Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 03/February/Editorial Paragraphs
|←Dahlgren's Ride into Fredericksburg||Southern Historical Society Papers: Volume 3 (1877)
The Kind Notices of the Press have several times elicited our thanks, but we have not thought proper to publish in our Papers any of the commendations of our editorial brethren. We will, however, venture to give our readers the following from the pen of our gallant friend, Captain J. Hampden Chamberlayne, the editor of the Richmond State:
We have several times had occasion to commend the work of this Society and the usefulness of its publications. The issue of the Papers for the month just passed is one of unusual variety, and is, as all its predecessors, of a positive value to the historian and to all interested in reaching the truth of our recent war between the States.
Particularly welcome are the reports of General Maury of the operations of his department—headquarters at Mobile—and of General R. L. Page touching the defence of Fort Morgan. These papers are published for the first time, and fill an important gap in the story of the military life of the Confederacy. Captain Park's diary continues its minute and lifelike descriptions, and Mr. McCarthy's "Soldier Life" is, as all his sketches, faithful and sparkling. The papers on the Fort Gregg defence help to throw light on affairs hitherto known but vaguely, and the memorial address on General Lee, confining itself for the most part to mere outline, yet attempts to set forth clearly the salient points of character and achievement exhibited by our great commander.
This issue is, we repeat, of positive value as well as not a little of attractiveness in the various styles of its different essays and reports.
The Society, indeed, has in a very short time taken honorable rank in its class, and by the persistent labors, energy, accuracy and knowledge of the Secretary it has not only acquired for its publications a large and self-sustaining circulation, but accumulated a great mass of historical material of high value to the country and to the truth of history. Establishing close relations with other societies having analogous ends in view, a system of exchange has been adopted which is already of great use, and promises constantly increasing results. Contented with small beginnings and hard work, the Secretary and the Society have wisely avoided all attempts at show, and make good use of the poor quarters, which is all that has yet been bestowed by way of encouragement to its work. It is much to be hoped that no long time will go by before the valuable material accumulated by its labor will find better means and place of preservation, and the officers be more worthily furnished with facilities for their duties. The publications, however, by which the Society is chiefly known, though they form as yet but a small part of what it has done, are worthy of unstinted praise. Giving a due attention to a variety of subjects, and letting slip no opportunity of sifting out of conflicting statements the very truth, they already serve, when bound, to furnish a veritable mine of facts, records, anecdotes, and memorabilia in general which bear upon the history of the Confederacy, both as a civil organization and as an armed camp. Fortunate, too, in the printer selected, these Southern Historical Society Papers are admirably prepared (at the printing house of George W. Gary), and lack nothing of neatness and even elegance in material and typography.
Guided by patriotic enthusiasm, and conducted, down to the details of its work, with minute and painstaking care, it is not strange that the Society and its monthly Papers grow fast as well as deservedly in the appreciation of the public.
"General Lee," A New Work By Marshall, The Engraver.— We have received from the publisher, Oscar Marshall, 697 Broadway, New York, a copy of this superb picture. While we do not think the photograph from which the engraving is made quite equal to another one of the thirty-two in our possession, we regard the engraving as a very admirable one in every respect, and are so anxious to see it widely circulated that we cheerfully give place to the following notice sent us by a competent and appreciative art critic:
Virginia, if she cannot claim to be the mother of many artists, has more than once benefited art by furnishing the subject, the hero, and the inspiration. Thus Washington, the noblest of Virginians, inspired Stuart with that slight but matchless sketch in the Boston Athenæum, which is undoubtedly the most celebrated American picture in existence. Henry, another Virginian, is the subject of that historical painting "Patrick Henry in the House of Burgesses," which is perhaps the masterpiece of Rothermel. And now the chief American engraver, William Edgar Marshall, who has already, by a stroke or a few strokes of genius, scattered Stuart's masterpiece across the country in an incomparable line engraving, has issued another print, likewise of very uncommon power, representing that man who of all contemporary Americans has perhaps the greatest number of admirers both in the North and the South, General Robert E. Lee.
This new work is very ambitious in size, grasp and treatment. It is a bust-portrait, the head being somewhat larger than life, and the chest being represented below the shoulders. Although the scale is so large, there is none of his works in which this master of pure line has shown more care and intelligence in representing, by well chosen strokes, the richness arid transparency of complexion, the variety of textures, the filmy lightness of hair and beard, the fullness of stuffs, arid the general sense of enveloping air, all of which combine to give quality to a portrait.
The face, turned somewhat to the spectator's right, represents Lee in the hale strength of middle age, with the eagle force of the eyes slightly veiled by the influence of time and experience. As in the record of his life the vicissitudes of history only taught this grand man a calm and equable dignity, so in the portrait it is the endurance, fortitude and unconquerable nobility of character which are made emphatic. The active and aggressive traits are held in check by a sense of superior wisdom. If ever the expression of a modern face deserved to be called Olympian, it is the countenance delineated in this remarkable print. Seldom has an engraver given such liquid depth to a large, grand eye. It looks out straight to the horizon, with a comprehensive glance of ineffable manliness, repose, and natural command. It shows the courage to act, and also the courage to bear and to wait.
