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Histories of wars are seldom written by eye witnesses of the scenes which they attempt to depict, and the events which they pretend to describe; but are generally made up from the statements of those who wish to gain notoriety, and are embellished by the aid of the writer's imagination. To write a perfect history of the late terrible war in the United States, would seem, from the attempts already made, to be an impossibility. With one writer we have a good account of the great achievements of the Army of the Potomac, but all other armies are ignored. Another faithful historian will give a correct narrative of the war, and to follow him will be to follow the fortunes and misfortunes of Butler, Banks, Pope and Fremont. In all of these, none of less rank than a brigade commander receives special notice, unless, perchance, he happens at some time to meet the author under peculiarly favorable circumstances. While it cannot be said that the history of one army is the history of all armies, yet it may well be said that in the hardships, dangers, privations and glories of one good soldier, we have the history of every good soldier who belonged to the Union army. They all bore the same burdens, fought the same, or similar battles, and had adventures identically the same. So with companies and regiments, which are the foundation of armies. The history of one is the history of all. In the following pages, the reader will find recorded the trials and hardships, together with the pleasures and duties of every regiment which bore a gallant part in the great struggle for nationality. It is our design in giving a history of the Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry to give a complete and accurate history of every man who had the honor of a membership in it, without favor or partiality. And in so doing, we have called to our assistance the different officers who commanded the regiment, who happened to have in their possession material points of history which we were not able to obtain. If anything has been omitted, it has not been intentional; yet, with all the various shiftings of the scene, it would be remarkable if nothing were omitted.
The narrative commences with the formation of the first company, and runs through the three months, three years, and veteran service, and ends with the final muster-out of the survivors at Louisville, Kentucky, July 9th, 1865.
In the list of casualties some names that will be looked for will not be seen. We very much regret this, but owing to the incompleteness of the Adjutant
General's report, we are unable to furnish them : scarcely any note is made there of our noble wounded. Where the blame lies we do not pretend
To the officers of the regiment, for encouragement and aid ; to Lieut. S. F. FLINT, for valuable poems, written expressly for these pages; and to Rev. W.R. GOODWIN, Pastor M. E. Church, Lincoln, Illinois, for services rendered in reviewing the manuscript, we make our sincere and grateful acknowledgments.
We now throw ourself upon the generosity of the public, disclaiming any pretensions to literary merit, hoping that we will be dealt with gently. Respectfully,
D. L. A.
Battle of Shiloh ; First day; The attack ; First position of the Seventh ; Advanced