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From Bull Run to Appomattox   By: (1843-)

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[Illustration: LUTHER W. HOPKINS.

Taken from an old daguerreotype in 1861, before entering the army.]





Copyright, 1908 By L.W. HOPKINS Baltimore


"Life is the mirror of the king and slave, 'Tis just what you are and do. Then give to the world the best you have, And the best will come back to you."

I never thought that I should be guilty of writing a book. I did not, however, do this with malice aforethought. My son is responsible for whatever sin I may have committed in presenting this to the public. He and I have been good friends ever since we became acquainted, and he has always insisted upon my telling him all that I know. When he was about three years old he discovered that I had been a soldier in Lee's army from 1861 to 1865, and, although he is of Quaker descent and a loyal member of the Society of Friends, and I am half Quaker, yet he loved war stories and I loved to tell them. This accounts for the production of the book. After I had told him these stories over and over, again and again, when he was grown he insisted upon my starting at the beginning and giving him the whole of my experience in the Confederate army. Then he wanted it published. I yielded to his request, and here is the book. This is not, however, an exact copy of the typewritten manuscript which he has. The original manuscript is more personal. I thought the change would make it more acceptable to the general reader.

We all believe in peace; universal peace, but when war does come, and such a costly war as the one from which this story is taken, we ought to get all the good out of it we can. The long marches along dusty roads, under hot suns, the long marches through sleet and snows, the long dreary nights without shelter, the march of the picket to and fro on his beat, the constant drilling and training, the struggle on the battlefields, all these are part of the material that the world has always used in constructing a nation. While there are some things about war that we should forget, there are many things that ought never to be forgotten, but should be handed down from sire to son all through the ages that are to come.

Historians have told us much about our Civil War, but they have left out the part that appeals most to the boy, and it is this part that I have tried to bring before the public. Men may read the book if they will, but it is written more particularly for the youth. The boy of today and the boy that is yet to be ought to know of the bloody sweat through which this nation passed in reaching its present position among the great nations of the earth, and the part the boy played in it. It is said that one boy is a boy; two boys a half boy and three boys no boy at all. That may be true of the boy running loose, unbridled like a colt, but gather up these boys and train them, harness and hitch them and they will move the world or break a trace. It is the boy who decides the fate of nations. I don't know the average age of our soldiers in times of peace, but when wars come and there is a call for soldiers, it is mainly the boy in his teens who responds; yet, strange to say, the historian has never thought it worth while to put much emphasis upon what the boy does in the upbuilding of a nation.

Another thing that has been neglected by the historian is the brave and noble part the horse took in our war. The grays, the bays, the sorrels, the roans, the chestnuts, have not been forgotten in this story. Indeed, as I have already said, I have tried to bring to light that part of the story of our Civil War that has not been told.

Now, young men and boys, girls too, old men, if there are any, read this book, all of you, regardless of geographical lines, for I have tried to be fair to those who wore the blue. As the years go by, I have learned to respect and love those who fought for the Union... Continue reading book >>

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