The fine, waving, grizzled hair and beard, which gave to Lee the soldierly comeliness of some noble old moustache of the Peninsula, are treated by Mr. Marshall with a felicity that only his long experience with the burin could inspire. The light waved lines express, at the proper distance, the exact character of dry, soft, silky, aged hair, which lifts easily on every breeze, and always allows the conformation of the cranium and the muscular anatomy of the face to be distinctly divined. The grand and thought-worn forehead, the firm mouth, and the general monumental and strong character of the face are well understood and rendered. Few heroes have had so pure and heroic a type of face. The engraver understands his work so well as to leave on the beholder's mind an impression of magnificent manhood, of vast resources of energy, and finally of self-communing, self-respecting calm.
The dress indicated is the old working uniform of warlike days—the suit [missing text] three small stars on the collar, the waistcoat carelessly opened, and the white shirt stiffly tied at the neck with black. Although this uniform, however, indicates a definite historical period, we cannot help seeing in the air of the majestic face something which that particular uniform never accompanied—the accomplished work of life, the chastening and visionary sadness of a Lost Cause, the grandeur of self-repression. By this happy inconsistency, this ben trovato anachronism, we conceive the engraver to wish to include the whole record of a great career, and to combine at once the characteristics of the time of effort and the time of retrospection. The technical quality of this head is throughout peculiarly good: seldom has pure line given as good a suggestion of the painter's carnation and gray and silver and warm shadows. Every plane of the modeling, every variation of tint in a rich blood-chased complexion is keenly followed by the change of line, and subtly interpreted to the eye. The mere technical inventiveness of this large print is a lesson to the line-engraver.
"Wade Hampton, Governor of South Carolina," is now a grand historic figure whom the world admires. Lieutenant-General Wade Hampton of the old Cavalry Corps, Army Northern Virginia, won the admiration of all who love chivalric skill and daring. But the bold yet cautious and prudent campaign which has rescued his native State from "carpet-bag" rule and plunder, and made "Wade Hampton Governor of South Carolina," the idol of his people, and the admiration of the world, has shown him possessed of even nobler traits of mind and heart than he ever displayed on the field of battle, and has made the world more anxious than ever to see the lineaments of his classic face.
We are greatly indebted to Walker, Evans & Cogswell, of Charleston, S. C., for a superb engraving of this grand man. The likeness is a very admirable one, the execution is fine, and the picture one which we would be glad to see extensively hung in the homes of our people, that our children may study the features of this noble specimen of the soldier, patriot and statesman.
A Roster of General Ed. Johnson's Division, Ewell's corps, had been prepared along with the other "copy" of the Army Northern Virginia Roster, and was left out by one of those strange mishaps which will sometimes occur in the best regulated offices. It will appear at the end of the entire Roster.
The Confederate Roster is nearly complete, and has excited considerable interest and attention. That some errors should have crept into it, and some omissions have occurred, is not to be wondered at. Indeed, no one can have any tolerable conception of the immense amount of labor it has cost to dig out a Roster from the imperfect records to be had, without admiring the patient research which our friend, Colonel Jones, has shown, and wondering that his work contains so few errors or omissions.
After the publication of the Roster in its present form is completed, it is designed to thoroughly revise and correct it, make such additions to it as may be necessary, and then publish it in separate book form. Meantime the author is exceedingly anxious to make it as accurate and complete as possible, and we would esteem it a favor if any one detecting errors or omissions would write us the necessary corrections.
Renew! Renew! Renew! is now the watchword at this office. If any of our subscribers fail to receive this number of our Papers, and should chance to see this paragraph in the copy of some more fortunate neighbor, let them know that the trouble probably is that they have failed to pay their subscription for 1877. We dislike very much to part company with any of our subscribers, but we must adhere to our terms, which are cash in advance.
Agents are Wanted to canvass every city, town, village and community for our Papers, and to a reliable, efficient agent we can pay liberal commissions.
But our agents must make us frequent reports and prompt remittances. Subscribers are entitled to receive their Papers just as soon as they pay for them, and we cannot, of course, send them until the agent reports the names to us.
Contributions to Our Archives continue to come in, and our collection grows more and more valuable every day. Among others received we acknowledge now the following:
From Mr. Yates Snowden, of Charleston, S. C.: "The Land We Love" for 1868, and two numbers for 1869; a number of war newspapers for '61, '62, '63 and '64; a number of valuable Confederate pamphlets.
