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CONTENTS

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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

lished of the current of events as the war clouds gathered and then as the armies marched and joined in the shock of battle.

The Southern Historical Society in 1876 began its invaluable series of annual publications. The first volume was opened with the strong paper of the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, Senator and Statesman; thorough, calm, vindicating the righteousness of the Southern cause; and it was followed by the no less convincing paper of Commodore Mathew Fontaine Maury, scholar, scientist and Christian gentleman. To these were added the vigorous demonstrations made in the books of Albert Taylor Bledsoe, and Robert L. Dabney and J. L. M. Curry, and others.

Valuable as was this accumulating literature, confident as the people of the Southland felt that in the tribunal of history in all coming years the cause, to which like their forefathers they gave their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, could not fail of an assured and enduring justification; there emerged as the years went by a condition and a necessity which had not been anticipated. With utmost difficulty the schools of the South had been re-established, and seminaries and colleges had been re-opened, in the faithful effort to preserve the intelligence and character of the generation of sons and daughters rising up through the land. It was discovered with a shock of pain and indignation that the great body of the youth of the land were being fed with a literature created by alien authors. Histories, biographies, readers, issued by publishers whose one purpose was to secure the great market now opening in every school district far and wide over the South, were found to be replete with error and misrepresentation. Consciously or unconsciously, the aims of the people of the South, and of their State governments were falsified, and the characters of great and good men were belittled and defamed. The poison of unjust accusation was carried to the minds of all the children of the Southland, and already a generation was growing up with conceptions of the motives of their fathers, and the causes of the war between the sections which were not only mistaken, but altogether dishonorable. The youth of the whole South were being stealthily robbed of an heritage glorious in itself and elevating and ennobling

to themselves and all who came after them. It was a condition and a process which could not be consented to for a moment. There was no surrender at Appomattox, and no withdrawal from the field which committed our people and their children to a heritage of shame and dishonor. No cowardice on any battlefield could be as base and shameful as the silent acquiescence in the scheme which was teaching the children in their homes and schools that the commercial value of slavery was the cause of the war, that prisoners of war held in the South were starved and treated with a barbarous inhumanity, that Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were traitors to their country and false to their oaths, that the young men who left everything to resist invasion, and climbed the slopes of Gettysburg and died willingly on a hundred fields were rebels against a righteous government.

The State Camp of Virginia of Confederate Veterans rose promptly and vigorously to resist another invasion, which would have turned the children against their fathers, covered the graves of patriots and heroes with shame and made the memory of the Confederacy and its sacrifices and struggles a disgrace in all coming history. The camps throughout the South had a new task given them. They were to meet the threatening evil at the door of every school house in the land. All that was, or is now, desired is that error and injustice be excluded from the text-books of the schools and from the literature brought into our homes; that the truth be told, without exaggeration and without omission; truth for its own sake and for the sake of honest history, and that the generations to come after us be not left to bear the burden of shame and dishonor unrighteously laid upon the name of their noble sires.

It was in 1898 that the State Camp of Virginia made Dr. Hunter McGuire the Chairman of its History Committee. Himself a Confederate Veteran, the friend of Jackson and intimately acquainted with General Lee and other leaders high in office and distinguished in service, surgeon, professor and author, he was eminently qualified for the work assigned him. With others he examined thoroughly the histories introduced into the schools, and in 1899 he gave to the Commonwealth and the South the thorough

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