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