From A. Barron Holmes, Esq., of Charleston, S. C.: Caldwell's "History of Gregg's (McGowan's) South Carolina Brigade"; Holmes' "Phosphate Rocks of South Carolina"; Report of the Committee on the Destruction of Churches in the Diocese of South Carolina during the late War, presented to the Protestant Episcopal Convention, May, 1868. (This report shows that in the diocese of South Carolina the enemy burned ten churches and tore down three; that eleven parsonages were burned; that every church between the Savannah river and Charleston was injured, some stripped even of weatherboarding and flooring; that almost every minister in that region of the State lost home and library; that almost every church lost its communion plate—often a massive and venerable set, the donation of an English or Colonial ancestor,—and that clergy and parishioners alike had been so robbed and despoiled that they were reduced to absolute want.) "The Record of Fort Infantry of Charleston, June 16th, 1870; "South Carolina in Arms, Arts, and the Industries," by John Peyre Thomas, Superintendent of Carolina Military Institute; Map of the Siege of Vicksburg; Map of the Seat of War in Mississippi; "Marginalia, or Gleanings from an Army Note Book," by Personne, army correspondent, &c., Columbia, S. C., 1864; "The Burning of Columbia, S. C.," by Dr. D. H. Trezevant.during the Administration of Governor Pickens," compiled by W. A. Harris; address of Major Theo. G. Barker at the anniversary of the Washington Artillery Club, February 22d, 1876; Reinterment of the South Carolina Dead from Gettysburg, address of Rev. Dr. Girardeau, odes, &c.; Oration of General Wade Hampton, and poem of Rev. Dr. E. T. Winkler, at the unveiling of the monument of the Washington Light
From J. F. Mayer, Richmond: Messages of President Davis for January 18th, February 5th, February 13th and February 14th, 1864. Mr. Mayer is an industrious collector of Confederate material, and places us under frequent obligations for rare and valuable documents.
From General Carter L. Stevenson, Fredericksburg, Va: A box of his headquarter papers, which consist of such valuable material as the following: Report of Lieutenant-General S. D. Lee of the operations of his corps from the time he succeeded General Hood in the command to the arrival of the army at Palmetto Station; General Lee's report of Hood's Tennessee Campaign; General Stevenson's report of the same campaign; General Stevenson's report of the operations of his division from the beginning of the Dalton-Atlanta campaign up to May 30th, 1864; General Stevenson's report of engagement on Powder Springs road, June 22d, 1864; Reports of General Stevenson, General Brown, General J. R. Jackson, General E. C. Walthal, General E. W. Pettus, and a number of regimental and battery commanders of the Battle of Lookout Mountain.
A large number of general field orders, field letters, field notes, returns, inspection reports, &c., &c., which are invaluable material for a history of Stevenson's division, and indeed of the whole army with which this gallant and accomplished officer was connected.
(We are exceedingly anxious to collect a full set of papers bearing on the operations of our Western armies, and regard this contribution of General Stevenson as a most valuable addition to the large amount of such material which we already had in our archives.)
From the Department of State, Washington: Foreign relations of the United States, 1876.
From General Eaton, Commissioner of Education: Report of education bureau for 1875. Special Report on Libraries in the United States.
From Major R. F. Walker, Superintendent Public Printing, Va.: Annual reports for 1875-76.
From Dr. W. H. Ruffner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Va.: School report for 1876.
From Historical Society of Montana: "Contributions," Vol. I, 1876.
From Major H. B. McClellan, of Lexington, Kentucky (in addition to contributions acknowledged in our last): Two letters of instructions from General R. E. Lee to General Stuart—one dated August 19, 1862, and the other August 19, 1862, 4¾ P. M.; General Lee's order of battle on the Rapidan, August 19, 1862; General Stuart's report of October 24, 1862, giving roster of his cavalry division and recommending Col. Thomas T. Munford to be promoted to rank of brigadier-general; autograph letter from General Stuart to General Cooper, dated November 11, 1862, recommending the promotion of Major Pelham to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of artillery; original letter from General R. E. Lee to General Stuart commending the "gallant conduct" of Sergeant Mickler, of Second South Carolina cavalry, and his party in the fight at Brentsville January 9, 1863, and stating that he had recommended their promotion for "gallantry and skill"; confidential letter (dated April 4, 1864), from General Stuart to General J. R. Chambliss, commander of his outposts on the Lower Rappahannock; confidential letter of Colonel Charles Marshall (General Lee's military secretary) to General Stuart conveying important information and orders from General Lee.
From General I. M. St. John, last Commissary-General: A report to President Davis of the closing operations of the Commissary Department. Letters from Ex-President Davis, General R. E. Lee; General John C. Breckinridge, Secretary of War; Colonel Thomas G. Williams, Assistant Commissary-General; Major J. H. Claiborne, Commissary Department; Major B. P. Noland, Chief Commissary for Virginia; Hon. Lewis E. Harvie, late president of the Richmond and Danville and Petersburg railroads; and Bishop T. U. Dudley, late major and C. S.—all confirming the statements made in General St. John's report. These papers have never been published, and are of great historic interest and value.
From Robert W. Christian, Esq., Richmond: General J. B. Magruder's report of his operations on the Peninsula, and of the battles of "Savage Station," and "Malvern Hill." Maryland's Hope, by W. Jefferson BuchananRichmond, 1864. Letters of John Scott, of Fauquier, proposing constitutional reform in the Confederate Government Richmond, 1864.
From Professor L. M. Blackford, Episcopal High-School: A volume, of Confederate battle reports, including Generals Beauregard's and Johnston's reports of first Manassas, and a number of other reports of the first year of the war.
From Major I. Scheibert, of the Royal Prussian Engineers: The French edition of his work on the civil war in America. We are awaiting the promise of a competent soldier and critic to give us a review of this able book.