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[705]

The War's Carnival of fraud.

Colonel Henry S. Olcott.
Mine is the most repulsive task that any one of the writers of this series of Annals will have assigned to him. All the others have their stories to tell of the clang of arms, the marshaling of armies, the thrilling episodes of personal danger and suffering, the political vicissitudes of the might struggle. To me comes the duty of showing the corruption that festered beneath the surface. The eye kindles, the pulse leaps, the imagination fires with their narratives of martial deeds; but what I shall say will make writer and reader alike deplore the baseness of human nature, which most displays itself in times of national calamity. Gladly would I leave my tale untold, and suffer the official record of my experience to lie in the archives of the government undisturbed, like a loathsome corpse in a dishonored grave. But a history of the Rebellion which should not embrace this chapter would be no history worthy of the name; and so, as no one can serve as my substitute, I comply with the editor's request.

I passed at the front the first year of the war, joining the Burnside expedition at Annapolis, participating at the capture of Roanoke Island, the battle of Kewbern, the siege and capture of Fort Macon, the battles on the Rappahannock during Pope's retreat, and other military operations. Exposure to malaria finally disabled me with fever, and I was obliged to return home from Washington, where my horse stood ready saddled for a start the next morning with General Burnside to join Hooker with our Ninth Corps. I recovered after two months, and, while convalescent, was first

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