"Among the many productions which the late war has drawn forth, the editor has thought there is room for such a volume as this, which shall present a full and complete picture of the various phases of the life of a soldier, his battles, marches, sufferings, and privations, and such instances of personal during the four years of our civil strife. He is well aware, that full justice can not be done to those brave men who, on land and sea, carried the 'Stars and Stripes' in triumph throughout the entire length and breadth of that portion of the Union so lately in arms against the General government, but he hopes and believes that those who wore the glorious 'blue coat', will recognize the fidelity and truthfulness of the present volume, which aims solely to present to the country in a familiar and pleasant manner the claims of our heroes to the nation's gratitude. The selections herin embodied have been made carefully and faithfully from the current literature of the war, a task to which the editor has devoted considerable time and research. His aim has been to draw, from the mass before him, the most graphic and striking articles, those which would most forcibly recall, to the survivors of the army and navy, the stirring scenes through which they passed so bravely, which would depict most truthfully their fortitude and heroism in adversity"--Preface.
"[War] has its fascinations, as drunkenness, licentiousness, murder, journalism, and the stage have theirs. What is War, after all, but scientific assassination, throat-gutting by rule, causing misery and vice, and pain and death by prescribed forms? It is a palpable anachronism, and yet it continues..." We are fortunate to have this remarkable book by famous jounalist Junius Henri Browne, a special war correspondent for the New York Tribune who not only reported from the field in the Civil War but spent time as a captive of the Rebels.
A literate, witty, urbane man with a coterie of fellow correspondents at his side (whom he called the Bohemians), Browne witnessed all the horror and carnage of the American Civil War. He was at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg and more. As in wars today, some of his fellow reporters were among the casualties.
He also wrote of the humorous, the ironic, and the ridiculous side of the conflict.
On May 3, 1863, while dodging the shore batteries during the siege of Vicksburg, Browne and his friends were captured by Confederate soldiers. For more than two years, he endured all the deprivations of horribly inadequate prisoner camps, all the while plotting escape.
In exciting, witty prose, Browne has left us an account of the war like no other, written shortly after his escape and repatriation to the North in 1865. At the end of the conflict, he adds his thoughts on the future. An opponent of slavery, he says:
"Nothing, however, let me remark, seems more inconsistent and irrational than the supposition that the negroes, who have for generations raised the products of the South, while enslaved, will be unable to do so when emancipated."
For the first time, this long out-of-print book is available in an affordable, well-formatted edition for e-readers and smartphones.
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