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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tuesday, May 2nd, 1865

To day I am still in Liberty. I attended a pick nick given by Capt. Harrison, which turned out to be a brilliant affair, and everything pass[ed] off to the general satisfaction of all concerned. Weather clear and pleasant. 

1 comment:

BeNotForgot said...

May 2, 1865, p. 2, c. 5

Preserve Your Letters.

Ed. Tel. — I wish through your Journal and all others in Texas who may be kind enough to copy this article, to make a suggestion to a majority of this State. It is to preserve your letters received from the army, as well [as] those on hand as those hereafter to be received. I refer to letters which speak of events relative to military movements, individual officers or soldiers.

A vast amount of most reliable history, news to be found in official documents or newspapers, is embraced in private letters from men in the army to their friends at home. Invaluable anecdotes of isolated actions and individual prowess are found in such letters.

When the bloody battle of Corinth was fought in October 1862 the press teemed with accounts of it. Perhaps thirty different persons furnished accounts of that bloody day. But by far the most full, satisfactory and (apparently) candid statement of the whole campaign which it was my privilege to see, was in a private letter from a Belton, Texas, boy, of perhaps 18, Ed. Smith, by name, of Ross' 6th Texas cavalry, to his brother, Capt. Smith, of Allen's regiment.

The same remark applies to the cavalry portion of the battle of Chickamauga, the writer in that case being a young man named Coleman writing to his father in Fannin county. These are two striking cases under my own observation, though I have seen innumerable valuable letters of similar character.

No doubt is entertained but immediately after, if not before, the conclusion of this war, a "Texas State Historical Society" will be formed and chartered. Indeed, such a society should have been formed at the beginning of the war. This Society is the body for which all such letters should be preserved. By it they can be arranged, labeled, indexed, or extracted from as the case may be, thus preparing them as raw material for the searching analysis of our future State historians.

While the general history of this war may be written from public documents and other sources, those letters will furnish a vast fund towards a more particular State and individual history, the sources most likely to foster a proper and honorable State pride, and to build up in the breasts of our descendents a genuine appreciation of both the value and cost of liberty, of manly patriotism and hatred of oppression.

This is a passing glimpse of the subject. Its importance will be evident to the least reflecting, and therefore, my only present object is to call attention to it.

The papers of the State are respectfully requested to copy this note.
J. H. B.
March, 1865.