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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