I commenced the captain with General Bragg's army of Missionary Ridge, with one brigade added (Mercer's) and two taken away (Baldwin's and Quarles'). That opposed to us was Grant's army of Missionary Ridge, then estimated at 80,000 by our principal officers, increased, as I have stated, by two corps, a division, and several thousand recruits-in all, at least 30,000 men. The cavalry of that army was estimated by Major-General Wheeler at 15,000. The re-enforcements which joined our army amounted to 15,000 infantry and artillery and 4,000 cavalry. Our scouts reported much greater numbers joining the U. S. army-garrisons and brigade guards from Tennessee and Kentucky, relieved by 100-days' men, and the Seventeenth Corps, with 2,000 cavalry.
The loss of our infantry and artillery from the 5th of May had been about 10,000 in killed and wounded, and 4,700 from all other causes, mainly slight sickness produced by heavy cold rains, which prevailed in the latter half of June. These and the slightly wounded were beginning to rejoin their regiments.
For want of reports I am unable to give the loss or the services of the cavalry, which was less under my eye than the rest of the army. Its effective strength was increased by about 2,000 during the campaign. The effective force transferred to General Hood was about 41,000 infantry and artillery and 10,000 cavalry.
According to the opinions of our most experienced officers, daily reports of prisoners, and statements of Northern papers, the enemy's loss in action could not have been less than five times as great as ours. In the cases in which we had the means of estimating it, it ranged from 7 to 1 to 91 to 1, compared with ours, and averaged 13 to 1. The Federal prisoners concurred in saying that their heaviest loss occurred in the daily attacks made in line of battle upon our skirmishers in their rifle-pits. Whether they succeeded in dislodging our skirmishers or not, their loss was heavy and ours almost nothing.
At Dalton the great numerical superiority of the enemy made the chances of battle much against us, and even if beaten they had a safe refuge behind the fortified pass of Ringgold and in the fortress of Chattanooga. Our refuge in case of defeat was in Atlanta, 100 miles off, with three rivers intervening. Therefore, victory for us could not have been decisive, while defeat would have been utterly disastrous. Between Dalton and the Chattahoochee we could have given battle only by attacking the enemy intrenched, or so near intrenchments that the only result of success to us would have been his falling back into them, while defeat would have been our ruin. In the course pursued our troops, always fighting under cover, had very trifling losses compared with those they inflicted, so that the enemy's numerical superiority was reduced daily and rapidly, and we could reasonably have expected to cope with the Federal army on equal ground by the time the Chattahoochee was passed. Defeat on this side of that river would have been its destruction. We, if beaten, had a place of refuge in Atlanta too strong to be assaulted and too extensive to be invested. I had also hoped that by the breaking of the railroad in its rear the Federal army might be compelled to attack us in a position of our own choosing, or to a retreat easily converted into a rout. After we crossed the Etowah five detachments of cavalry were successively sent with instructions to destroy as much as they could of the railroad between Dalton and the Etowah. All failed because too weak. We could never spare a