The series of letters printed in these volummes, individual in themselves, make an almost unique combination. The time of writing, the crisis through which not only the nation but republican institutions were passing, the inheritance and position of the writers, and the personal characteristics of each as show in the letters and as developed in later days, unite to give interest to the subjects treated and the manner of presentation. They are family letters, written in all the freedom of family intercourse, selected from what would fill many volumes; they are much more than family letters, for the description of social conditions, the discussion of public questions, and the wide relations held by the writers, make them a contribution to the social, military and diplomatic history of the War of Secession, unequalled in scope and concentrated interest. . . .
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