Introduction: soldiers and citizens
Veterans after one year
Self-reliance, courage and dignity are imprinted on the faces of these ‘veterans’—men of McClernand's corps in their quarters at Memphis, Tennessee, after the costly attempt on Vicksburg by way of Chickasaw Bluffs.
Yet they have been soldiers hardly a year—the boy on the right, so slight and young, might almost be masquerading in an officer's uniform.
Of such were the soldiers who early in the war fought the South in the flush of her strength and enthusiasm|
After the great mass meeting in Union square, New York, April 20, 1861
Knots of citizens still linger around the stands where Anderson, who had abandoned Sumter only six days before, had just roused the multitude to wild enthusiasm.
Of this gathering in support of the Government the New York Herald said at the time: ‘Such a mighty uprising of the people has never before been witnessed in New York, nor throughout the whole length and breadth of the Union.
Five stands were erected, from which some of the most able speakers of the city and state addressed the multitude on the necessity of rallying around the flag of the Republic in this hour of its danger.
A series of resolutions was proposed and unanimously adopted, pledging the meeting to use every means to preserve the Union intact and inviolate.
Great unanimity prevailed throughout the whole proceedings; party politics were ignored, and the entire meeting—speakers and listeners—were a unit in maintaining the national honor unsullied.
Major Anderson, the hero of Fort Sumter, was present, and showed himself at the various stands, at each of which he was most enthusiastically received.
An impressive feature of the occasion was the flag of Sumter, hoisted on the stump of the staff that had been shot away, placed in the hand of the equestrian statue of Washington.’|
The War's great ‘citizen’ at his moment of triumph: Lincoln reading his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865
Just behind the round table to the right, rising head and shoulders above the distinguished bystanders, grasping his manuscript in both hands, stands Abraham Lincoln.
Of all the occasions on which he talked to his countrymen, this was most significant.
The time and place marked the final and lasting approval of his political and military policies.
Despite the bitter opposition of a majority of the Northern political and social leaders, the people of the Northern States had renominated Lincoln in June, 1864.
In November, encouraged by the victories of Farragut at Mobile, Sherman in Georgia, and Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, they had reflected him President of the United States by an electoral vote of 212 to 21.
Since the election, continued Northern victories had made certain the
speedy termination of the war. Not long since, his opponents had been so numerous and so powerful that they fully expected to prevent his renomination.
Lincoln himself, shortly after his renomination, had come to believe that reelection was improbable, and had expressed himself as ready ‘to cooperate with the President-elect to save the Union.’
Yet neither in Lincoln's demeanor nor in his inaugural address is there the slightest note of personal exultation.
For political and military enemies alike he has ‘malice toward none; charity for all.’
Indeed the dominant feeling in his speech is one of sorrow and sympathy for the cruel sufferings of both North and South.
Not only in the United States, but throughout the civilized world, the address made a profound and immediate impression.|
‘Grant at Appomattox
—Lee at Gettysburg
—those are the men for me!’
Thus exclaimed a long-time writer on military matters, after the contemplation of certain portraits that follow these pages.
His criticism halted before the colossal moral qualities of the two war leaders—the generosity that considered the feelings of the conquered general as well as the private soldiers' need of horses ‘for the spring plowing’—the nobility that, after Pickett
's charge at Gettysburg
, promptly shouldered all the responsibility.
Those heights of character, as chronicled in the pages that follow and in other volumes of this History, are heroic, universal.
They surpass the bounds of any period or nation; they link America with the greatness of the ages.
If they, together with the sacrifice and fortitude of thousands more among the ‘Armies and Leaders,’ are made to live more vividly for those who study the narrative and portraits of this volume, and the nine volumes preceding it, their publication will indeed have been justified.
The personal inspiration of the war pictures centers, naturally, in the portraits and groups.
Several hundred of them are presented in the pages following.
Study of them soon reveals a difference between soldier and non-combatant, as expressed in bearing and cast of countenance.
It is astonishing how accurately, after examining a number of the war photographs of every description, one may distinguish in
From the army to the White House: Garfield in 1863—(left to right) Thomas, Wiles, Tyler, Simmons, Drillard, Ducat, Barnett, Goddard, Rosecrans, Garfield, Porter, Bond, Thompson, Sheridan.
War-time portraits of six soldiers whose military records assisted them to the Presidential Chair.|
many cases between fighters and non-combatants.
This is true, even when the latter are represented in full army overcoats, with swords and the like, as was customary to some extent with postmasters, quartermasters, commissariat and hospital attendants.
The features are distinctive of the men who have stood up under fire, and undergone the even severer ordeal of submission to a will working for the common good, involving the sacrifice of personal independence.
Their dignity and quiet selfconfidence are obscured neither by the extreme growth of facial hair fashionable in the sixties, nor by the stains of marching and camping.
Where the photograph ‘caught’ the real soldiers under any circumstances of dress or undress, health or disease, camp-ease, or wounds that had laid the subjects low, the stamp of discipline stands revealed.
The young officers' portraits afford particularly interesting study.
The habit of quick decision, the weighing of responsibilities involving thousands of human lives which has become a daily matter, like the morning and evening train-catching of the modern business commuter—these swift and tremendous affairs are borne with surprising calmness upon the young shoulders.
To represent in some coherent form the men of Civil War time, this volume has been set aside.
