To My Friend
FRED D. IRISH
WHOSE ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT AND SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS
IN DISTRIBUTING MY BOOKS
AMONG THE YOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES
HAS BEEN A CONSTANT INSPIRATION
This Work is Affectionately Dedicated
The outline and incomplete material of AN UNDIVIDED UNION were left among the papers of the late William T. Adams ("Oliver Optic"), and the same notes that were to complete the "Blue and Gray--On Land" series also closed the life-work of America's best-known writer of boys' stories.
There has been a constant demand that this unfinished concluding volume be prepared for publication, and Mr. Edward Stratemeyer, author of the remarkably popular "Old Glory" series, based upon the Spanish-American war, undertook the task of picking up the threads of the narrative and carrying it to such a conclusion as was evidently intended. He has performed the work devotedly and successfully, and sustained the harmony of the series to the end.
The publishers take this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of Mr. Adams, whose name has been inseparably connected with this house for so many years. Such was his loyalty that no manuscript for publication in bound form was ever given to any other publisher, and the present volume is the one hundred and eighth to bear the magical name of "Optic." It is gratifying to be able to record that in return for his steadfastness in remaining by the house of his choice through prosperity and adversity an actual sale of more than two million copies of Mr. Adams's books has been reached, while the present season finds them enjoying undiminished favor.
No more striking testimonial could be asked than the constant applications from men of mature life for the books that so charmed them as boys, in order that their own sons may have the same enjoyment. Or, could anything be more conclusive than that one of the most prominent men in the public life of our state still turns to his favorite "Oliver Optic" books for pleasurable relief when the cares of the day have made rest seem almost an impossibility?
Critics come and critics go, but the hold of "Oliver Optic" upon the popular mind remains unchanged. No mean-souled man could so endure. As he said himself: "I have never written a story which could excite the love, admiration, and sympathy of the reader for an evil-minded person or bad character. This has been my standard; and, however others may regard it, I still deem it a safe one." All who had any connection with the publication of Mr. Adams's works loved the man, and his visits were marked with cheerful words for each one, in whatever capacity employed, and will linger helpfully while life remains. All who knew him join in honoring the unfailing kindness and clean, true nature of this great writer and noble friend of youth.
LEE AND SHEPARD.
APRIL 1, 1899.
"AN UNDIVIDED UNION" is the sixth and last volume of the "Blue and Gray--On Land" series. Like its predecessors it relates the adventures of the Riverlawn Cavalry, a Union regiment, raised in Kentucky, and participating in the daring campaigns undertaken by the Army of the Cumberland. The fifth volume of the series left the regiment at Murfreesboro, after most gallant service performed at the battle of Stone River; in the present book is given an account of the operations around Murfreesboro, before Tullahoma, and through the bloody battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and other contests leading up to Sherman's famous March to the Sea.
As in the other stories of this series, Deck Lyon has again come to the front as a daring hero, but his achievements are closely seconded by his foster brother, Artie, and by the firm friend of the two, Captain Life Knox. If Deck does some smart things, it must be remembered that he was a smart young man or he would not have risen to be senior major, first battalion, of the Riverlawns. Besides this, the major still had with him his famous charger, Ceph, a steed with almost human intelligence on certain points, and one that had helped him to escape from many a perilous position.
In the completion of this work some thirty authorities have been consulted, including the Government Records, records of the Army of the Cumberland, and biographies of the principal generals on both sides who took part in the various operations. Thus the book has been made, from an historical standpoint, as accurate as possible. It may be that errors have crept in, but if so it is hoped that they will not be of sufficient importance to mar the general usefulness of the volume, outside of its value as a bit of fiction.