none of our public men have a story so strange as this.
It is stranger than Lincoln
's. It is very much the strangest of them all. We have been too near the man and his time to see them clear through personal, political, and military feelings, mostly violent.
All the people are not dead yet. Nearly all the writers have a case to argue.
must justify his treatment of Warren
must bolster up Shiloh
must diminish Sidney Johnston.
must belittle Meade
, and also the losses in the Wilderness
These are mere instances.
The heroes and their biographers all write alike, inevitably moved and biassed by the throb of proximity.
Such books are not history.
They make inspiring material, when read in each other's light.
They are personal reminiscences.
History never begins until reminiscence is ended.