Confederate AWOLs: the glass is half full

Reader Will Keene writes:
When I have had discussions in the past about strength reductions due to straggling in the Army of Northern Virginia during the 1862 Maryland campaign, one of the responses I have received is that the Army of the Potomac did not suffer the level of reductions that I (and Lee) claimed that the Army of Northern Virginia experienced. This argument is used to cast doubt on the information about the Army of Northern Virginia. But really it is the perception of cohesiveness in the Army of the Potomac that should be questioned.
I agree: I have been baffled by that perception myself. Even Joe Harsh has said that Lee suffered more from straggling.

Let's try to apply some general common sense to the limited data we have. I'll put up some arguments in the next day or two about this.