Even in the homeland of my Southern ancestors, there is now general agreement that the North won the War between the States. But that universal acceptance of what had long been regarded in many quarters as a debatable issue, is a comparatively recent development. Its realization required the ministrations of Time. And, although the identity of the victor is now generally recognized, it does not follow that all issues of fact concerning the great conflict have been resolved. Disinterested research workers are still seeking reliable data on certain operations of the conflict. Much of it never will be found.
Nor is such a result one which should cause surprise. War is a dynamic affair. Men see situations, and move promptly to meet them. As often as not, the factors governing a field commander’s decision are recorded only in the minds of those who participated in the formulation of his plans. Frequently, the order which sets in motion impressive forces is a verbal one or, in the case of naval war, a flag hoist whose sole durable record is in the signal logs of a couple of ships which may later be sunk, taking their signal logs with them.