The object aimed at in this narrative is to recount the daily acts of General Grant
in the field, to describe minutely his personal traits and habits, and to explain the motives which actuated him in important crises by giving his criticisms upon events in the language employed by him at the time they took place.
The chief effort of the author has been to enable readers to view the Union
commander near by, and to bring them into such intimate contact with him that they may know him as familiarly as those who served by his side.
It has been no part of the author's purpose to give a detailed history of the campaigns referred to, but to describe the military movements only so far as necessary to show General Grant
's intentions and plans and the general results of his operations.
Mention of particular commands, subordinate commanders, and topographical features, therefore, had to be in large measure omitted.
While serving as a personal aid to the general-in-chief
the author early acquired the habit of making careful and elaborate notes of everything of interest which came under his observation, and these reminiscences are simply a transcript of memoranda jotted down at the time.