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This collection of Poetry of the Civil War, begun several years ago for the compiler's personal satisfaction, has grown in extent and interest, until its publication is thought to be justified by the demand for books relating to the war, and by the literary and historical value of the material. During the war, and soon after, various volumes appeared, containing indiscriminate collections of Northern or Southern war-songs. Viewed at this distance, most of them seem sad stuff. In that stormy period, patriotic fervor was stronger than poetic impulse, and rude doggerel was often lifted into favor by a buoyant tune. War-songs, whose popularity was due to their music rather than their words, have, with very few exceptions, been excluded from this volume. Its aim has been to present a body of the really notable poetry which the war evoked : a record of the feelings and experiences of that heroic epoch, as they were wrought into lyrical expression. Time enough has elapsed to enable the war-poems of either side to be read without resentment; and hence no piece is excluded for its political sentiments, if it has sufficient poetic merit. Some pieces containing strong passages,
which have enjoyed popular favor, are spoiled by their coarseness; while others, which were thought " thrilling" in their time, now seem little more than wild cries of rage and hate.
The two classes of poems, Northern and Southern, at first intended to be placed separately in the volume, were finally brought together, for the sufficient reasons that their interest is thus increased, and in some cases it could not be determined to which side a piece belonged; and, further, that as there is no political division between North and South, there should be no division in their literature. It is hoped that nothing in this volume will shock the political sensibilities of anyone, least of all the soldiers of the war. The compiler is able to speak authoritatively for only one soldier; but, judging by his own feelings, and by the cordial approval and ready aid the project has received from others, North and South, he believes there is little to be feared in this direction. Far from reviving sectional animosities, these echoes of a war whose memory is brightened by so many heroic deeds, in which the national mettle was so amply proved and mutual respect came to succeed bitterness and hate, should serve to unite more firmly the bonds of a common patriotism.
It is too much to expect that, with the large mass of material to select from, and the limited space of this volume, every reader will find here the poem which he seeks; or to hope that no doubtful piece has been admitted. The compiler will feel satis