the peculiar circumstances under which this work has been prepared, caused a much longer interval between the appearance of the first and second volumes than was expected; but the delay has been an advantage to the book, because it has enabled the author to procure and use more authentic and valuable materials than could have been obtained earlier, especially from Confederate sources.
An essential part of the original plan of the writer, and which has been carried out, was to make a personal visit to the principal battle-fields and other places of interest connected with the Civil War
. This could not be done within the Confederate
lines during the war, and it was difficult to do so in many places for several months after the conflict had ceased.
As much as possible of this labor was accomplished before the completion of the first volume, in which the events of the conflict, civil and military, to the close of the first battle of Bull's. Run
, are recorded.
After the first volume was completed, in the spring of 1866, the writer made a journey of several thousand miles in visiting the historical localities within the bounds of the Confederacy
, observing the topography of battle-fields and the region of the movements of the great armies, making sketches, conversing with actors in the scenes, procuring documents, and in every possible way gathering valuable materials for the work.
The writer bore a cordial letter of introduction from General Grant
to any officer commanding a military post within the late Slave-labor States, asking him to afford the bearer every facility in his power.
To General O. O. Howard
the writer was also indebted, for a similar letter, directed to any agent of the Freedmen's Bureau
These, and the kind services everywhere proffered by,
and received from, persons who had been in the Confederate armies, procured for the author extraordinary facilities for gathering historical materials, and he was enabled to send and bring home a large amount of valuable matter.
This had to be carefully examined and collated.
In this and kindred labor, and in the construction of small illustrative maps, and the preparation of the sketches for the engraver, all by his own hands, months were consumed, and the delay in the appearance of the second volume was the consequence.