Joseph A. Altsheler: Before the Dawn - A Story of the Fall of Richmond
The characters in Joseph Altsheler's "Before the Dawn" have also fallen upon "bluggy" times; but, compared with John Oxenham, Mr. Altsheler is evidently a man of peace. He has added another to the grist of Civil War stories, but he has gone a little aside from the beaten path, and has given us a story of the fall of Richmond, of the wreck of the old regime, of the death-struggle of the Confederacy.
There is no violent sectional feeling in the book, and though the heroine is a Northern woman and the hero a Virginian, even that complication rouses little bitterness. Mr. Altsheler has not pictured all Southern women fair and all Southern men chivalrous, but he has done full justice to the honor and courage that supported a lost cause, has been just to Lee, the gallant and brave, as to Grant, the grim and tenacious; and, when the two great men lock forces in the Battle of the Wilderness, one forgets the cause in the magnitude of the struggle, feels only the pity of it all, the tragedy of the sacrifice upon the Union's altar.