The author of this book has but few words to write in presenting it to the public.
Twelve years have passed away since the close of our civil war. The passions of men have had time to cool, and their prejudices time to abate.
We may, therefore, view the contest as we could not when we stood nearer to it.
Reared under almost directly opposite interpretations of the Federal Constitution
, the people of the North
and of the South
fought with equal earnestness for principles regarded by each as essential to the well-being of the American
people and to the perpetuity of a republican form of government.
What is to be the ultimate results of the contest cannot yet he clearly determined.
But may we not hope that a country which endured four years of civil war unequalled in the history of the world, and has since endured twelve years of sectional strife, and still lives in freshness and vigor, is destined by a favoring Providence
to bear the blessings of Christian civilization onward to the remotest ages, and to stand as a beacon to other peoples as they pass through those stormy periods which are bound up in the bundle of every nation's life.
If such shall be the lessons of our civil war, it will not be without its value to the world.
Essentially a religious people, it was to be expected that the faith in which they had been trained should assert itself even amid the strife of arms.
And it was so. To what extent the religious element prevailed among the soldiers of the North
, they can best tell us who labored among them in word and doctrine.
extent it prevailed among the soldiers of the South
, the following pages tell in part, for so abundant are the records of the revival, that our book might have been twofold larger had all the material been used.
Of one thing the reader may be certain — this work is authentic.
The facts of the army revival are stated by those who witnessed them.
of one of the Tract Associations
during several years of the war, and near its close as an army chaplain, the author, by correspondence and by personal labors and observation, has had ample opportunity to collect materials for his work.
Besides, he has been favored with private letters from many of the most faithful and laborious chaplains and army missionaries, and from officers and private soldiers, giving their recollections of the revival in every part of the wide field of strife.
There has been no attempt to write a book on the war, but still, in following the armies and tracing the revival, the successive campaigns have been outlined so that the reader might see the conditions under which the work of grace progressed.
To thousands in the South
this book will recall scenes dark and sad in many features, but over them is shed the light of hope, and from them the prayers and songs of war days and nights come floating down to mingle with the joys of the present; and if not to mingle with present joys, to give assurance that He who spread a shield over their heads in the day of battle, is still nigh at hand to guide, to cheer, and to deliver all who put their trust in Him.
To thousands in the North
this book will be an enigma.
That God should appear in the midst of men, to bless and save them, who, as they believe, rushed to arms without just cause, may be almost beyond belief.
To all such persons we can only say, read the narrative, weigh the facts, and then make up your verdict.