Bibliographical note

Relative to the principal works consulted by the author.

Without pretending to give a complete list of the sources from which the author has derived his information in writing the first volume of this history, it is proper to mention the principal publications by which he has been guided in the composition of his work. We will quote, in the first place, ‘The Rebellion Record,’ a vast collection of reports, narratives, correspondence, newspaper extracts, prepared at intervals during the war; it requires a certain degree of familiarity with the subject to find out precisely what you are in search of, but it abounds in valuable information. The official documents of both parties are almost invariably distinguished for their general correctness, although frequently too pompous in their style; it would not be safe, however, to rely upon the statements they contain of certain conditions of affairs, except when they bear a confidential character. Unfortunately, these documents are far from being complete. The Navy Department of the Union has published the reports of all its officers in extenso; the War Department has only given abstracts of the reports of the Secretary and the commander-in-chief, and only the full reports of the quartermaster-general, which, in a statistical point of view, afford some curious information. A large number of the reports of both parties are to be found in the ‘Rebellion Record;’ there were published besides, in Richmond, in 1864, two volumes of the reports of General Lee and his subordinates, and a few official Confederate documents were reprinted in New York in 1865. Among the numerous documents contained in the Richmond archives, subsequently taken to Washington after the war, there are several of which the author possesses copies, for which he is indebted to the kindness of General Grant. All the depositions received by the ‘Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War’ have been collected into seven volumes which, among interminable repetitions, present some interesting views and much information not to be found elsewhere.

As to the principal works which the author has consulted besides these different collections, he will simply mention their titles, beginning with four publications from which he has borrowed more than from [639] any other; the first commends itself to our special consideration on account of the conscientious impartiality with which it was written; the others, by the judicious care with which their respective authors made use of the published and unpublished documents they had on hand. These are, ‘The Illustrated History of the War,’ by Mr. Lossing; ‘The American Civil War,’ three volumes; ‘Life of General Grant,’ by his former aid-de-camp, General Badeau, of which only the first volume has appeared; the two books of Mr. Swinton, entitled, respectively, ‘History of the Army of the Potomac,’ one volume, and ‘The Twelve Decisive Battles of the War,’ one volume.

To continue the list of works written from a Union point of view, we will mention, without attempting to classify them, ‘History of the Rebellion,’ by Appleton, one volume; ‘Life of General Grant,’ by Coppee, one volume; ‘Life of General Sherman,’ by Bowman and Irwin, one volume; ‘Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army,’ by Stevenson, one volume; ‘The Volunteer Quartermaster,’ one volume; ‘History of the United States Cavalry,’ by Brackett, one volume; a large number of technical papers in the ‘American Cyclopaedia,’ a work in four volumes; ‘Political History of the Rebellion,’ by McPherson, one volume; ‘Life of Abraham Lincoln,’ by Raymond, one volume; ‘The American Conflict,’ by Horace Greeley, two volumes.

Among the Confederate publications to which we are indebted, we must mention, above all, the works of Mr. E. Pollard: ‘The First, Second, and Third Year of the War,’ three volumes, ‘The Lost Cause,’ one volume, and ‘Lee and his Lieutenants,’ one volume; the works of Mr. Esten Cooke: ‘Life of General Lee,’ one volume, ‘Life of Stonewall Jackson,’ one volume, and ‘Wearing of the Grey,’ one volume; and, finally, ‘The Southern Generals,’ anonymous, one volume.

The number of works published by Europeans possessing real interest is very limited; it will be enough to mention the remarkable work of M. Vigo Roussillion on ‘The Military Power of the United States,’ and the writings of three officers with whom the author had the good fortune to serve in the campaign against Richmond in 1862: ‘History of the War of Secession,’ by the Swiss Federal colonel F. Lecomte, two volumes; ‘History of the War of Secession,’ by Lieutenant-colonel Fletcher of the British Guards, three volumes; and ‘Four Years in the Army of the Potomac,’ by General Regis de Trobriand, two volumes, Paris, 1867. This last work, French in language, in spirit, and in the place of its publication, possesses at the [640] same time, in an historical point of view, all the value of a narrative written by one of the eye-witnesses and actors in the great American drama.

We shall conclude this note with a final reference, which will convey to the reader an idea of the multitude of documents of varied importance and value that have been published on the subject of which we are treating; this is a large quarto volume entitled ‘Bartlett's Literature of the Rebellion,’ which appeared in 1866, and is simply a catalogue of all the works relating to the civil war; it contains more than six thousand numbers, and during the last six years the quantity of these works has probably doubled.

In the succeeding pages of our history we shall indicate whatever sources worthy of mention we may have occasion to consult in any subsequent portion of the narrative.

end of volume I.

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