by Abner Doubleday
Now that the prejudices and bitter partisan feeling of the past are subsiding, it seems a fitting time to record the facts and incidents connected with the first conflict of the Rebellion. Of the eleven officers who took part in the events herein narrated, but four now survive. Before the hastening years shall have partially obliterated many circumstances from my memory, and while there is still an opportunity for conference and friendly criticism, I desire to make, from letters, memoranda, and documents in my possession, a statement which will embody my own recollections of the turbulent days of 1860 and 1861.
I am aware that later and more absorbing events have caused the earlier struggles of the war to recede in the distance; but those who were in active life at that time will not soon forget the thrill of emotion and sympathy which followed the movements of Anderson’s little band, when it became its duty to unfold the flag of the Union against a united South in arms.
I know how difficult it is to write contemporaneous history, or even to give a bare detail of facts, without wounding the susceptibilities of others; but whenever I have felt called upon to give my own opinion, I have endeavored to do so in the spirit of Lincoln’s immortal sentiment — “With malice toward none ; with charity for all.”