This book has a curious pedigree. During the U.S. Grant administration, the Secretary of War instructed the Corps of Clerks to compile a thorough and complete catalogue of all the engagements of the late American Civil War—irrespective of their magnitude. The work was duly completed, published in small edition and a copy was presented by the Adjutant-General to the Secretary of War who, upon receiving it, promptly checked its pages for a minor incident in which he had been involved only to discover that it was notably absent! It was from this rather embarrassing foundation that this book (oddly titled in its original edition ‘When and Where We Met Each Other on Shore or Afloat’ ) was conceived and, after much research, published. The task was a daunting one and the book occupied its author, Theodore D. Strickler, for over a decade as he examined official and other reliably authentic sources. Of course, all the well known battles are recorded here, but also included are the hundreds of minor affairs including scouting parties, skirmishes and raids. Strickler had the advantage of living witnesses to authenticate his findings and at the time of its original publication the book claimed to be the most complete compilation of its kind. The principal body of the text is in list form and the Leonaur edition has faithfully reproduced this in its original form for the sake of authenticity. All other text—which includes a piece on unit insignia—has been newly typeset. By virtue of its extreme thoroughness this book will be invaluable to all serious students of the American Civil War.
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The publisher of this book has been creditably informed that during General Grant’s administration, the Secretary of War detailed a corps of clerks to compile a list of battles, engagements, combats, and skirmishes of the Civil War. After the expenditure of thousands of dollars in its compilation, ten copies were printed for use in the various bureaus of the War Department.<br>
The adjutant-general, taking one of these copies, said, “Mr. Secretary, here is the book. What do you think of it?”<br>
After a careful examination he commended the neat appearance, the quality of paper, and excellent execution displayed. “Now, General, I am going to see if your book is complete.” After a little searching, he said, “Your book is not complete.”<br>
The adjutant-general answered with surprise, “Why so?”<br>
The secretary replied, “I do not find any mention of a little affair in which I was interested. Let me tell you. At the breaking out of the war I had the honour to command a small body of troops, and one night, while in camp near the State line, a coloured man reported that the enemy had a recruiting station at or near Athens, Missouri. I marched my men nearly all night with the coloured man as a guide, and toward morning we surprised, attacked, and cleaned out their camp, having a few of my men wounded. Your book does not mention it.”<br>
To the question, “Did you report this to the department?” the secretary answered, “No. I was a lawyer at the time, and did not know that such small affairs had to be reported.”<br>
“Well! your failure to do your duty as the commander of those troops is the only excuse that we have for not having it in our book. This is the first time I ever heard of it.”<br>
The compiler of this book was fortunate enough to have one of the few copies of the book referred to, and, with this for a nucleus, has been for more than ten years adding to it from authentic as well as additional official sources.<br>
Many histories of the war have been published, and special attention is given to the story of the great battles, Shiloh, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stone’s River, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Charleston, Fort Fisher, and Mobile, and then call it a history of the war.<br>
The hundreds of so-called minor affairs, the hurried scout by day and night into the enemy’s territory, the sharp skirmish where the regiment suffered severely, while perhaps the same regiment held its place in some of the great battles without loss, the dangerous raids on lines of communication, these are the things lacking in many publications.<br>
The departments recognise only data received through official channels. In this book facts are given, whether official or not, and we submit it unhesitatingly as the most complete compilation in existence to the “Boys Who Were There.”<br>
This book is dedicated to every man, woman, or child who suffered that the Union might be preserved, and that “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, might not perish from the earth.”