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This volume closes the task, entered upon by me in April, 1895, of compiling all the official papers of the Presidents. Instead of finding it the labor of a year, as I supposed it would be when I undertook it, the work has occupied me closely for more than four years.
A great portion of this time has been consumed in the preparation of the Index. The Index is mainly the work of my son, James D. Richardson, jr., who prepared it with such assistance as I could give him. He has given his entire time to it for three years. Every reference in it has been examined and compared with the text by myself. We have endeavored to make it full, accurate, and comprehensive, with numerous cross references. There will be found in this Index a large number of encyclopedic articles, which are intended, in part at least, to furnish the reader definitions of politico-historical words and phrases occurring in the papers of the Chief Magistrates, or to develop more fully questions or subjects to which only indirect reference is made or which are but briefly discussed by them. There will also be found short accounts of several hundred battles in which the armies of the United States have been engaged; also descriptions of all the States of the Union and of many foreign countries. We have striven earnestly to make these encyclopedic articles historically correct, and to this end have carefully compared them with the most eminent authorities. This feature was not within the scope of the work as contemplated when the resolution authorizing the compilation was passed, nor when the act was passed requiring the preparation of the Index; but with the approval of the Joint Committee on Printing I have inserted the articles, believing that they would be of interest. They contain facts and valuable information not always easily accessible, and it is hoped that they will serve to familiarize the young men of the country who read them with its history and its trials and make of them better citizens and more devoted lovers of our free institutions. There has