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WAR OF THE REBELLION,
L. G. BENNETT AND WM. M. HAIGH.
AURORA, ILL. ;
In the presentation of our History of the Thirty-Sixth Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, to the public, we have no apologies to offer for what may seem an intrusion, in adding another volume to the already overburdened“ literature of the war.”
The survivors of the "Old Thirty-Sixth" have long felt the want of such a work, for one among many other reasons, to correct the errors and to supply the omissions of the general historian. They, many years ago, inaugurated measures looking to the collection of the annals of the Regiment, and their publication. A historian was appointed, and committees from each company selected to assist in the collection of material, and to collate and prepare it for the press. But little progress was made, and as the years passed by and the work was not accomplished, or even fairly commenced, other appointments were made, but without satisfactory results. At the annual reunion of the surviving comrades in 1875, another historian was selected, new auxiliary committees created, and an impetus given which promised
The new historian early associated with him the former one, and dividing the work between them, the result has been the present volume.
Few persons can comprehend the great labor and difficulties attending the preparation of a work of this kind. At the very outset, those who were expected to contribute materials were scattered oyer much of the Western Hemisphere, and to reach
them and obtain their contributions was a herculean task. Then to sift facts from fiction, and to see that all parties or portions of the regiment were properly represented, required much tact and skill.
The parties engaged in the preparation of the work have written independently of each other, each taking up a period of time and detailing the events within that period, without the aid of the other. A difference in style, and other features, will enable the reader to readily determine the authorship of different portions of the work, and yet it may be proper to state that the first twenty and last seven chapters, as well as the appendix, were prepared by Mr. Bennett, while Mr. Haigh wrote the remainder-embracing a period from October 9th, 1862, to the occupation of Columbia, in November, 1864, being more than two years of the most eventful portion of the regimental history.
Our sources of information have been various, and with some truth, it may be said, the work is a compilation, as well as an original composition. We have drawn largely from journals and papers kindly furnished by individual members of the regiment, and their number, if for no other reason, is an ample excuse for not mentioning each by name. All, however, have our thanks for such expressions of their interest and kindly regard. A few of the incidents and anecdotes have heretofore been published and appropriated by other parties, and they are reproduced here only to restore them to their rightful owners. We have likewise had access to most of the official reports of officers under whom the 36th had the honor to serve, and have made free use of their contents as far as it suited our purpose. Among the many histories of events connected with, or growing out of the Rebellion, we acknowledge with pleasure the assistance we have derived from “ Van Horne's History of the Army of the Cumberland," a work of superior merit, and one we would commend to those who desire a truthful and unbiased account of the events of which it treats. In making extracts from this, or other works, we have aimed to give each due credit, and, where this has not been done, it may be regarded as a mistake of types or pen, rather than the intention of the writers.