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AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER, M.D., LL.D.,
PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK:
AUTHOR OF A TREATISE ON HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY,' A HISTORY OF
THE INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE," ETC., Etc.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
CONTAINING THE EVENTS FROM THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND VOLUME.
THE events considered in this volume occurred between the accession of Mr. Lincoln and the Proclamation of Freedom to the Slaves. Chronologically they range from the 4th of March, 1861, to the 1st of January, 1863, inclusive.
An examination of these events shows that they may be conveniently grouped under certain sections or heads. By that means they are more easily borne in mind, and their relation to each other more clearly understood.
The secession movement exhibited the character of a conspiracy for some time after the accession of Lincoln. There may be a difference of opinion as to the exact epoch at which it lost that character, but, for reasons subsequently mentioned, I have placed the limit at the battle of Bull Run, which also coincides with the translation of the Confederate seat of power to Richmond, manifested by the assembly of a Congress in that city on July 20th,
The battle of Bull Run satisfied both the national government and its antagonist that the results sought by each could not be attained by the tumultuary levies which the people, then unacquainted with war, had up to that time supposed would be sufficient. It had become plain that real armies must be called into existence. The period during which the resources on both sides were organized is closed by Lincoln's general War Order of the 27th of January, 1862, commanding an advance of the national forces.
Meantime, however, certain small military affairs had been taking place. These, though they excited public attention very much at the time, exerted, in reality, little or no influence on the general result. We may therefore regard the actions at Bethel, Ball's Bluff,
and even the campaign in Northwestern Virginia, in the light of personal encounters, constituting in their aggregate a mere prelude to the true war.
Though the battle of Bull Run had the effect of convincing the nation that its military operations must be intrusted to professional soldiers, in contradistinction to politicians, it was not possible, constituted as the government is, but that political ideas should have great influence in determining the form of the war. There are military critics who, judging from subsequent events, are of opinion that the course then resolved upon was far from being, in a scientific point of view, correct. Nevertheless, it was probably at the time unavoidable.
The armed force of the nation was called upon to accomplish three objects:
(1.) To put the seceding states, on their inland, river, and sea boundaries, under strict blockade. This beleaguering, or state of siege, was effectually accomplished.
(2.). To open the Mississippi River, obstructed by the inhabitants of its lower banks. The achievement of this constituted the waridea of the Free West.
(3.) To capture Richmond. This constituted the popular waridea of the East.
In addition to the military and naval operations incident on these requirements, there are various other subjects, such as the finances of the republic, the progress of the anti-slavery movement, the attitude assumed by the Western European powers, etc., which it is necessary to consider. These may be conveniently grouped together under the title of Foreign Relations and Domestic Policy of the Republic.
Guided by these views, I therefore divide this volume into the seven following sections, continuing the enumeration from the sixth section of Volume I.:
VII. The progress and culmination of the Conspiracy.
VIII. Vast development of the Warlike Operations. Corresponding Legislative and Military Preparations.
IX. Prelude to the great Campaigns.
X. Campaigns for opening the Mississippi, and piercing the east and west line of the Confederacy.
XI. Campaign for the capture of Richmond.
XII. The Blockade, and operations connected with it.
In the composition of this volume I have been greatly indebted to some of the chief actors in the events described. I can not sufficiently express the obligations I am under to them. They have not only given me much important-often confidential-information, but have added invaluable counsel as to the treatment of the whole subject.
I shall esteem it a favor if any of my readers who may find on these pages errors in the narrative of facts will communicate to me such statements as they may consider nearer to the truth. I will give to their suggestions my earnest attention. Contemporary history must pass the ordeal of examination of many thousand eyewitnesses of the events with which it deals, and that, indeed, constitutes its best recommendation to future times.
The remaining volume, containing the events from the Emancipation Proclamation to the close of the war, I shall publish as soon as I can.
JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER.