Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the men who followed Lee and other Southern generals was their steadfast determination in the face of overwhelming odds. Rarely after mid-1863 were there even odds and most often Lee fought successfully against foes two or three times his own number.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org
The Grandest Soldiers That Ever Marched
“It is quite a mistaken idea that the Yankees were poor soldiers and easily whipped. Any Confederate soldier who met them often in battle will testify that they were hard and tenacious fighters, especially those from the Great North West.
The Confederates could claim very little credit for holding at bay such a mighty host armed with the most improved weapons and devices of warfare for four long, dreary years, and defeating them so often and disastrously, with odds often greatly against them, had the Northern army been merely a disorganized mob and rabble.
Yes, the Northern army was a fine one, well equipped and well officered, with all the resources at hand that could be desired for great and aggressive warfare; but it had to meet an army of Southern troops composed of the grandest soldiers that ever marched to martial music, or fought in defense of country!
Just to think, that the Southern army of six hundred thousand men, poorly armed and equipped, ridiculously clad and meagerly fed, without tents, without medicine, without pay, checkmating, baffling, repulsing and often humiliating and disastrously defeating the Northern army of 2,778,304 men armed with the most improved engines of warfare, well paid, well fed, abundantly clothed; backed by all the resources of a great nation, for four long, dreary years, staggers the credulity of man to contemplate.
In a letter to General [Jubal] Early shortly after the close of the war, General Robert E. Lee wrote: “It will be difficult to get the world to understand the odds against which we fought.” From the number drawing pensions from the United States government today, fifty years since the close of hostilities, there might have been a million more soldiers in the Union Army than given in the figures named above.”
(Sketch of the War Record of the Edisto Rifles, William V. Izlar, The State Company, 1914, pp. 98-100)