As this preface is written, journalistic enterprise is confronted with a clamoring demand for news of a war which promises to be the greatest in modern history and with an absolute embargo decreed upon publicity by nearly all the nations of Europe. Heretofore war correspondents have been able to cross frontiers and reach neutral cities and uncensored cable and telegraph stations, whence they have forwarded their despatches. London often has been a great clearing house for war news. In the Russo-Japanese war, correspondents several times rode to Chinese ports with budgets of important despatches; in the Balkan war they made their way out of the rout and welter of Turkish defeats to Roumania. But there is no place in this Continental struggle to which a correspondent may go with the hope of finding a free wire. Moreover, the movements of news men with the armies are likely to be more restricted than in any previous war and this because of the new conditions brought about by modern science. Methods of communication are so nearly instantaneous, and means of travel so swift, that governments will not permit reporters to enjoy the intimate touch with armies in the field which gave such men as William Howard Russell, Archibald Forbes and Januarius A. MacGahan the materials for their thrilling narratives. The tendency to apply the muffler has been apparent for years; Lord Roberts in South Africa tolerated only the free use of the mails; the Japanese in Manchuria “entertained” the press men elaborately but kept them a long way from the front; in the Balkan war only the correspondents with the Turks had any degree of liberty. Today the cables of Europe are controlled by the war departments of the Powers. No such rigid censorship has before been known. Upon the day on which this is written a despatch comes to my attention stating that cables for publication must pass the scrutiny of nine censors before delivery to the papers addressed.

The general result is likely to be not the suppression of the news but the delaying of it. The facts will be told sooner or later. But military strategy will restore the conditions of the early years of war correspondence, when Washington waited for weeks to learn that General Taylor had not been annihilated at Buena Vista and London read the “Crimean Letters” long after Russell had penned them. Nevertheless several American correspondents have been sent across the Atlantic, Richard Harding Davis among them, and many of the best known English correspondents are going to do what can be done at the front, among whom is Frederic Villiers, who may soon add a new chapter to his picturesque career. Upon the other hand, one American periodical will employ a “correspondent” whose desk will be in its own office and whose function will be to summarize the history of the war at long range. Personally I am of the opinion that it is of vast importance to humanity that the truth shall be told about war, and that publicity is the greatest agency for the promotion of the cause of peace; also that in time a way will be found for the competent news man to tell what he sees, his freedom being restricted perhaps for weeks at a stretch by the exigencies of the military situation.
This book contains a collection of biographical sketches of representative war correspondents. I am well aware that many men with valid claims to distinction as followers of the warpath are merely mentioned, if they are alluded to at all, and that a volume of vivid tales could be compiled from the lives of such artists and reporters as Melton Prior, H. C. Seppings Wright, Julius Mendes Price, “Crimean” Simpson, John Alexander Cameron, Lionel James, Frederick Boyle, William Beattie Kingston, and “Fred” Burnaby, to name but a few of the long list. A large amount of material remains unused in my hands. This selection has been based upon principles easy to understand: that both men of action like Bennet Burleigh and men of distinguished literary artistry like George Warrington Steevens should be included; that while treating of correspondents who “cover” the same wars for rival journals, duplication should be avoided by a judicious choice of incidents, and that the range and variety of the work of the special correspondent should be indicated by taking the reader to campaigns in all quarters of the world. Also the method of arrangement has been such that practically a history of war correspondence is contained in the volume. The citations from despatches are intended both to aid in the narration of their adventures and to indicate the quality of the prose that was written by the earlier correspondents who used the mail and the later ones who dashed for the wire. I do not claim to have discovered new facts, but I have a measure of pride in the attempt to rescue from forgetfulness the exploits of George Wilkins Kendall and the other Americans whose pioneer work for the press has never been recognized in the history of journalism.

My sources of information have been numerous. It is a pleasant duty to refer to the books and articles by the correspondents themselves from which I have gleaned most of my facts, and to such biographies as that of Russell, by John Black Atkins- I have been a diligent student of the files of the newspapers and pictorial weeklies of England and the United States. Of those who have rendered personal assistance I would thank especially Dr. Frank Horace Vizetelly, whose kindly generosity in the loan of documents and photographs is greatly appreciated; Mrs. Georgina K. Fellowes, the daughter of Major Kendall; Mr. Paul MacGahan, the son of the “Liberator of Bulgaria”; John M. LeSage, Esq., the managing editor of the Daily Telegraph; Mr. William Beer, of the Howard Memorial Library of New Orleans; Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart; General T. Dimitrieff, of Sofia, Bulgaria; the Rev. Henry E. Wing; and others who have helped me to ascertain facts difficult to verify.
I   am under obligations also to Mr. J. B. Millet for the loan of the portrait group of his brother, the late Francis D. Millet, and Mr. MacGahan; to the Century Company, for the portrait of William H. Russell; to Smith, Elder & Company, for the portrait of Edmond O’Donovan; and to Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner & Company, for that of Henry Richard Vizetelly.

F. Lauriston Bullard.
Boston, September 1, 1914.