It would scarcely seem ou fait that a book should make its appearance (no matter how unpretentious it may be) before a criticising and oftentimes censorious public with out a preface. Yet I have usually found prefaces either explanatory, apologetic, or regretful. The book will be its own explanation, I have no apologies to make; but my regrets are many and great. Ten years ago I made up my mind and began to write this book for the pleasure of my family and friends. In my busy life weeks would often pass without my writing a word. Having a natural aver sion to the pen was often an excuse for my neglect, and the fact was ever before me that a most delightful and per feet book in Admiral Semmes' Service Afloat had been given to the world, from which mine could not differ in facts, data, or detail, and could never approach in beauty of diction or language. My life has been one of deeds, not Words, and what I have done in the strictest sense of duty and high integrity of purpose shall never be apologized for. To me there has never been a New South. The blood of heroic sires and gentle mothers in the veins of the pres ent generation have made her what she is — a remodeled country, built upon the grandeur of the past and the holiest memories a people ever inherited! The Will of God could not be stayed or averted. Might prevailed; but behind the frowning Providence of disaster and defeat for His own wise plans and purposes, God has at last smiled upon the South, and she has many compensations from His hand. My regrets are that many who were with us when I began to write will never con these simple pages, for many, in deed most, of the friends of my youth have passed before me on that road from which no traveler e'er returns. To their children and my own posterity I leave in these pages the truth of history and hope they will not be With out interest to the young. To my brothers, the United Confederate Veterans, I give the narrative of our times, the times that tried men's souls, that left us nought save honor, a love of country, the sacred memory of valiant lives and deeds, and a hope in God!