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 From the time that General Lee took command of the Virginia forces in 1861 to the surrender at Appomattox, Colonel Taylor served on his staff, and was one of his most trusted officers. For a large part of this period he occupied the position of Adjutant-General of the Army of Northern Virginia, and no man in that army was more widely known or more universally esteemed for high personal character, or for the intelligent zeal and rare ability and tact with which he discharged his delicate and responsible duties. With such opportunities for knowing the inside history of our grand old army, we expected Colonel Taylor to give us a book of great historic value, and we have not been disappointed. We have read it twice with increasing interest, and have placed it on a convenient shelf for frequent consultation. There will be, of course, differences of opinion in reference to certain of his statements and opinions; but no one who knows Colonel Taylor can doubt for a moment that he has carefully, and conscientiously endeavored to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” concerning the great events of which he writes. He gives a number of hitherto unpublished incidents which illustrate the character of General Lee and make us wish that his narrative had been fuller in this respect, and he brings out invaluable material for a correct understanding of the campaigns of his great chief. But a main object of his book was to determine the relative numbers of the Confederate and Federal armies in all of the principal battles, and this he has certainly settled beyond all dispute. By some means (how we are not told) Colonel Taylor was so fortunate as to obtain access to the field returns of the Army of Northern Virginia, now in the “Archive Bureau” at Washington, and to verify his memoranda of our numbers and thus he is enabled to show (taking the Federal official reports of their numbers) the fearful odds against which we always fought. We propose to give his figures in a future number. We have only space now to add that the style of the author is simple, clear, direct, and admirably suited to his subject. The fact that the book is published by D. Appleton & Co., New York, is sufficient guarantee that in paper, type, binding, &c., it is all that could be desired. We only regret that the publishers have put in as frontispiece a very poor likeness of General Lee, instead of a very fine one which they have used in others of their publications. We conclude with the hope that this book will meet with such gene ral favor as to induce the accomplished author to write a full history of the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia.
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