This book, friendly reader, was not created; like Topsy, “it growed.”
The author or compiler, whichever term you may choose to give him, had for four years past been a not uninterested observer of the great struggle, which it had been his duty elsewhere to chronicle.
In his researches into the causes and events of the war, its fearful battles, its alternations of light and shadow, its changes of policy, and its final and glorious triumphs, he had had abundant occasion to notice those personal achievements, those noble sacrifices, and that fearless devotion to the national cause which have so greatly distinguished this conflict In the pages of a history of the war, such narratives and incidents could find no place: yet it seemed unjust to the great souls who had laid every thing upon their country's altar, with out a murmur or a sigh, that their glorious sacrifices should not be held in grateful remembrance; and it was from the desire to do some justice to their memory, that at an early day the writer commenced, at first for his own private reading merely, the collection of narratives and incidents of personal adventure and sacrifice in the war. Some of these were found in print, in books, periodicals, and newspapers; others were preserved in the annals or reports of charitable institutions, like the Sanitary and Christian Commissions; a few had found record from a poet's pen, and a considerable number
though matters of oral tradition, had never appeared in print but were gleaned from the narrations of the parties themselves or their friends.
The garnering of these was a work of great delight to the writer, and as time passed on he felt desirous that others should share the pleasure he had enjoyed, in the perusal o0 the heroic deeds of his countrymen and countrywomen; and so the book grew into such form and symmetry as it now possesses.
In the hands of the American
public he loaves it, with the conviction that they will be lenient to any faults they may observe in it, and will appreciate his honest and pains-taking endeavor to present to them a record of some of the personal adventures and incidents of the war.