Records, Volume XLVII, Part I, page 25), says: "The enemies were strong in number and very obstinate in their fighting," and (page 26) he gives Early's strength as "28,000 infantry!"
The obstinacy of their fighting was all right, but the strength of their numbers was all wrong. He attributes to Early in infantry alone at least double the number that he had of all arms—infantry, cavalry and artillery.
Let us see about this for a moment. In Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (Volume IV, page 524) there is given from a field return of General Early's army, August 31, 1864, excluding Kershaw's Division, as "present for duty, 1,076 officers, 9,570 men," an aggregate of 10,646. Early's Memoir gives Fitz Lee's Cavalry as "about 1,200," and Lomax's Cavalry as "about 1,700," or 2,900 all together, and the artillery as 39 officers, 818 men, 857 together. This would give an aggregate of a little more than 14,000; but in a note to the editors General Early states that at the time of the battle his force was reduced to 8,500 muskets, which would reduce this aggregate to 13,000. Rodes' Division was the largest in the corps, and a short time before the battle I reported between 2,600 and 2,700 muskets in the division. I remember distinctly that Colonel Allan, the chief of ordnance of the army, told me that there were then about 9,500 muskets in the army. Perhaps this was the return of August 31, noted above, for I do not remember that we made any return of September 10, it being customary to make returns every ten days, when we were in camp.
Now, let us look at Sheridan's force. His field return for September 10, 1864, gives as "present for duty 43,284 men, 2,225 officers, a total of 45,509. To this we must add Averill's Cavalry Division, 2,500, not included in the above, and we have a grand total of 48,000 troops of all arms. This gives to Sheridan three and two-thirds times as many men as Early had.
The Confederate losses were in round numbers about 4,000 men, of whom one-half were prisoners and missing; the Federal losses were about 5,000 men, of whom 600 were prisoners and missing. It is not surprising that General Early was defeated, but it is surprising that he should have risked a battle against such odds, and that he should have maintained his position as long as he did.
General Early has never received the credit that he deserves for his Valley campaign. With Kershaw's Division, which should never have been recalled in view of Sheridan's immense force, it is highly