The History, Civil, Political and Military, of the Southern Rebellion, Vol. 2: From Its Incipient Stages to Its Close; Comprehending, Also, All Important State Papers, Ordinances of Secession, Proclamations, Proceedings of Congress, Official Reports of Co
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Excerpt from The History, Civil, Political and Military, of the Southern Rebellion, Vol. 2: From Its Incipient Stages to Its Close; Comprehending, Also, All Important State Papers, Ordinances of Secession, Proclamations, Proceedings of Congress, Official Reports of Commanders, Etc., Etc
Victor Hugo, in his wonderful word-picture of Waterloo, says: There is a certain mo ment 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 general ization. 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 ih - 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 to 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 head quarters, 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 themsel'ves 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.
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