Colonel William Allan spoke of the danger of not writing the history of your people and inculcating this in the hearts and minds of the young. He warned that the South should not allow their late enemies to take up the pen.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
The Pens of Our Adversaries
The work done by the Southern Historical Society has been most important and valuable. For years it testified to the truth amid the prejudice and vituperation which was the lot of the Confederate cause. An immense change in recent years has taken place in the estimates made in Europe, as well as the North itself, in regard to our war. But its work is not yet done. It has really only been begun.
However gratifying the change which has been brought about in Northern sentiment in regards to the events of the war, we must not, we should not, allow the history of our side in this great struggle to be written by those who fought against us.
Future generations should not learn of the motives, the sacrifices, the aims, the deeds of our Southern people, nor of the characters of their illustrious leaders only through the pens of our adversaries. What have not Carthage and Hannibal lost in the portraits — the only ones that remain to us — drawn by Roman historians?
Not one word have I to say in criticism of monuments placed to commemorate the brave deeds of the Union soldiers who died on that [Manassas] field; but if these men be worthy of such honor from their comrades, how much more do we owe to the men who twice won victory at the price of blood on this spot; or to those noble South Carolinians under Gregg, who, on the left of A.P. Hill, on August 29, 1862, held their position with a tenacity not exceeded by the British squares at Waterloo . . .?
The deeds of such men and of many others like them deserve to be kept green for all time. They constitute a priceless legacy to their countrymen — to their descendants.”
(Remarks of Colonel William Allan of Maryland at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Society, 31 October, 1883, Gen. J. A. Early, President)