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ENTERED, according to act of Congress, in the year 1868,
BY I. STEBBINS,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.
In the summer of 1865, and in the following winter, I made two visits to the South, spending four months in eight of the principal States which had lately been in rebellion. I saw the most noted battle-fields of the war. I made acquaintance with officers and soldiers of both sides. I followed in the track of the destroying armies. I travelled by railroad, by steamboat, by stage-coach, and by private conveyance ; meeting and conversing with all sorts of people, from high State officials to “low-down” whites and negroes; endeavoring, at all times and in all places, to receive correct impressions of the country, of its inhabitants, of the great contest of arms just closed, and of the still greater contest of principles not yet terminated.
This book is the result. It is a record of actual observations and conversations, free from fictitious coloring. Such stories as were told me of the war and its depredations would have been spoiled by embellishment; pictures of existing conditions, to be valuable, must be faithful; and what is now most desirable, is not hypothesis or declamation, but the light of plain facts upon the momentous question of the hour, which must be settled, not according to any political or sectional bias, but upon broad grounds of Truth and Eternal Right.
I have accordingly made my narrative as ample and as literally faithful as the limits of these pages, and of my own opportunities, would allow. Whenever practicable, I have
stepped aside and let the people I met speak for themselves. Notes taken on the spot, and under all sorts of circumstances, - on horseback, in jolting wagons, by the firelight of a farm-house, or negro camp, sometimes in the dark, or in the rain, — have enabled me to do this in many cases with absolute fidelity. Conversations which could not be reported in this way, were written out as soon as possible after they took place, and while yet fresh in my memory. Idiomatic pecaliarities, which are often so expressive of character, I have reproduced without exaggeration. To intelligent and candid men it was my habit to state frankly my intention to publish an account of my journey, and then, with their permission, to jot down such views and facts as they saw fit to impart. Sometimes I was requested not to report certain statements of an important nature, made in the glow of conversation ; these, not without regret, I have suppressed ; and I trust that in no instance have I violated a confidence that was reposed in me.
I may add that the conversations recorded are generally of a representative character, being selected from among hundreds of such ; and that if I have given seemingly undue prominence to any subject, it has been because I found it an absorbing and universal topic of discussion.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Cemetery Hill. - Pivot of the Battle and of the War. Culp's Hill. - Rock Creek.
CHAPTER VI. - Dowx THE RIVER TO HARPER'S FERRY.
Small Farmers. - Right Ignorant but Right Sharp:--- Sedgwick's Retreat. -- Farms
and Crops. — Views of Emancipation. Poor Whites and Niggers. — The Man
that killed Harrow. — Along the Plank-Road. — Tales of the Old Times. - Chancel-
lorsville Farm. - What was under the Weeds. - Bones for the Bone-Factory.
Chancellorsville Burying-Ground. — Death of Stonewall Jackson... .114
CHAPTER XV.- THE WILDERNESS.
Days of Anxiety, — Inflexible Spirit of the People. — Locust Grove. — The Wilder-
ness Church. - Relics of the Battle. Skeletons above Ground. – Wilderness
Cemetery. - A Summer Shower. — The Wounded in the Fire. — The Rainbow..123
CHAPTER XVI. - SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE.
Elijah “Cut." - Richard " H." Hicks. Poor Whites and the War. - Dead en's
Clothes. — A “Heavy Coon Dog." – Traces of the Battle. – View of the Court-
House. — Grant's Breastworks. - County Clerk. Whites and Blacks in the
County. - Ignorance of the Lower Classes. - The Negro “Fated"..
CHAPTER XVII. - THE FIELD OF SPOTTSYLVANIA.
The Tavern-Keeper's Relics. – A Union Officer's Opinions. — The Landlord's Corn-
field. — Rebel and Yankee Troops. – Scene of the Decisive Conflict. – Graves of
Spottsylvania.- Women“ Chincapinnin."- Leaves from a Soldier's Testament..137
CHAPTER XVIII. -"ON to RICHMOND."
A Bubble Vanished. - Desolate Scenery. – Virginia and Massachusetts. - Ashton. -
Suburbs. Northern Men in Richmond. — Appearance of the City........ 143
CHAPTER XIX.- THE BURNT DISTRICT.
Ruins of Richmond. – Why the Rebels burnt the City.— Panic of the Inhabitants. -