our great struggle are, in good part, preserved.
Perhaps the events of no former war were ever so fully and promptly embodied in a single work as are those of our great contest in The Record
, which must prove the generous fountain whence all future historians of our country may draw at will.
But I am also considerably indebted to Mr. Orville J. Victor
's History of the Southern Rebellion
, wherein is embodied much valuable, important, and interesting material not contained in The Record
. I shall doubtless appear to have made more use of Mr. Edward A. Pollard
's Southern History of the War;
which I have often cited, and shall continue to cite, for peculiar reasons.
Its author is so hot-headed a devotee of Slavery and the Rebellion
, that nothing which seems to favor that side is too marvelous for his deglutition; so that, if he were told that a single Confederate had constrained a Union regiment to lay down their arms and surrender, he would swallow it, without scrutiny or doubt.
His work, therefore, is utterly untrustworthy as a whole; yet, in certain aspects, it has great value.
He is so headlong and unquestioning a believer in the Confederacy
, that he never dreams of concealing or disavowing the fundamental ideas whereon it is based; it is precisely because it stands and strikes for Slavery that he loves and glories in the Confederate
Then his statements of the numbers engaged or of the losses on either side are valuable in one aspect: You know that he never overstates the strength nor the losses of the Confederates
; while he seems, in some instances, to have had access to official reports and other documents which have not been seen this side of the Potomac
Hence the use I have made, and shall doubtless continue to make, of his work.
But I trust that it has been further serviceable to me, in putting me on my guard against those monstrous exaggerations of the numbers opposed to them with which weak, incompetent, and worsted commanders habitually excuse, or seek to cover up, their failures, defeats, and losses.
I have not found, and do not expect to find, room for biographic accounts of the generals and other commanders who figure in our great struggle, whether those who have honored and blessed or those who have betrayed and shamed their country.
To have admitted these would have been to expand my work inevitably beyond the prescribed limits.
By nature little inclined to man-worship, and valuing individuals only as the promoters of measures, the exponents of ideas, I have dealt with personal careers only when they clearly exhibited some phase of our National character, clucidated the state of contemporary opinion, or palpably and powerfully modified our National destinies.
, Eli Whitney
, Andrew Jackson
, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun
, Benjamin Lundy
, Elijah P. Lovejoy
, John Brown
— men differing most widely in intellectual caliber as well as in aspirations, instincts, convictions, and purposes — may fairly be regarded as, in their several spheres, representative Americans
, each of whom in some sense contributed to lay the train which we have seen fired by the Secessionists of our day with so magnificent a pyrotechnic display, so majestic a resulting conflagration; and of these, accordingly, some notion may be acquired from the following pages; while, of our generals and commodores, the miniature Portraits contained in these volumes, and the record of their respective achievements, are all that I can give.
So many battles, sieges, marches, campaigns, etc., remain to be narrated, that — ample as this work would seem to be, and capacious as are its pages — a naked record of the remaining events of the war, especially should it be protracted