Actuated by energy, enterprise, and self-respect, McClellan was true to himself and his commission, and was willing to submit his labors to time.
That time has now arrived. The country is convulsed by war; military instruction is everywhere looked for and eagerly received. The American public is educated up to the intelligent use of such books as this; and the book itself, in excellence, variety, and value, stands without a rival. The citizen soldier, whose patriotism alone takes him to the field, will here find the best precepts in his newly-adopted profession, now emanating from the lips of his own distinguished commander. To the army he always speaks with authority.
Originally an engineer officer, and serving with distinction in an engineer company during the Mexican War, McClellan has given us in this work the best directions as to engineer troops, reconnoissances and field fortifications, and entrenchments.
As a captain of cavalry, he has made that arm his special subject; and as a complete soldier, who knows that the strength of an army is its infantry, he has not neglected that corps, in observation or record. The work is indeed a full and clear description of the armies of Europe, as its new title expresses.
But chiefly is it appropriate and timely because it lays down the principles which are to guide him in his important command. It contains his own theoretic views and rules, now to be carried out in practice. It is - as it were - his own military history written, unconsciously, in advance.
His constituency is now immense; and they will watch with intense interest, while they read his war-precepts here, to see how he will carry them out in the great war in which he has such an important command.
It is due to the distinguished author to say that the republication is made at the urgent request of the publishers.