been overthrown; the rights of millions of people invaded & the prosperity of whole states retarded for years by unprincipled men who look for nothing but the retention of place & power in their hands. There is a true & manly way of dealing with the subject. No one should be governed in his actions by the wrongs & resentments of the past. No animosity should be felt against any Section or honest man. No vain lamentations should be indulged in over the result of the war. No antipathies cherished against those who fairly & bravely fought and triumphed in the cause, in which their convictions & consciences were enlisted. But this is not incompatible with the feeling of detestation & abhorrence by the American people against the rulers of the Radical party who have brought these evils to pass, who for their own individual & party purposes have violated every principle of right & justice & have trampled under foot everything that we have been taught to hold dear & sacred.           

 

Men

 

The war was the result of a constitutional construction, which the framers left unsettled & which disturbed the politics of the Country from ‘89 to ‘60 & which culminated not in treason but blood. That question of constitutional Construction was has been settled fully & finally by the Sword. It was no lawless spirit of revolt that prompted the people of the south to their course during the contest. They contended not for power but constitutional Govt & as they honestly believed for their rights. The revolution was the work of the people, the whole people.

Men: The total loss of the confederate army in the Series of battles, at the 2nd manassas, July ’61, including the battle of Ox Hill 1st Sept, was about 7,500 men; of whom 1100 were killed on the field. Of this loss nearly 5000 fell upon Jackson’s Corps, out of which number 805 officers & men were killed. The results of the battle of manassas were the Capture of 7000 prisoners, in addition to 2000 wounded left on the feild [sic], 20,000 small arms, 30 pieces of arty, numerous colours, a large amt of stores, &c.

The aggregate amt of the Confederate Army in all Va: in the summer of 1862, was about 80,000, with which the state was reserved against 223,000, & Burnside recalled from N.C.

At Sharpsburg, the corps of Hooker, Mansfield & Sumner containing according to McC 44,000 combatants, supported by six 6 gun rifle batteries, besides the guns attached to them, attacked our left, where Jackson’s two divisions were posted with an aggregate of less than 7,000 men. Still McC states he had to bring up Franklins Corps of 12,000 to prevent a serious disaster.

Genl Jackson reported a total loss in his command during the operations of Harpersferry & Sharpsburg of 351 officers & men killed, 2,030 wounded & 57 missing. The whole confederate loss in Md: was 10,300 killed & wounded, of whom 1567 were killed. There was no means of discriminating between those lost at Boonsbro, & cramptons Gap, at Harpers Ferry & at Sharpsburg.

Genl McC states the Conate loss at Boonsbo & Cramptons Gap was 2500. If this is true the casualties at Sharpsburg were less than 8000.

McC sets down his own loss during the Md Campaign at about 15,200 & about 13000 at sharpsburg. But the Hospital returns of the Fedal Govt: show an increase of 30,000 patients from his Command consequent upon the operations of this short campaign.

The loss of the Confederates at Botelers1 ford was 30 killed & 231 wounded. The Federals admitted a loss of 3000 killed & 200 prisoners

McC began on the 23rd of Oct: to cross his army of 150,000 men over the Potomac, from Berlin into Leedtown, which required Six days.

In addition to the Light batteries attached to his Corps for operations in the field, Burnside had 180 heavy cannon, some of throwing 100 prs, on the hills opposite Fredg. His Army was divided into three corps, under Sumner Hooker & Franklin, making an aggregate of 125,000 men, besides a corps of 25,000 under Sigel.

The Confederate in two Corps with an aggregate of 65,000 men of all arms, of which about 25,000 Composed Jacksons.

In the battle of Fredg the Fedals confessed a loss of 12,000 killed & wounded, 9,000 Small arms & about 1000 prisoners. In repelling their attacks about there were less than 25,000 Confederates employed, which experienced a loss of 4,200 killed & wounded, of which 2900 were of Jacksons corps. In addition 526 officers & men captured chiefly AP Hills division, which also bore the heaviest loss in killed & wounded

At Chancellorsville, Jacksons four divisions (A. P. Hill’s D. H. Hill’s commd by Br Genl Rodes, Trimbles, commd by Br Genl Colston & Earlys) contained about 28,000 muskets with an aggregate of over 30,000 officers & men. There were 28 field Batteries of 115 guns, many deficient in horses. Andersons & McLaws division with the reserve arty & Cavy under Stuart, made 45,000 men – against 125,000 of Pope.

Preceding the opening of the campaign, an inception of 3,000 Fedal Cavy under Averill across Kellys ford, into the County of Culpepper, under Averill, was met by Stuart with 800 men under Fitz Lee & driven back after a stubborn contest.

 

     

 

1. The battle of Shepherdstown or Boteler’s ford was fought on 1862 September 19-20. Union casualties were 366, while Confederate losses were 307 men.

 

 

Source: Checked against original document, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 April 15