‘  the Continental Congress patriotism shone more conspicuously, it did not there exist more truly, nor burn more fervently; it did not render the day more anxious, nor the night more sleepless; it sent up no more ardent prayer to God for succor; and it put forth in no greater degree the fulness of its effort, and the energy of its whole soul and spirit, in the common cause,—than it did in the small assemblies of the towns.’We read these words long years ago; and they had become, as it were, fastened upon our memory before the late civil contest had assumed a warlike front. We believed that they presented a true state of facts respecting the Revolutionary period, as we know that they possess a marvellous accuracy when applied to ‘the small assemblies of the towns’ of Massachusetts during the late Rebellion. In what we shall say on this or any other point, no one, we trust, will understand us as asserting that too much credit has been awarded to the soldiers of the Union army for the services they have performed, or too much sympathy and honor been given them for the sufferings they have endured, and the sacrifices they have made; for, in our judgment, they have not received their full award of credit, nor their full share of sympathy and honor. The purpose of this volume is to present a compact and faithful record of what our towns did, during the late war, to aid the cause with which the future name and well-being of this nation were so closely allied; and also to preserve, and rescue from neglect, the names of gentlemen whose official positions imposed upon them many new and untried duties, which they performed with an energy unsurpassed, and a faithfulness which merits the thankful acknowledgment of all good people. We are not aware that a volume of a character precisely like this has ever before been written. Although the material for such a work, showing the action of the local town governments during the Revolutionary war, may still exist in the archives of many of our towns, yet we fear that, in the lapse of years which now separate us from that memorable period, many of the records have become mutilated, and in some instances partially or entirely lost. No systematic attempt, to our knowledge,
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