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the military authorities or agents of exchange concerning the treatment or exchange of prisoners and kindred subjects.

(2) No paper that is not clearly a record of the Union or Confederate Army, and no record kept by, or pertaining to the operations of, any Department other than the War Department will be included.

(3) Nothing that has been printed, or should be printed, in any other series of the publication will be duplicated, provided that the duplication can be avoided with a saying of space, by the use of notes in brackets, or foot-notes, showing where the matter in question can be found.

(4) Nothing relative to any individual will be included, unless he be a very distinguished one, or unless his case is intimately connected with some important subject of general historical interest.

correspondence relative to a subject that can be fully, clearly, and fairly explained by printing official reports, orders, or statements will be included. This restriction is intended to apply to correspondence that becomes historically valueless by reason of the publication of other documents.

(6) Nothing that is unimportant, or that has little or no historical value, will be included. To publish everything in the files of the Department that has any

historical value, however slight, would involve the publication, among other things, of the military histories of every officer and enlisted man who took part in the war, and would fill many hundreds of volumes. It is evident that Congress never intended to give the work any such scope as that, but that it did intend to restrict it to the publication of records that are of general historical value and interest.

(7) No voluminous document that has been printed and distributed by the United States, and can be conveniently described and referred to in a printed note, will be included.

Should any question arise as to the advisability of excluding from the publication, under the operation of the foregoing rules, any class of records or any particular document that may be considered to be historically valuable, the question will be submitted by the officer in charge of the War Records Office to the Secretary of War for decision.

On December 1, 1898, the Board of Publication was dissolved in accordance with a requirement in the appropriation act of July 1, 1898 (30 Stat. L., 636), relating to the War Records Office, and thereafter the publication was conducted under the direction of General Ainsworth until the entire work was finished.

On December 6, 1898, Secretary Alger transmitted to both the Senate and the House of Representatives the following communication:

The last volumes of the second series of the Records of the Union and Confederate Armies are now in the hands of the printer. This series consists of correpondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Union and Confederate military authorities relative to prisoners of war and to State or political prisoners under military control. The series, as prepared for publication, consists of eight volumes, which contain all the official documents, pertinent to the series, that the compilers have been able to obtain and that are believed to be of any historical value or of sufficient general interest to justify their publication.

Among the documents included in this series are-reports, correspondence, orders, and other papers relating to Henry Wirz, John H. Gee, and J. W. Duncan, Confederate officers who were tried by military commissions, after the cessation of hostilities, upon charges of cruelty to Union prisoners during the war. The papers selected

for publication give a full history of each case, including the documentary evidence used at the trials so far as original and authentic record of that evidence has been found, together with the court-martial orders publishing the charges, specifications, findings, sentences, and action of reviewing authorities. But the daily record of the proceedings of these commissions, including the testimony of witnesses, has not been selected for publication because this matter, which is exceedingly volumiinous, has not been thought to have sufficient historical value or to be of sufficient interest at the present time to justify its publication. The record of the most important of these trials, that of Henry Wirz, including a verbatim report of the testimony that was considered to be most important and a summary of that which was thought to be less so, has already been published in Executive Document No. 23, House of Representatives, Fortieth Congress, second session, so that there seems to be no good reason for republishing it. Gee was acquitted by the commission that tried him, and this disposition of his case deprived it of much of the interest it might otherwise have had. Duncan was acquitted of the charge of murder, but was convicted on minor charges and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. He is reported to have made his escape after about a year's confinement.

For the reasons indicated above I have not felt justified in directing that the record of the daily proceedings at the trials of Wirz, Gee, and Duncan should be published as a part of the Rebellion Records, but as the matter is one concerning which there may be some difference of opinion, it seems to me to be proper that the subject should be submitted to Congress for decision, and I accordingly do so.

If the record of the trials of these men should be published in extenso as a part of the Rebellion Records it will require the publication of three volumes of about 1,000 pages each, and will cost not less than $25,000. If this publication should be decided upon an appropriation of that amount should be made for the purpose and to prevent a corresponding deficiency, which will otherwise ensue, in the appropriation for the War Records Office for the current fiscal year.

In the Senate the letter was referred, on December 7, to the Committee on Appropriations. In the House, on December 8, it was referred to the Committee on Printing. Neither branch of Congress took any further action in the matter and, consequently, the documents in question were not included in the work.

On July 1, 1899, by operation of law (act of February 24, 1899, 30 Stat. L., 871), the War Records Office was merged into the Record and Pension Office, in charge of General Ainsworth, and became a division of that office, designated the “Publication Branch,” in immediate charge of Mr. Kirkley as chief of division.

