When one writes a book, a preface is in order. Mine shall be by way of explanation. The only apology I have to offer for writing this little personal pronoun "I" story is the very simple one that it is true. It has been said that "we never talk so well as when talking of ourselves." Be that as it may, in telling my own story, I can tell it only in the first person. It is a story that is very dear to me, probably much more so than it will ever be to any one else. In writing it I have lived it all over, and it has been so real to me that I have seemed to be again within hospital walls, peopled by those whom I have called up from the shadows of the past. In fancy, my mother, whose name is interwoven as a golden thread throughout the fabric of the story, has been with me, and I have almost felt the "touch of a vanished hand" and heard the "sound of a voice that is still." Page after page has been written beneath her picture on the wall, and as I have lifted my tear-blinded eyes with yearning gaze to her sweet face, the brown eyes have looked lovingly down upon me as though smiling approval upon my work. Oh, that I had undertaken it while she was yet with me!
It may be questioned that I have written from memory--or it may be a matter of surprise that I have remembered so well. While my mother lived this period in our lives was often talked of and its memory kept green. My father, being ill in the second story of the hospital, knew little or nothing of the experiences I underwent at Corinth, but was more familiar with what took place at Jackson. Five or six letters written by my mother to friends in the North have been carefully preserved. They were mostly hurriedly written and contain only brief allusions to our doings, but from them I have gathered dates and hours of arrival and departure, and by them my memory has been refreshed on several points. But for the most part I have been entirely dependent upon my own memory. I have written only of scenes and events that I remember best. Many of them are as clear to me as the happenings of yesterday, while some half-faded memories have struggled vainly for utterence and have necessarily been forever consigned to oblivion. There is a possibility that I may be mistaken in a few of my statements, but it must be remembered that it is a long and dusty bridge over which I have traveled to reach and gather them up.
As this is not a story of fiction, I have given the names of all that I remember who were in any way connected with it, in the hope that there are yet some of the number living who will read my little narrative and recognize their own part in it. Should such be the case, my joy at hearing from any or all of them could not be expressed. I have written, that there might be a record of the facts, that my sister and brothers might become familiar with them, and because I love to dwell upon the incidents of my "army life," as I sometimes term it. Lastly, I have written that it might be as a memorial to my brave, courageous mother, who, with her own hands, ministered so tenderly to the sick and wounded with whom she was brought in close contact. Whether this ever reaches the public eye is a question. Should it be so fortunate, I ask the public to read with kindly criticism, remembering that it is the story of the child told in the language of the adult.
|Publisher:||Bronson Tweed Publishing|
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