The history of the fighting to suppress the slave-holders' rebellion, thus far written, has been the work of commanding generals. The private soldiers who won the battles, when they were given a chance to win them, and lost them through the ignorance and incapacity of commanders, have scarcely begun to write the history from their point of view. The two will be found to differ materially. The epauletted history has been largely inspired by vanity or jealousy, saving and excepting forever the immortal record, Grant's dying gift to his countrymen, which is as modest as it is truthful, and as just as it is modest.
Most of this war history has been written to repair damaged or wholly ruined military reputations. It has been made additionally untrustworthy by the jealousy which seeks to belittle the work of others, or to falsify or obscure it, in order to render more conspicuous the achievements of the historians.