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CIVIL, POLITICAL AND MILITARY,
FROM ITS INCIPIENT STAGES TO ITS CLOSE.
COMPREHENDING, ALSO, ALL IMPORTANT STATE PAPERS, ORDINANCES OF SECESSION,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by JAMES D. TORREY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York,
PREFACE TO VOLUME II.
MATERIAL for the preparation of this volume has been very complete. Upon almost every chapter head there has been only too much of official documents, statements, letters, views, &c., put forth. Having reserved ample time for the production of this, the second of our three octavos, we have been able to reduce the chaos of witnesses to something like order, and to produce a narrative which we feel willing to trust to the world as the historical estimate that time must affix to the events of the Great Rebellion. It is true we have been only one year removed from these events; but, when the reader considers that the omnipotent press and the vanity of men are both exalted to a degree of communicativeness never before attained, he will realise that we have had ample means of information upon most points of historical interest. Very few are the secret archives which the agents of the press and the inquisitiveness of Committees have not explored in a twelve months' travail for facts. If new evidences do transpire, to modify the views and estimates herein embodied, it shall be our endeavor so to revise the text as to render it a correct interpretation of affairs.
Victor Hugo, in his wonderful word-picture of Waterloo, says: "There is a certain moment when the battle degenerates to the combat; when it individualizes itself, and disposes of the whole in details, which, as Napoleon remarks, 'belong to the biography of the regiment rather than to the history of the field'. The historian, hence, has the privilege of generalization. He can catch only the ensemble of the conflict; nor, is it permitted the narrator conscientious for the truth, to eliminate more than the outward form of the frightful shape (cloud) called a battle." We have sought, in our exposition of campaigns and battles, to paint the whole-all that the future will be concerned in-avoiding those particulars of detail which must have cumbered the narrative and have confused the reader's perceptions, We can afford to leave to others the work of writing the biographies of regiments: our province is to present the history of the War for the Union in its more comprehensive and general sense. In a few instances where the heroism of men came out clear against the battle-cloud like a signet of glory-we have permitted the pen to trace the picture in detail. Such episodes serve to intensify the general impression which it is the historian's task toʻ produce, and, hence, are admissible.
We may repeat our thanks to correspondents for favors which have added materially to our data. We owe little to the Departments at Washington, but much to friends at headquarters, who, in the midst of onerous duties, could find time to answer our not always easily appeased demands for facts. Yet, after all, to the omnipotent, omnipresent daily journals do we owe most thanks. Their subtle agencies, spread everywhere over the vast field of operations-insinuating themselves into the Departments, into Bureaus, into camp and staff councils—usurping the double office of witness and judge in the discharge of their duty-official and personal expositors-are now and ever must remain the historian's resources when all others fail.
NEW YORK, April 1st, 1863.
en to Coerce them. Richmond