Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 01/April/Editorial Paragraphs
Our March Number has excited great interest, and has received the warmest commendation from the press generally throughout the South. Some of the Northern papers have contained very kindly notices. We have seen no attempt to refute the points made; and we would esteem it a favor if our friends would forward us anything of the kind which they may observe. We have letters from leading Confederates warmly endorsing our array of documents and facts, and have reason to feel that in defending the Confederate Government from the charge of systematic cruelty to prisoners, we have rendered a service highly appreciated by our Southern people.
Our Subscription List is steadily increasing; but we can find room for other names, and beg our friends to help us swell the number of our readers.
Valuable Contributions to our archives are constantly coming in. A patriotic lady of this city (Mrs. Catharine P. Graham) has recently presented us with war files of several Richmond papers. She refused to sell them for a large price, and insisted on giving them to our Society.
John McRae, Esq., of Camden, S. C., has placed us under the highest obligations by presenting the following newspaper files:
Charleston Courier from May 1856 to February 1865.
Richmond Dispatch from April 1861 to April 1864.
Charleston Mercury from July 1859 to February 1865 and from November 1866 to November 1868.
Columbia Daily Carolinian from 1855 to October 1864.
Charleston Daily News and "News and Courier" from June 1866 to this date.
Camden Journal from January 1856 to this date.
Southern Presbyterian from June 1858 to this date.
And Dr. J. Dickson Bruns, of New Orleans, has sent us a bound volume of the Charleston Mercury for 1862.
We have received recently other valuable contributions, which we have not space even to mention.
Our Present Number has been delayed by causes over which we have had no control; but we think that we can promise that hereafter our Papers will appear promptly near the latter part of each month. A Confederate Roster has been a desideratum exceedingly difficult to supply. The capture, or destruction, of so large a part of our records has rendered a compilation of a full and correct Roster a work of almost insuperable difficulty. We are happy to announce, however, that Colonel Charles C. Jones, Jr., of New York (formerly of Savannah), who has been for some ten years patiently at work on such a Roster, has brought his labors to a conclusion, and has generously placed his MSS. at the disposal of the Society. It shows the marks of patient and laborious investigation, and (so far as we are able to judge) is much more accurate and complete than could have been expected. We propose to begin its publication in our next number, and to have it stereotyped, and so arranged that it can be bound, when completed, into a neat volume, which will be a most valuable addition to our War History.
We desire that each and all of our readers should keep before them the fact that there is an Association incorporated by the State of Virginia, whose trust it is to obtain funds for a monument to be erected at Richmond in memory of General Robert E. Lee. We will not offend good taste by offering a word in commendation of this effort to do honor to the great captain; we the rather assume that every reader of these Papers will gladly and promptly forward a liberal contribution to the Treasurer at Richmond. The Association is administered by a Board of Managers composed of the Governor of Virginia, the Auditor and the Treasurer. The Hon. R. M. T. is the treasurer, and Col. S. Bassett French is the secretary of the Board. Address, Richmond, Va.
The "Lee Memorial Association," with headquarters at Lexington, Va., has been quietly working for its simple object, which is to decorate the tomb of Lee. Having secured Valentine's splendid recumbent figure of Lee—which is, beyond all question, one of the most superb works of art on the continent—they are now raising funds with which to build the Mausoleum which is to contain it. Surely the admirers of our great chieftain ought to supply at once the means necessary for this noble object. Send contributions to the Treasurer, C. M. Figgatt, Lexington, Virginia.
Cooke's Life of General R. E. Lee. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
This book was published in 1871, and has been so long before the public that it need now receive no extended review at our hands. Colonel Cooke wields a facile pen, and his books are always entertaining. There are errors in the strictly Military part of this biography which a more rigid study of the official reports would have avoided; but the account given of General Lee's private character and domestic life is exceedingly pleasing and very valuable. We are glad to note that an (unintentional) injustice done to the gallant General Edward Johnson, in the account of the battle of Spotsylvania house, which appeared in a previous edition, has been corrected in the edition before us.
A Military Biography of Stonewall Jackson. By Colonel John Esten Cooke. With an appendix (containing an account of the Inauguration of Foley's statue), by Rev. J. Wm. Jones. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
Cooke's Life of Jackson was originally published during the war, and was rewritten, and republished in 1866. The enterprising publishers have brought out a new edition with an Appendix added, which contains a full account of the Inauguration of Foley's statue, including the eloquent address of Governor Kemper, and the noble oration of Rev. Dr. Moses D. Hoge. The book is gotten up in the highest style of the printer's art, the engravings add to its attractiveness, and we hear it is meeting with a large sale.
It is to be regretted that the publishers did not give Colonel Cooke the opportunity of revising and correcting his work, for while the book is very readable, and gives some exceedingly vivid pictures of old Stonewall on his rawbone sorrel, there are important errors in the narrative which ought by all means to be corrected.
Personal Reminiscences. Anecdotes and Letters of General R. E. Lee. By Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D.D. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
We cannot, of course, give an unbiased judgment of this book. But we may say this, that the letters of General Lee, which the author was so fortunate as to secure, are among the most charming specimens of letter-writing in all the wide range of Literature, and that the view of his private, domestic, and Christian character thus given presents him to the world as one of the noblest specimens of a man with whom God ever blessed the earth. And so large a part of the book is made up of these private letters, and of the contributions of others, that even we may say, without impropriety, that we would be glad to see the book widely circulated—more especially as a part of every copy sold goes into the treasury of the "Lee Memorial Association" at Lexington.
We may add that the steel engravings of General Lee and Mrs. Lee in this book are the best likenesses of them we have ever seen, and that the publishers have gotten up the volume in superb style.
General Joseph E. Johnston's Narrative. D. Appleton & Co., New York.
General Johnston wields one of the most graceful, trenchant pens of any man who figured in the late war, and whatever difference of opinion may honestly exist concerning controverted points upon which he touches, all will desire to read this really able narrative, and to place it among the comparatively few books which one cares to preserve for future reference and study. As it has been intimated that General Johnston is now preparing a revised and enlarged edition, in which he replies to criticisms which have been made upon his Narrative, we shall look forward with interest to its appearance.
Other Book Notices are crowded out, and will be given hereafter.