Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ransack Garret and Closet

On January 3, 1895, Joseph W. Eggleston stood before fellow veterans in Petersburg, Va. and recounted his experiences as a member of Lamkin’s Battery during the Civil War. In delivering his address, he contributed to a project begun by his colleague, George Bernard, several years before. In 1892, Bernard had published the personal recollections of dozens of former Confederate (and Union) soldiers in a book titled War Talks of Confederate Veterans. Bernard continued to gather material for a second volume that would include, among other things, Eggleston's story. Most of the second volume was eventually published more than 100 years later in Civil War Talks. Back on that night in 1895, Eggleston commenced his "war talk" before the A.P. Hill Camp of Confederate Veterans with this prescient insight:

“The present generation, our children, are too tired of our war talks and not far enough removed from the event of 1861-1865 to take sufficient interest in the history we made in those four years. They are neglecting to secure and preserve many things that would be of inestimable value to future generations. But after them will come our grandchildren who will ransack garret and closet for old books and papers bearing on those heroic days. They will appreciate the work done by the Geo. S. Bernard’s of the South in saving some of the material for future history.”