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The Townsend Library. National, State, and individual Records. 1860-1870.

Upon the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency in 1860, when the first mutterings of the coming storm were heard, Mr. Thomas S. Townsend, of New York city, conceived the idea of collecting and arranging in a form for ready reference the chronicle of current events as it was given in the newspapers and magazines of the country, as well as the comments and addresses made, when the particulars were fresh in the minds of the writers and speakers of the day. This Historical Record and Encyclopoedia contains nearly everything concerning the great national conflict—not merely down to the end of battle-fields, but to the equally important strife connected with the reorganization of the National Union, by the readmission of the seceded States in 1870. And in this connection it is essential to remember that much very valuable information concerning men and things on all sides during the war, North as well as South, has been attainable only since the close of the war, as it has been elicited by discussions in Congress, in Legislatures, in Northern and Southern Historical Societies, in magazines such as the Southern Historical Society Papers, The Century, The Land We Love, The Southern Bivouac, and others with like distinctive features, and in the controversies of persons engaged on both sides since the close of the armed strife. No party bias has been allowed to interfere with the thorough compilation of the descriptive narratives, comments and reviews of correspondents, journalists, and public men of every conceivable creed—whether of the North or South.

This portion of the work occupies nearly one hundred immense folio volumes—forming a library in itself, and embracing as much printed matter as could be placed in about a thousand volumes of ordinary octavo size. As the arrangement is in four columns on each page, a curious statistician ‘calculated’ that ‘if the columns were arranged in a continuous line, they would measure nearly one hundred miles.’

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