Fox's Regimental Losses
Chapter XIV

Greatest Battles

       GETTYSBURG was the greatest battle of the war; Antietam was the bloodiest. The largest army was assembled -- by the Confederates, at the Seven Days; by the Unionists, at the Wilderness.
       Gettysburg may be considered as the greatest battle for various reasons. The strategic issues involved were the most important; it was the turning point in the fortunes of the Confederates; the contending armies were not only large, but were at their best in point of discipline and experience; while the loss of life exceeded that of any other battle field of the war.
       Antietam was the bloodiest battle. More men were killed on that one day than on any other one day of the war. There were greater battles, with greater loss of life, but they were not fought out in one day as at Antietam. At Gettysburg, Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania, the fighting covered three days or more; at the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Shiloh, Stone's River, Chickamauga and Atlanta the losses were divided between two days of fighting; but, at Antietam, the bloody work commenced at sunrise, and by four o'clock that afternoon it was over.
       At the Seven Days battle, Lee's army numbered 94,138 effective men actually engaged, exclusive of non-combatants. There were present, 194 regiments and 16 battalions of infantry; 8 regiments and 6 battalions of cavalry; and 59 batteries of light artillery,--equivalent, in all, to 220 regiments. The casualty lists show that each of these commands was engaged, and they specify the loss in each. It was a grand army, composed of the flower of Southern manhood, and Lee never led its like again.
       At the Wilderness, Gen. Grant's army, including the Ninth Corps, numbered 118,769+ effective men and 316 pieces of artillery. It included 236 regiments and 3 battalions of infantry; 35 regiments of cavalry; and 64 batteries of light artillery. They were veteran regiments, whose riven banners had waved amid the smoke of many hard fought fields.
       But these figures represent the fighting men only, and the armies of Lee and Grant, as a whole, were really larger than these figures indicate. On April 30, 1864, there were in the Army of the Potomac 19,095 men on "extra or daily duty," and 931 more in arrest, all of whom were present with Grant's army at the Wilderness, in addition to the number who >were "present for duty equipped." The Army of the Potomac, according to the morning report of April 30, 1864, had an "aggregate present" of 127,471, not including the Ninth Corps

<>As regards the loss in the Union armies, the greatest battles of the war were:

July 1-3, 1863 Gettysburg 3,070 14,497 5,434 23,001
May 8-18, 1864 Spotsylvania 2,725 13,416 2,258 18,399
May 5-7, 1864. Wilderness 2,246 12,037 3,383 17,666
Sept. 17, 1862 Antietam 2,108 9,549 753 12,410
May 1-3, 1863 Chancellorsville 1,606 9,762 5,919 17,287
Sept. 19-20, 1863 Chickamauga 1,656 9,749 4,774 16,179
June 1-4, 1864 Cold Harbor 1,844 9,07'7 1,816 12,737
Dec. 11-14, 1862 Fredericksburg 1,284 9,600 1,769 12,653
Aug. 28-30, 1862 Manassas 1,747 8,452 4,263 14,462
April 6-7, 1862 Shiloh 1,754 8,408 2,885 13,047
Dec. 31, 1862 Stone's River 1,730 7,802 3,717 13,249
June 15-19,1864 Petersburg (Assault) 1,688 8,513 1,185 11,386

       As before, the missing includes the captured; but the number missing at Fredericksburg and Cold Harbor may be fairly added to the killed and wounded, as it represents men who fell in an unsuccessful assault.
       In connection with these matters the question naturally arises,-- Which were victories, and which were defeats?
       To answer fairly and without prejudice would only invite bitter and senseless criticism from both sides. It is too soon to attempt any discussion of this much vexed topic. Still, there are certain conceded facts relative to this matter which one might venture to recall to mind. They may be premised with the military axioms,--that when an army retains possession of the battle field and buries its enemy's dead, it certainly cannot be considered as a defeated army; and that when an army abandons the field, either slowly or in rout, and leaves its dead and wounded in the hands of the enemy, it certainly should not claim a victory.

