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In presenting a second volume of a popular History of the Southern War for Independence, the author gratefully acknowledges the kind reception by the Southern public of his first volume, the generous notices of the independent Press of the Confederacy, and the encouragement of friends. He has no disposition to entreat criticism or importune its charities. But he would be incapable of gratitude, if he was not sensible of the marks of public generosity which have been given to a work which made no pretensions to severe or legitimate history and ventured upon no solicitations of literary success.
He can afford no better vindication of the character and objects of his work than by quoting here what was prefixed to one of the editions, of his first volume:
"Every candid mind must be sensible of the futility of attempting a high order of historical composition in the treatment of recent and incomplete events; but it does not follow that the cotemporary annal, the popular narrative and other inferiour degrees of history can have no value and interest, because they cannot compete in accuracy with the future retrospect of events. The vulgar notion of history is that it is a record intended for posterity. The author contends that history has an office to perform in the present, and that one of the greatest values of cotemporary annals is to vindicate in good time to the world the fame and reputation of nations."
"With this object constantly in view, the author has composed this work. He will accomplish his object, and be rewarded with a complete satisfaction, if his unpretending book shall have the effect of promoting more extensive inquiries; enlightening the present; vindicating the principles of a great contest to the cotemporary world; and putting before the living generation in a convenient form of literature, and at an early and opportune time, the name and deeds of our people."
Richmond, July, 1863.