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A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America/Statistics showing the relative strength of the two Sections during the War

< A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America



The census of the United States for 1860 showed an aggregate free population of 27,185,109; of this, 488,285 were free blacks, of which the larger proportion were in the Southern States; but it is not necessary to consider that element in this estimate, though to do so would make it more favorable for the Confederate States. Of the above 27,185,109 of free population, there were in the States forming the Southern Confederacy, as follows:

Alabama 529,164
Arkansas 324,323
Florida 78,686
Georgia 595,097
Kentucky 930,223
Louisiana 376,913
Mississippi 354,690

Missouri 1,058,352
North Carolina 661,586
South Carolina 301,271
Tennessee 834,063
Texas 420,651
Virginia 1,105,196
Aggregate 7,570,224

Kentucky undertook to assume a neutral position, but she was soon overrun by Federal troops, and her government and a very large proportion of her population took sides with the North. Those of her citizens who were not awed by Federal bayonets, formed a State government and joined the Confederacy—many of her young men going into the Confederate army; but, in fact, whatever may have been the sympathies of the people, her moral influence as well as the benefit of her physical strength were given to the Federal Government. The legitimate Government of Missouri sided with the South, as very probably did the majority of her people, but she was also overrun at a very early stage of the war by Federal troops, and her legitimate Government subverted by force; and the benefit of her resources and physical strength was likewise given to the United States, not-withstanding the fact that a large number of her men joined the Confederate army. Perhaps the number of men added to the strength of the Confederate army from Kentucky and Missouri did not exceed the accession to the Federal army from Western Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, and some other of the Southern States, and that, in estimating the relative strength of the two parties at the beginning, it would be proper to reject Kentucky and Missouri from the estimate of the Confederate strength. The free population of these two States amounted to 1,988,575, and without them there would be left on the Confederate side a free population of 5,581,649 against a similar population of 21,603,460 on the Federal side, which would make the odds against us very nearly four to one. But I will divide the population of these States equally between the parties, and this will give a free population of 6,575,937 Confederates, against a similar population of 20,609,172 Federals, which makes the odds more than three to one against us in the beginning, without considering the fact that the Northern people had possession of the Government, with the army and navy and all the resources of that Government, while the Confederate States had to organize a new government, and provide an army and the means of supplying it with arms as well as everything else. Not-withstanding this immense odds against us, I presume there is scarcely a Confederate, even now, who does not feel confident that if it had been "hands off and a fair fight," we would have prevailed; but an immense horde of foreign mercenaries, incited by high bounties and the hope of plunder held out to them, flocked to the Federal army; and thus was its size continually growing, while the Confederate army had to rely on the original population to keep up its strength. Any accession of troops from Maryland was more than counterbalanced by those obtained from Western Virginia by the Federals, without counting East Tennessee or other quarters. The Federal Government was not satisfied with recruiting its army from abroad, but, as the country was overrun, the southern negroes were forced into its service, and thus, by the aid of its foreign mercenaries and the negro recruits, it was enabled finally to exhaust the Confederate army.

To show the immense strength of the Federal army, the following extracts are taken from the report of the Federal Secretary of War, Stanton, which was sent to the Congress at its session beginning on the first Monday in December, 1865. In that report he says:

"Official reports show that on the 1st of May, 1864, the aggregate national military force of all arms, officers and men, was nine hundred and seventy thousand seven hundred and ten, to-wit:

Available force present for duty 662,345
On detached service in the different military departments 109,348
In field hospitals or unfit for duty 41,266
In general hospitals or on sick leave at home 75,978
Absent on furlough or as prisoners of war 66,290
Absent without leave 15,483
Grand aggregate 970,710

"The aggregate available force present for duty May 1st. 1864, was distributed in the different commands as follows:—

Department of Washington 42,124
Army of the Potomac 120,386
Department of Virginia and North Carolina 59,139
Department of the South 18,165
Department of the Gulf 61,866
Department of Arkansas 23,666
Department of the Tennessee 74,174
Department of the Missouri 15,770
Department of the North-West 5,295
Department of Kansas 4,798
Head-quarters Military Division of the Mississippi 476
Department of the Cumberland 119,948
Department of the Ohio 35,416
Northern Department 9,540
Department of West Virginia 30,782
Department of the East 2,828
Department of the Susquehanna 2,970
Middle Department 5,627
Ninth Army Corps 20,780
Department of New Mexico 3,454
Department of the Pacific 5,141
Total 662,345

And again:—

"Official reports show that on the 1st of March, 1865, the aggregate military force of all arms, officers and men, was nine hundred and sixty-five thousand five hundred and ninety-one, to-wit:—

Available force present for duty 602,598
On detached service in the different military departments 132,538
In field hospitals and unfit for duty 35,628
In general hospitals or on sick leave 143,419
Absent on furlough or as prisoners of war 31,695
Absent without leave 19,683
Grand aggregate 965,591

"This force was augmented on the 1st of May, 1865, by enlistments, to the number of one million five hundred and sixteen, of all arms, officers and men, (1,000,516)." And again he says:—

"The aggregate quotas charged against the several States under all calls made by the President of the United States, from the 15th day of April, 1861, to the 14th day of April, 1865, at which time drafting and recruiting ceased, was 2,759,049
"The aggregate number of men credited on the several calls, and put into service of the United States, in the army, navy, and marine corps, during the above period, was 2,656,553
"Leaving a deficiency on all calls, when the war closed, of 102,596"

This does not include that portion of the Federal forces consisting of the regular army, and the negro troops raised in the Southern States; which were not raised by calls on the States. It is impossible for me to state the number of troops called into the service of the Confederate Government during the war, as all its records fell into the hands of the United States authorities, or were destroyed, but I think I can safely assert that the "available force present for duty" in the Federal army, at the beginning or close of the last year of the war, exceeded the entire force called into the Confederate service during the whole war; and when it is considered that the troops called into the United States service during that time, numbered more than one-third of the entire free population of the Confederate States, men, women, and children, the world can appreciate the profound ability of the leaders, and the great heroism of the soldiers, of that army which finally overcame the Confederate army, by the "mere attrition" of numbers, after a prolonged struggle of four years. They can be excelled only by the magnanimity of the conquerors.