Voluminous as is the completed publication, comprising 128 books and a copious atlas, it nevertheless fails to convey an adequate conception of the magnitude of the labor involved in its compilation and preparation. The majority of the papers printed exist in duplicate, if not in triplicate-originals sent and copies retained-all of which it was necessary to examine with great care in order to guard against omission and to ascertain the authenticity of documents selected for publication. The published papers form but a small fraction of the myriads that were rejected as immaterial, of no historical interest, or otherwise not within the scope of the work, but all of which required careful consideration to determine their ineligibility. The papers examined




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were well-nigh beyond computation, being counted not by documents or boxes, but by tons, roomfuls or the contents of buildings. The volunteer records of discontinued commands (being the books and papers turned in by volunteer officers when mustered out) filled a large four-story warehouse; the Confederate records alone crowded an entire three-story building; the papers to be examined in the AdjutantGeneral's Office occupied a third of the old War Department building; military telegrams were almost countless, a single collection of Union dispatches alone containing over 2,000,000; all these, as well as the files of the Secretary's office and the various bureaus of the War Department, had to be carefully read and considered, paper by paper, and, if deemed proper for publication, copied and compared. In addition, thousands of individual contributions of original documents of the war period were received from time to time from officers and others throughout the country, either as loans or as donations to the Government; in many instances the collections thus donated or loaned were of formidable dimensions. In all such cases thorough examination and consideration were required to prevent duplication of matter and to establish not only the accuracy of copies but the authenticity of original documents. Missing links had to be traced by exhaustive correspondence and other research to secure completeness of the work ás each volume appeared.

During the progress of the work the Department has received many communications inviting attention to supposed errors or discrepancies in the published records. In some cases the alleged errors were manifestly those of the compiler, copyist, proof reader or printer, and all these have been corrected so far as they have been discovered by the Department or brought to its attention. But in nearly every case it has been found that the errors, if errors they are, that have been discovered in the published records, exist in the original papers themselves, and these the Department has refrained from changing or correcting in any way. The papers have been published as the existed during the war, all errors and discrepancies included, in order

, that the reader may have before him the exact data upon which the participants in the war based their action.

A uniform style of composition has been adopted, and this has necessitated certain unimportant departures from the original records in such minor items as those of spelling, punctuation, abbreviation and capitalization, but these changes are merely typographical. As a general rule numbers under 100 have been spelled, and all above ninety-nine have been printed in figures, an exception to the rule being that in statistical matter, such as that relating to strength of commands, captures, and losses, the numbers have been printed in figures. Signatures have been printed as written, save that in cases of obscurity arising from incompleteness of names sufficient of the lacking names has been supplied in brackets to identify the signers. Headings have been reduced to a standard, and some missing parts of headings have been supplied by bracketed insertions. Paragraphing has not been strictly followed as in the original documents, short paragraphs having been consolidated, wherever practicable, to economize space. “Burgh” has been uniformly printed “burg,” “ boro” has been

» printed “borough,” and other similar typographical rules for uniformity of spelling have been followed, but the greatest caution has been invariably observed to guard against any change in the language or meaning of the documents.

It will thus be seen that any error (other than typographical) that may have been made by an officer in an original official communication will appear in the printed record. The Department has declined to permit corrections of these errors, as such a course would open up endless controversies and uselessly prolong the period of publication. Therefore, not assuming to decide or express an opinion upon the correctness of statements made or matter contained in the several volumes, the Department has striven to present the papers as they were actually written and acted upon officially, leaving to the student and historian the task of investigating controversies and deciding disputes.

Many interesting papers that have come to the attention of the Department have been reluctantly rejected from the publication because of the impossibility of establishing the authenticity of the papers beyond a reasonable doubt. Extreme care has been taken in this respect, and if the publication be in any way incomplete by reason of the withholding of documents whose authenticity could not be clearly established the standard of accuracy of the work is the higher because of such action.

The printing of the work for distribution was begun under the act approved June 16, 1880 (21 Stat. L., 269), which provided “for the printing and binding, under direction of the Secretary of War, of 10,000 copies of a compilation of the Official Records, Union and Confederate, of the war of the rebellion, so far as the same may be ready for publication during the fiscal year,” and that “of said number 7,000 copies shall be for the use of the House of Representatives, 2,000 copies for the use of the Senate, and 1,000 copies for the use of the Executive Departments.” Under this act the Department proceeded to publish the first five volumes, which, with the exception of the 1,000 copies allotted to the use of the Executive Departments and distributed by the Secretary of War, and those sold by the Public Printer, were distributed by the Senators, Representatives and Delegates in the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Congresses through the folding rooms of the Senate and House of Representatives. All sub)sequent volumes of the regular edition were distributed by the

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