It becomes highly desirable to the fundamental plan of this history.
The first three volumes, devoted to narrative in the largest sense, and to scenes, could present portraits only of officers and men connected with particular operations.
Each of the next six volumes, occupied as it is with a special phase of war-time activity—cavalry, artillery, prisons and hospitals, or the like
—naturally emphasizes, in its personal mentions and portrayals, the men of the respective specialties.
The editors, therefore, determined to devote an entire volume to the consideration of the personnel of the Union
and Confederate armies.
But in this field, vaster than most of the present generation have imagined, even a book as extensive as a volume of the Photographic History
can be no more than suggestive.
Consider the typical fighting man on the Union
side alone —the brevet brigadier-general
, or the colonel, often deserving of promotion to that rank.
When it is reflected that the rank of brevet brigadier-general was conferred upon eleven hundred and seventy Federal officers who never attained the full rank, and that the colonels who displayed conspicuous gallantry numbered as many, perhaps twice as many, more, it is evident that the editors of the Photographic History
, in presenting portraits of more than three hundred of the generals, by brevet, have made this feature of the work as comprehensive as possible.
To exhaust the list of such officers would require a separate volume.
Consistency, likewise, would demand at least another volume for colonels.
But who would undertake to decide what particular thousand among the upward of ten thousand claimants among this rank should have a place in the gallery of fame?
And if gallant colonels, why not the equally gallant lieutenant-colonels, majors
, and captains, who at times commanded regiments?
That there are limitations is evident.
The nature of the work decides its scope to a large degree.
The war-time camera has been the arbiter.
Here and there it caught the colonel as
well as the general, the captain as well as the colonel, and the private as well as the captain.
On the whole, its work was well balanced, marvelously so, and the results are before the readers of the Photographic History
If so slight a proportion can be shown of the men distinguished for their fighting, it obviously becomes impossible, even should the ten volumes consist of portraits alone, to represent adequately the soldiers whose fame has come since 1865.
Merely to suggest the function of the Civil War
as a school of citizenship, portraits are presented with this introduction of six soldiers who became President
; of a group like Grenville M. Dodge
, Harrison Gray Otis
, and Thomas T. Eckert
, who helped to develop American material resources; together with several, such as Henry Watterson
, Carl Schurz
, George E. Waring, Jr.
, and Francis A. Walker
, whose influence has put much of our journalism and public life on a higher plane.
As these lines are penned, no less than four Civil War soldiers—two Union, two Confederate—are serving as members of the highest American tribunal—the Supreme Court:—Chief Justice White
and Justice Lurton
(Confederate); Justices Harlan
(Union). Ex-Confederates again have been found in the cabinets of both Republican and Democratic Presidents
, as well as in the National Congress.
But immense indeed would be the literary enterprise undertaking to cover all the results in American civic life of Civil War training.
There have been State governors by the hundreds who could look back upon service with the armies.
There have been members of legislatures by the tens of thousands.
And the private soldiers—hundreds of thousands of them, mere boys when they enlisted to fight through the four years, expanded into important citizens of their communities, as a direct result of their service in the Blue
and the Gray.
The youths of eighteen or nineteen, who rushed to the defense of their flag in 1861, lacked, as most boys do, some notable phenomenon, blow, catastrophe to fire their imaginations and give them confidence in themselves.
Without such inspiration their highest destiny would have fallen far short of fulfilment.
But those same youths who survived to the summer of 1865—how differently they stood!—erect, with arms well hung, with quiet dignity, with the self-assurance learned from years of quick decision and unhesitating following of duty through danger.
If, for instance, one should study the careers of those countless thousands of fearless sheriffs who have kept order in communities throughout the country, after service under the Stars and Stripes or the Stars and Bars, it would become overwhelmingly apparent that without such training in resolution and resourcefulness, most of the men who were young in 1861 could possibly have become village constables—no more.
The leading biographies in this volume have naturally been left free from the editorial scrutiny that has aimed to render the test throughout the largest part of the Photographic History
as detached and impersonal as possible.
The value, for instance, of the chapter on Grant
, by Colonel W. C. Church, lies not only in the trained military criticism of technical operations by the veteran editor of the Army and Navy Journal,
but also in the author's personal acquaintance with the Union
commander, extending through many years, and the graphic and sure touch conveyable only by such personal intimacy.
Nor was it to be expected or desired that Professor William P. Trent
, a writer and scholar Southern born, should fail to emphasize the lofty personal traits of his hero, Lee
; or that Mr. Allen C. Redwood
, whose rare privilege it was to ‘fight with “Stonewall
,” ’ should not portray his honest and frank admiration for the most surprising military genius developed by the Civil War
Particularly gratifying to the humanist is the sketch of Sherman
, written from the standpoint of the most sympathetic discrimination by a Southern historical student—Professor Walter L. Fleming
, of the Louisiana State University.
Two groups of portraits accompanying this introduction show veterans of the Union
and Confederacy who, by great fortune, are numbered among those few spared in life, health, and activity of pen throughout the half-century since 1861; and who have contributed largely the materials of the Photographic History
Without the note of actuality and reminiscence that runs through the chapters from their pens, this work, despite its conception of guiding impersonality, would have lacked many of its most faithful and permanently valuable sections.
To those veteran contributors, for their many courtesies and special labors in realizing the purpose of this History, it is a pleasure here to express the warmest appreciation.