A Confederate Soldier
This unpretentious work is not the product of a literary ambition. Though my story deals with events that will live forever in the records of our country, I have not sought to give it the wings of poetic fancy whereby it may fly into the libraries of the earth. Within the happy family circle, from which my children are now gone, these oft-recounted recollections became a part of their education. I permitted them to turn the pages of my memory, as the leaves of a book, that they might learn the vanished glory of the old South-the loving loyalty and the sad travail of her people. And I trust that they learned also that our unfortunate Civil War-now, thank God, nearly sixty years behind us-was a clash of honest principles. That there were wild-eyed agitators and extremists on both sides, and that each had its scalawags and low-flung ruffians, there can be no doubt (and some of these-alas!-still live); but the masses of the soldiers of both armies, who bore the brunt of battle and suffered the privations of those sorrowful years, were patriots; and he who speaks or writes to the contrary is an enemy to our reunited country and an element of weakness and danger in the strength of the nation. My two beloved daughters have prevailed upon me to record my experiences of four years as a Confederate soldier, in the form of a brief printed memoir; and so, impelled by my regard for their wishes, I enter the work for them and for their descendants, without any thought of placing a literary commodity upon the counters of the country; and yet I must so write that, wherever this volume may chance to fall into the hands of a stranger, he may find in it that one essential to such a story as this is-Truth. Thomas D. Duncan.
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