written with the view of attaining that purpose.
Already many of the leading actors of the war have passed away.
fell by the assassin's hand just when he had achieved the final victory for the Union
, lamented by those who were then his foes as keenly as by the loyal men who so bravely sustained him; and of his original cabinet but two members survive.
, the great War Minister, has gone to his final account; Mead
, who met the shock of decisive battle at Gettysburg
, now sleep in the “City of the silent;” and hundreds of others, who were conspicuous in civil councils and on the sanguinary field, are in their eternal rest.
Official sources of reliable information have perished in a multitude of instances, and the country is to-day without a single trustworthy history of the greatest struggle in the records of any modern civilization.
The annals of the War
furnish the most valuable contributions to the future historian which have yet been given to the world.
They are far from being perfect; but they have elicited the truth to a degree that no other means could have accomplished.
They are from the pens of a number of the most honored, intelligent and impartial of the immediate actors in the scenes they portray.
They embrace in the list of authors men of high rank in military circles on both sides, and statesmen and historians of great trust and attainments, who favored the cause of both the Blue
and the Gray.
That they are entirely free from prejudice or from the coloring that all must accept in describing momentous events with which they were interwoven by every inspiration of devotion and ambition, is not to be pretended; but that they are written in integrity of purpose, and that they give the substance of the truth, can be justly claimed for them.
Coming as they do