Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CONTENTS

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

INTRODUCTION

When the thin ranks of the armies of the Southern Confederacy were at last dissolved, the survivors of the great struggle, who had marched and fought so long and so well, went back across untilled fields and to impoverished homes. Whatever perils they had faced, and whatever losses they had suffered, they had not lost their manhood, and they had not surrendered their self-respect and honor, nor anything of their faith in the right and justice of their cause. With a heroism as true and honorable as that displayed on many fields of battle, they returned to work, without capital and almost wi hout implements, some of them crippled for life, and some in broken health, but unscathed in honor and uncrippled in will. They were again to prove their manhood on more difficult fields; to feed and clothe their women and children, to rebuild their homes and to re-establish government and all the institutions of their civilization.

It was not long before these veterans began to gather in Camps, and with no other than peaceful purposes. They would cheer one another in a cordial comradeship. They would remember their fallen comrades, and bury their dead, and succor the old and dependent, and care for the widow and the orphan. There was no thought of continuing a useless and wasting strife, or of fanning the fires of sectional animosities.

Soon the pen began its useful work. Incident and story were narrated. Memories of camp and field were committed to print, the art preservative. Volume after volume was sent from the press to the library shelf, and into many homes. Materials of history were gathered. The biographies of leaders, statesmen and great soldiers, were written. The President and the Vice-President of the Confederate States gave to the world and to generations to come the great books which tell the story of the causes and purposes of the Confederacy and its appeal to arms. Histories were pub

and able report which is the first paper of the collection made in this volume. It refutes the common charge made against the South that the protection of the money value of slave property was the cause of the war which the South waged in its defence. It exposes the misrepresentations of Mr. John Fiske and other authors, and recommends that these and such like books be vigorously and universally excluded from all schools and institutions of learning in all the States of the South.

This work of defence for the South, begun with such ability by Dr. McGuire, was devolved upon Judge George L. Christian, an honored soldier of the Confederacy, a lawyer of notable ability at the Richmond bar, and a writer of clearness, courage and strength. Through seven years, from 1900 to 1907, he gave patient and faithful labor to painstaking research and most elaborate preparation of the five papers which are included in this volume. Beginning in 1900 with the right of secession as shown upon the testimony of Northern Statesmen and other authors, Judge Christian discusses in 1901 the war as conducted by the Federal and Confederate armies, again upon the testimony of Northern witnesses. In 1902 he reviews the treatment of prisoners of war, and the history of the exchange of prisoners. In 1907 he reverts to the serious question of where the responsibility rested for bringing on the sectional strife, with all its loss of life and wealth and all the unhappiness it spread over the broad land. One who went himself to battle so promptly and then suffered so much in all the years since, has had the fidelity to truth and the courage of heart to do his duty in the defence of his people and of the generations to come.

To these official reports from the History Committee of the Grand Camp of Virginia are added two papers of similar force and value from the pen of Dr. McGuire. One is the magnificent address on Stonewall Jackson, delivered at the V. M. I. in 1897, an appreciation and study of the character and career of Jackson which no one else in the world was so well fitted to make. With this also is the paper of Dr. McGuire on the Wounding and Death of Stonewall Jackson, which has preserved for all time the story of which the author was himself a part and a witness, such a narrative

as the great surgeon and friend could only himself give to the world.

The publication of these papers had a wide-spread and powerful effect. They not only caused the exclusion of certain books from our schools and colleges, and the preparation of truthful history for the use of the young. They corrected the mistaken views of many of our own people, and they went far and wide in every section of the land and to other lands. In large degree they have produced a better understanding of the great issues at stake, and have brought men of fair and large minds to recognize the fundamental justice of the cause of the South and the unselfish patriotism and lofty devotion of the men who filled the ranks, and the high character and great ability of many who led them.

As the large editions of these papers have been exhausted and their importance has been yet more widely recognized, the demand has risen for their collection and republication in the present volume. The book now before you is not merely for preservation on library shelves, but that being read, the children and youths of all the country may know that their sires and grandsires have left them examples of unselfish devotion to a righteous cause and a heritage of imperishable honor.

JAMES POWER SMITH.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »