In entering upon our sixth volume we feel like extending our cordial congratulations to the Society on the success which has attended our publication venture.
Beginning to publish our Monthly on the 1st of January, 1876, we have had to contend against "the hard times," and other difficulties under which many similar enterprises have failed. Our Papers have, however, steadily grown in popular favor until we consider them an assured success. As to their value and importance (we may speak freely on this point since the Secretary has troubled the reader with very little of his own production, and has simply acted as compiler), we have every day cumulative evidence that our publications are recognized as of the highest authority, and are sought after by those who would know the truth of the "War between the States."
Our subscription list has reached a number which, if we can keep it at that figure, will easily meet our current expenses year by year.
But we have not a tenth of the subscribers we ought to have, not half the number we would have in a very short time if our friends generally would exert themselves to extend our circulation.
And we suggest that it would be an important service to introduce a full set of our volumes into college, Y. M. C. A. and other public libraries.
We again pledge ourselves to maintain the high character of our publications, and to increase from time to time their interest and value.
Our rule against copying articles that have already been published needs to be restated, and insisted upon.
We frequently receive articles that have been printed in some newspaper, or in some other form, with the request that we "publish at once" in our Papers. Now, we are always glad to get such articles, and to preserve them carefully in our archives, and sometimes there may be imperative reasons for republishing them. But as a rule we have on hand so many original MSS. that we cannot undertake to copy what has appeared elsewhere. Yet we hope our friends will continue to send us newspapers, pamphlets, and all other forms of printed matter bearing on our history. Even if we cannot reprint it we will carefully preserve for the use of the historian, and will at any time give the readiest access to it to any one desiring to know the truth.
Operations in the West and Southwest will now claim a good share of our attention, and we hope to be able to publish a series of papers on all of the most important battles of those armies. We are now arranging for such a series, and we beg the help of our friends in either sending us papers themselves, or in informing us to whom we may write for such papers. If we fail to publish a full discussion of all of the great battles of the West, it will be only because of the failure of the gallant men who made those fields illustrious to furnish us the material.