This book begins:
I, James Frisby of Fairlee, in the county of Kent, on the eastern shore of what was known in my youth as the fair Province of Maryland, but now the proud State of that name, growing old in years, but hearty and hale withal, though the blood courses not through my veins as in the days of my youth, sit on the great porch of Fairlee watching the sails on the distant bay, where its gleaming waters meet the mouth of the creek that runs at the foot of Fairlee. A julep there is on the table beside me, flavoured with mint gathered by the hands of John Cotton early in the morning, while the dew was still upon it, from the finest bank in all Kent County.
So with these old friends around me, with the julep on my right hand and the paper before me, I sit on the great porch of Fairlee to write of the wild days of my youth, when I first drew my sword in the Great Cause. To write, before my hand becomes feeble and my eyes grow dim, of the strange things that I saw and the adventures that befell me, of the old Tory of the Braes, of the fair maid his daughter, and of the part they played in my life during the War of the Deliverance. To write so that those who come after me, as well as those who are growing up around my knees, may know the part their grandfather played in the stirring times that proclaimed the birth of a mighty nation.
The first year of the great struggle, ah, me! I was young then, and the wild blood was in my veins.