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HE most difficult task, perhaps, known to literature, is to write a history of events as they transpire—to arrange facta before the hand of time has given them just position and importance. In writing a history of the Civil War which is now raging in the land—the most gigantic and stupendous rebellion yet known to the world—the magnitude of the task, and the difficulties that present themselves, challenge a degree of moral courage almost equal to that physical bravery which has been so conspicuous in the war. But if an honest intention to be just—a thorough desire for troth, and a determination to discard all personal prejudices, can produce a faithful history, this work lias a right to claim acceptance.
The political history of a nation, when it merges into armed strife, is generally a record of prejudices and of passion : .civil war is the result. In this work the author deals not with causes, but with the terrible events that spring out of the£i; avoiding so far as possible the threatening clouds of political : dissension that preceded and still follow the tempest. Time, which will clear up obscurities and remove passion, and the intellect of a great statesman, are necessary, before the political and military history of this war can be fittingly imited.
In this book there is a positive rejection of those partizan dissensions which have burst asunder the sacred ties of the greatest nation on earth, and deluged the soil trodden by millions of happy men with the blood of as brave a solg J*diery as ever drew breath. This history of the War for the Union is written . j for no faction—no partv—no combination of men, but for the people of every
portion of the Union. Political passions die—nistory lives; and in an enlightened age like this, it must be written in simple truth, or the clear-sighted generations that follow us will detect the sophistry and falsehood. Impartial history demands honest facts. The opinions of an historian are but the assumptions of one mind attempting to control multitudes. The author's duty is to give details, allowing the intelligent reader to draw his own conclusions unembarrassed by obtrusive opinions, which are in all cases liable to be influenced by prejudices.
The History of the War for the Union is a record of stupendous events which have given grandeur to the American arms and sorrow to every good American heart. Taking up the thread of events where the political history of the nation left them on the fourth of March, eighteen hundred and sixtyone, the author has followed the ensanguined track, giving to every battle-field its place, and every heroic act its record. The sources of information in which the work has found its existence, have been authentic reports from the "War Department, the official statements of commandants on the battte-field, and the many thrilling and graphic descriptions furnished by eye-witnesses.
In giving due credit to those persons who have aided her in the rapid completion of her first volume, the author acknowledges her great obligation to Wm. Oland Bourne, Esq., who has devoted much time to the work, and whose ample collection of material for history* has been freely used in its preparation; and to J. J. Goldbr, Esq., whose research and clear judgment in sifting truth from error, arranging facts, and superintending the work in its progress through the press, has enabled her to place it before the public in less than three months from its commencement. To Mr. Qolder's critical care the reader is indebted for the compact and excellent Chronology attached to this volume, in which all the historical events of the war are placed in their order of succession.
In the mechanical and artistic execution of the work, the publisher has evinced an enthusiasm which corresponds nobly with the great subject of the history, and has been even lavish in pictorial embellishments. These have been all drawn and engraved expressly for this work, at great cost; aM& in the truthfulness and beauty of their execution, add to the high reputation already attained by the artists, Messrs. Waters and Son.
New York, October 1,1868.
ANN S. STEPHENS.