When, yielding to the solicitations of my friends, I finally decided to write these Memoirs, the greatest difficulty which confronted me was that of recounting my share in the many notable events of the last three decades, in which I played a part, without entering too fully into the history of these years, and at the same time without giving to my own acts an unmerited prominence.
To what extent I have overcome this difficulty I must leave the reader to judge.
In offering this record, penned by my own hand, of the events of my life, and of my participation in our great struggle for national existence, human liberty, and political equality, I make no pretension to literary merit; the importance of the subject-matter of my narrative is my only claim on the reader's attention.
Respectfully dedicating this work to my comrades in arms during the War
of the Rebellion
, I leave it as a heritage to my children, and as a source of information for the future historian.