Title Page || 1: CHAPTER I.
"Man proposes and God disposes." There are but few important
events in the affairs of men brought about by their own choice.
Although frequently urged by friends to write my memoirs I had
determined never to do so, nor to write anything for
publication. At the age of nearly sixty-two I received an
injury from a fall, which confined me closely to the house while
it did not apparently affect my general health. This made study
a pleasant pastime. Shortly after, the rascality of a business
partner developed itself by the announcement of a failure. This
was followed soon after by universal depression of all
securities, which seemed to threaten the extinction of a good
part of the income still retained, and for which I am indebted
to the kindly act of friends. At this juncture the editor of
the Century Magazine asked me to write a few articles for him. I
consented for the money it gave me; for at that moment I was
living upon borrowed money. The work I found congenial, and I
determined to continue it. The event is an important one for
me, for good or evil; I hope for the former.
In preparing these volumes for the public, I have entered upon
the task with the sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to any
one, whether on the National or Confederate side, other than the
unavoidable injustice of not making mention often where special
mention is due. There must be many errors of omission in this
work, because the subject is too large to be treated of in two
volumes in such way as to do justice to all the officers and men
engaged. There were thousands of instances, during the
rebellion, of individual, company, regimental and brigade deeds
of heroism which deserve special mention and are not here
alluded to. The troops engaged in them will have to look to the
detailed reports of their individual commanders for the full
history of those deeds.
The first volume, as well as a portion of the second, was
written before I had reason to suppose I was in a critical
condition of health. Later I was reduced almost to the point of
death, and it became impossible for me to attend to anything for
weeks. I have, however, somewhat regained my strength, and am
able, often, to devote as many hours a day as a person should
devote to such work. I would have more hope of satisfying the
expectation of the public if I could have allowed myself more
time. I have used my best efforts, with the aid of my eldest
son, F. D. Grant, assisted by his brothers, to verify from the
records every statement of fact given. The comments are my own,
and show how I saw the matters treated of whether others saw them
in the same light or not.
With these remarks I present these volumes to the public, asking
no favor but hoping they will meet the approval of the reader.
U. S. GRANT.
MOUNT MACGREGOR, NEW YORK, July 1, 1885.