In the following named battles the Union armies remained in undisturbed possession of the field, the enemy leaving many of their wounded and most of their dead unburied:

Rich Mountain, W. Va. Antietam, Md. Gettysburg, Pa.
Williamsburg, Va. South Mountain, Md Magnolia Hills, Miss.
Crampton's Gap, Md Kernstown, Va. Raymond, Miss.
Mill Springs, Ky. Baton Rouge, La. Champion's Hill, Miss.
Fort Donelson, Tenn. Iuka, Miss. Stone's River, Tenn.
Shiloh, Tenn. Corinth, Miss. Missionary Ridge, Tenn.
Pea Ridge, Ark. Chaplin Hills, Ky. Fort Stevens, D.C.
Roanoke Island, N. C. Resaca, Ga. Opequon, Va.
New Berne, N.C. Atlanta, Ga., July 21-22. Cedar Creek, Va.
Carter's Farm, Va. Piedmont, Va. Five Forks, Va.
Prairie Grove, Ark. Bentonville, N.C. Sailor's Creek, Va.
Nashville, Tenn.    

The Union armies were successful, also, in the following assaults. They were the attacking party, and carried the forts, or intrenched positions, by storm.

Fort Harrison, Va. Marye's Heights, Va. (1863) Rappahannock Station, Va.
Fort McAllister, Ga. Lookout Mountain, Tenn Jonesboro, Ga.
Fort Fisher, N.C. Cloyd's Mountain, W. Va. Fall of Petersburg, Va.
Fort Blakely, Ala. Utoy Creek, Ga.  

In the following battles the Confederates remained in undisturbed possession of the field, the Union armies leaving its unburied dead and many of its wounded in their hands:

First Bull Run, Va. Seven Days, Va Wilderness, Va.
Ball's Bluff, Va. Manassas, Va. Spotsylvania, Va
Belmont, Mo. Cedar Mountain, Va. Drewry's Bluff, Va.
Front Royal, Va. Richmond, Ky. Monocacy, Md.
Port Republic, Va. Fredericksburg, Va. Brice's Cross Roads, Md.
Wilson's Creek, Mo. Chancellorsville, Va Island Ford, Va.
Pocotaligo, S.C. Winchester, Va. (1863). Deep Bottom, Va.
Maryland Heights, Md. Chickamauga, Ga. Ream's Station, Va.
Shepherdstown, Va. Olustee, Fla. Hatcher's Run, Va.
New Market, Va. Sabine Cross Roads, La.  

In the following assaults the Confederates successfully repulsed the attacks of the enemy:

Chickasaw Bluffs, Miss. Vicksburg, Miss. (May 19). Cold Harbor, Va.
Secessionville, S. C. Vicksburg, Miss. (May 22). Petersburg, Va. (June 17-18).
Fort Wagner, S.C. Port Hudson, La. (May 27). Petersburg Mine, Va.
Kenesaw Mountain, Ga. Port Hudson, La. (June 14).

In the following assaults, or sorties, the Confederates were the attacking party, and were repulsed:

Port Hudson, La. (June 14). Wauhatchie, Tenn. Peach Tree Creek, Ga.
Fort Sanders, Tenn. Allatoona Pass, Ga. Ezra Chapel, Ga.
Franklin, Tenn. Fort Stedman, Va.  

       Other instances on each side could be mentioned, but they would Invite discussion and are better omitted.
       There were 112 battles in the war, in which one side or the other lost over 500 in killed and wounded. In all, there were 1,882 general engagements, battles, skirmishes, or affairs in which at least one regiment was engaged.
       With this chapter is given a chronological list of the battles and minor engagements, showing the loss in each. The figures are compiled from the battle reports and revised casualty lists in the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies," published, or in process of publication, by the War Department at Washington.
       The figures in the table of Confederate losses are the ones officially reported by the Confederate generals in command, or by their surgeon-general, to whom, in many instances, that duty seems to have been entrusted. There are no official Confederate casualty reports for the latter part of the war, and so there is no statement of loss for several battles. Estimates might be quoted, but such figures are not within the province of this work.

Union Losses in Particular Engagements:

1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865

Confederate Losses in Particular Engagements

1861, 1862, 1863, 1864,65  

This Page last updated 02/23/02