Historians as numerologists: what any Union generals knew

Can we assume that any Union general in the high command had access to the 1860 census results? I'm open to the idea that he did not but I assume he did. Write me if I'm wrong.

Now allow me another leap of faith: I assume that today's ACW historian has access to those numbers. I don't suggest that he would consult them, or analyze them, just that he has access to them. If you, the reader, have access to them, you will perceive that no Union count of 200,000 enemy on any front is outlandish. Not even a little off.

There is this persistence in the count of 200,000 enemy in front among many Union commanders. I have mocked it but it is not as crazy as Civil War historians may suggest. For if any Union general used the census data, what would he see? I don't have a crystal ball but I have Livermore and Fox.

Livermore looked at the Southern white male population of military age in 1860, checked all mobilization records, and saw that 1,239,000 Rebels took up arms against the United States of America. Is it too much to split off 200,000 enemy here and there on this front and that?

Livermore notes that "the entire military population of the Confederate States not exempted were enrolled." In 1860, the white men aged 18-45 numbered 984,475. As men came of age, 1.269 million were available by war's end.

By what stretch of the imagination would a Halleck, Grant, McClellan, or Sherman assume that he faced fewer than 200,000?

Fox counts the equivalent of 764 regiments in Southern service. Livermore, looking at other studies, cites wartime total counts of 1,009.5 Rebel regiments; alternatively, he reviews sources claiming 805 regiments and legions plus 331 battalions.

The Rebs had a whole lot of manpower in the fight. As of 1/62,Livermore estimated they had 350,000 in Jeff Davis' "federal" army, not counting the Senior Reserve, the Junior Reserve, the state militias, the Home Guard, etc. More on which later.

Then came the edicts. Pay attention to the edicts. The Union generals certainly did and the general run of historians don't.

* 4/16/62 - The CSA president is authorized to call up all white men 18-35 not exempt; all on duty are required to stay on duty.

* 4/28/62 - Davis acts on that legislation and no further law on volunteering is ever enacted in the CSA.

The mobilization is done - except to expand the age range and racial spectrum. Any Union general on duty in April of 1862 had to consider what that meant to him and to his command. I note with fascination - as would any Union commander - that new laws as of February 1862 raised the strengths of Rebel infantry comapanies to 125 from 100. Is this a sign of flagging manpower?

* 2/17/64 - The CSA expands the definition of military age to include 17 - 50.

Mind you,this is not the entire picture of military strength: the Junior Reserve is under 17 and the Senior Reserve is over 50. More on that too in a future post.

* 10/5/64 - The CSA SecWar mobilizes all free Southern black men and 14,000 male slaves.

Livermore also looks at some numbers calculated by Joseph Jones, a postwar "surgeon general" of a leading CSA veteran's group. Jones counted 3.5 million cases of wounds and disease in the Rebel army.

My goodness.

Now 3.5 million seems like a lot to divide among Lee's historian-approved total well under 70,000 and Bragg's historian-approved total well under 60,000. Nor can Price, Smith, and Taylor make up a difference that accounts for 3.5 million medical cases. If Jones is notcrazy,we have to begin to admit of the possibility that the historian/numerologists are not on their game.

Next: Harsh, Johnston, and Livermore.