In place of preface.
Fortunate, indeed, is the reader who takes up a volume without preface; of which the persons are left to enact their own drama and the author does not come before the curtain, like the chorus of Greek
tragedy, to speak for them.
But, in printing the pages that follow, it may seem needful to ask that they be taken for what they are; simple sketches of the inner life of “Rebeldom” --behind its Chinese
wall of wood and steel — during those unexampled four years of its existence.
Written almost immediately after the war, from notes and recollections gathered during its most trying scenes, these papers are now revised, condensed and formulated for the first time.
In years past, some of their crude predecessors have appeared — as random articles — in the columns of the Mobile Sunday Times
, the Louisville Courier-Journal
, the Philadelphia Times
and other publications.
Even in their present condensation and revision, they claim only to be simple memoranda of the result of great events; and of their reaction upon the mental and moral tone of the southern people, rather than a record of those events themselves.
This volume aspires neither to the height of history, nor to the depths of political analysis; for it may still be too early for either, or for both, of these.
Equally has it resisted temptation to touch on many topics — not strictly belonging inside the Southern Capitalsstill
vexed by political agitation, or personal interest.
These, if unsettled by dire arbitrament of the sword, must be left to Time and his best coadjutor, “sober second-thought.”
Campaigns and battles have already surfeited most readers; and their details-usually so incorrectly stated by the inexpert — have little to do with a relation of things within the Confederacy
, as they then appeared to the masses of her people.
Such, therefore, are simply touched upon in outline, where necessary to show their reaction upon the popular pulse, or to correct some flagrant error regarding that.
To the vast majority of those without her boundaries — to very many, indeed, within them-realities of the South
, during the war,
were a sealed book.
False impressions, on many important points, were disseminated; and these, because unnoted, have grown to proportions of accepted truth.
A few of them, it may not yet be too late to correct.
While the pages that follow fail not to record some weaknesses in our people, or some flagrant errors of their leaders, they yet endeavor to chronicle faithfully heroic constancy of men, and selfless devotion of women, whose peers the student of History may challenge that vaunting Muse
To prejudiced provincialism, on the one side, they may appear too lukewarm; by stupid fanaticism on the other, they may be called treasonable.
But-written without prejudice, and equally without fear, or favor — they have aimed only at impartial truth, and at nearest possible correctness of narration.
Indubitably the war proved that there were great men, on both the sides to it; and, to-day, the little men on either--“May profit by their example.
be treason, make the most of it!”
The sole object kept in view was to paint honestly the inner life of the South
; the general tone of her people, under strain and privation unparalleled; the gradual changes of society and character in the struggling nation — in a clear, unshaded outline of things as they were
Should this volume at all succeed in giving this; should it uproot one false impression, to plant a single true one in its place, then has it fully equaled the aspiration of