54,000 Strike 140,000
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
General Robert E. Lee knew the ragged, half-starved, barefoot and poorly-armed American soldiers under his command would not fail him against overwhelming odds, they performed admirably time after time. This was America’s greatest military man, and men. 
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net
 
*******************************************************************************************

54,000 Strike 140,000:
 
“There was a Confederate scout, Stringfellow by name, who on the 4th of May, 1864, the eve of the opening of that [Wilderness] campaign, reported himself to Lee, when the following colloquy took place:
 
“Well, Captain Stringfellow, where do you come from?”
 
“From Washington, General.”
 
“What number of men has General Grant, and what is he doing?”
 
“He has about 140,000 men in front of you and is about to move on you.”
 
Without a moment’s hesitation Lee said: “I have 54,000 men up, and as soon as he crosses the river I will strike him.”
 
Grant crossed the Rapidan on the following day, and as soon as he was entangled in the Wilderness Lee struck him a staggering blow. In the four weeks’ campaign ending with Grant’s bloody repulse at Cold Harbor on June 2…Lee had put as many of Grant’s men out of action as he himself had under his command during the entire campaign – viz., 64,000.”
 
(Robert E. Lee, H. Gerald Smythe, Confederate Veteran Magazine, January 1921, pp. 6-7)