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For more than three years I have followed the flag of our country in the East and in the West and in the South,—on the ocean, on the land, and on the great rivers. A year ago I gave in a volume entitled "My Days and Nights on the Battle-Field" a description of the Battle of Bull Run, and other battles in Kentucky, Tennessee, and on the Mississippi.
It has been my privilege to witness nearly all the great battles fought by the Army of the Potomac,—Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, the North Anna, Coal Harbor and at Petersburg. Letters have been received from those who are strangers to me as well as from friends, expressing a desire that I should give a connected account, not only of the operations of that army, from its organization, but of other armies; also of the glorious achievements of the navy in this great struggle of our country for national existence. The present volume, therefore, will be the second of the contemplated series.
During the late campaign in Virginia, many facts and incidents were obtained which give an insight into the operations of the armies of the South, not before known. Time will undoubtedly reveal other important facts, which will be made use of in the future. It will be my endeavor to sift from the immense amount of material already accumulated a concise and trustworthy account, that we may know how our patriot brothers have fought to save the country and to secure to all who may live after them the blessings of a free government.
ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
The battle of Bull Run, or of Manassas, as the Rebels call it, which was fought on the 21st of July, 1861, was the first great battle of the war. It was disastrous to the Union army. But the people of the North were not disheartened by it. Their pride was mortified, for they had confidently expected a victory, and had not taken into consideration the possibility of a defeat. The victory was all but won, as has been narrated in "My Days and Nights on the Battle-Field," when the arrival of a brigade of Rebels and the great mistake of Captain Barry, who supposed them to be Union troops, turned the scale, and the battle was lost to the Union army.
But the people of the North, who loved the Union, could not think of giving up the contest,—of having the country divided, and the old flag trailed in the dust. They felt that it would be impossible to live peaceably side by side with those who declared themselves superior to the laboring men of the Free States, and were their rightful masters. They were not willing to acknowledge that the slaveholders were their masters. They felt that there could not be friendship and amity between themselves and a nation which had declared that slavery was its cornerstone. Besides all this, the slaveholders wanted Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri in the Southern Confederacy, while the majority of the people of those States wanted to stay in the Union. The Rebels professed that they were willing that each State should choose for itself, but they were insincere and treacherous in their professions. Kentucky would not join the Confederacy; therefore they invaded the State to compel the people to forsake the old flag.
CONTENTS
Organization of the Army of the Potomac
Ball's Bluff
Battle of Dranesville, and the Winter of 1862
Siege of Yorktown
Battle of Williamsburg
On the Chickahominy
Affair at Hanover Court-House
Fair Oaks
Seven Days of Fighting
Battle of Mechanicsville
Battle of Gaines's Mills
Movement to James River
Battle of Savage Station
Battle of Glendale
Battle of Malvern
Affairs in front of Washington
Battle of Cedar Mountain
Battle of Groveton
The Retreat to Washington
Invasion of Maryland
Barbara Frietchie
Battle of South Mountain
Surrender of Harper's Ferry
Battle of Antietam
Hooker's Attack
Sumner's Attack
The Attack upon the Center
Richardson's Attack
General Franklin's Arrival
Burnside's Attack
After the Battle
The March from Harper's Ferry to Warrenton

Following the Flag:( American Civil War )From August 1861 to November 1862 by Charles Carleton Coffin

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