MEIGS, Montgomery C. (1816-1892), General, U. S. Army. Autograph letter signed (''M. C. Meigs'') to Gen. Halleck, Washington City, 28 July 1862. 3 pp., 4to, on stationery of Quarter Master General's Office.
MEIGS, Montgomery C. (1816-1892), General, U. S. Army. Autograph letter signed ("M. C. Meigs") to Gen. Halleck, Washington City, 28 July 1862. 3 pp., 4to, on stationery of Quarter Master General's Office.
UNION BEFUDDLEMENT OVER LEE'S FORCE SIZE AFTER THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN
An intriguing--and wrongheaded--analysis of Lee's force strength at the end of the Seven Days battles in the Peninsula Campaign. Using published material from Confederate newspapers--several of which, as Meigs points out, are trying to puff the exploits of local regiments--Meigs thinks the Rebel force under Lee totals some 105,000. "I find: four Divisions, 12 Brigades & 9 Batteries named as in the battles North of the Chickahominy, as follows..." with a breakdown of forces under Jackson, D. H. Hill, A. P. Hill, and Longstreet. "These notes may be of some use in dealing with this army...which must be nearly one half the whole Richmond Army...Permit me to suggest that a careful comparison of the notes which appear in the newspapers, lists of prisoners of war, & deserters if made by an intelligent educated man would soon give us a tolerably correct idea of the forces opposing us. If this has ever been done in this part of the country there is I fear reason to believe that it has been done by incompetent or unfaithful hands." McClellan was not the only one inflating the enemy numbers. The actual size of Lee's force was about 88,000, of which 86,500 were engaged in this period. Meanwhile McClellan put 83,000 of his 112,000 total force against Lee's divisions in the Seven Days. Meigs was far better at supplying Union troops than in guessing the number of the enemy. "The Union army," James McPherson writes, was "the best fed, most lavishly supplied army that had ever existed. Much of the credit for this belonged to Montgomery Meigs....the unsung hero of northern victory" (Battle Cry of Freedom, 324-25).