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1865 1ST EDITION OF SOUTHERN GENERALS, WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE – A RARE ORIGINAL PRINTING OF AN EARLY BIOGRAPHY OF THE NOTABLE GENERALS OF THE CONFEDERACY:  A very well preserved first edition of this famous 473 page volume, published in 1865 by Charles B. Richardson of New York City.  This collection of biographies of 18 of what the author considered to be the most prominent generals of the Confederacy.  Each biography, save for General Johnston, is accompanied by a etching of the general in his dress uniform and each portrait is protected with a tissue guard – again, all the tissues are intact.   

The inside fly leaf is signed by what was presumably the owner of this copy, David M. Anderson, and dated August, 1865.  Written in pencil on the title page below the title is “By Edward A. Pollard”.  Comparing the writing style of this entry to the owner’s name cited above, I suspect this author attribution was written in by Anderson.   

This collection of biographies was originally published as an anonymous work, the title page bearing no author’s name, however the advertisement posted by the Richardson Publishing Company stated “By A Virginian”.  This lack of author’s name on the title page has been the subject of some discussion.  The lack of attribution continued through the second printing in 1866, but in a subsequent printing in 1907 the by line was attributed to William Parker Snow, an English explorer, missionary and author.  While this book has since been credited to Snow, I believe Pollard was the true author.   

Pollard was a native Virginian who was a newspaper editor of the Richmond Examiner, and a prolific writer before and during the Civil War.  He was an unapologetic supporter of slavery, and an advocate of the Confederate military leaders while being an acid-tongued outspoken critic of the Confederacy’s civilian leadership – to the point that his criticisms cost him his position at the Examiner.  Pollard wrote three accounts of the progress of the war titled The First Year of the War, The Second Year of the War, and The Third Year of the War, each published as the respective year drew to a close as an ongoing commentary and offered by the same Richardson publishing company.  

After Pollard resigned from the Examiner, and in the face of increasing criticisms from the supporters of Davis and the other Confederate leadership, he decided to move to England to resume his writing career.  His voyage was cut short when the ship upon which he was sailing was stopped by one of the Union blockade ships, and once Pollard was identified he was arrested as a spy and interned in Boston.  The federal authorities eventually determined he was not a spy and he was released, where upon he moved to New York City to resume his pro-Confederacy/anti-Northern writings.  Once again, his writings angered the authorities – this time the Union – and he was arrested and jailed.   Pollard won his release from jail in January of 1865, and shortly returned to Richmond where he returned to the staff of the Examiner.  Pollard continued to be an active writer, publishing The Lost Cause in 1866.  His writings dwindled thereafter and he died in Virginia in 1872.    

William Parker Snow was born in England and educated at the Royal Naval College.  By the 1830’s he began a brief career in the merchant marine and the Royal Navy which apparently ended with his marriage to a London housemaid.  He led a varied life across the globe, becoming involved in a swindle of immigrants to Australia, working for a library in Tuscany, and performing editorial and transcription work for benefactors in England.  He eventually joined a missionary society and mastered their schooner into the south Atlantic, visiting the Falkland Islands, publishing a well known account of the voyage.  In 1857, Snow was employed as a lecturer to raise funds for Lady Franklin in support of an expedition to determine the fate of her husband, Sir John Franklin and his ill fated Artic exploration.  Her expedition failed to find her husband, but it did find sufficient artifacts to determine that he and his crew had perished.  Snow subsequently attempted unsuccessfully to mount two other expeditions to located Franklin’s burial site and his records which reportedly had been buried with him, however neither effort came to fruition.  That Snow did not succeed in mounting the expeditions did not keep him from writing about other expeditions and lecturing about the subject, much of it while living in New York City.  Upon the assassination of President Lincoln, it was reported in the New York Herald that “Captain Parker Snow, the distinguished commander of the Artic and Antarctic exploring expeditions” presented some relics from Sir Franklin’s expedition to be interred with the president’s body.  Apparently, in the short time Snow had been in New York, he was able to create quite a public persona for himself as well as assuming the mantle of a legendary explorer.   

While there is no question that Snow led a storied life and he certainly was a man of letters who authored a number of different well read works, two qualities he most certainly did not possess - he was not a “Virginian”, and he never showed any indication in his previous or subsequent writings as having the least interest in the American Civil War, specifically in the Confederacy.  He had not lived in the south during his short time in North America and he’d had no access to the famous personalities chronicled in this book.  It is known that Snow returned to England in 1867 and died in London in 1895, so there would have been no benefit to him by attaching his name to the 1907 edition of this book.   

I suspect what transpired is fairly simple – the publisher, wanting to reissue the book to meet the demand, and not wanting to risk raising a legal issue over the proceeds with any of Pollard’s descendants, decided to credit the book to a well known author of the period who was dead and whose descendants living in England would likely never be aware Snow’s name was being used.         

This volume is in very good condition with tight original covers and the original spine.  It does show some shelf wear, but all of the pages are well attached, intact and full form.  There is foxing to the pages throughout, but all of the text is legible.  (0302)  $350

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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