Throughout the war, The Atlantic’s coverage reflected an almost exclusively Northern point of view. But nearly a decade after the war ended, the magazine offered a Southerner’s perspective, via a seven-part series by George Cary Eggleston, whose family had owned a Virginia plantation and who had fought for the South under J. E. B. Stuart.
When word first got out that The Atlantic would serve as a platform for a Confederate soldier, “there was,” Eggleston would later recall, “a good deal of not very friendly surprise.” But Eggleston’s exposition of the Southern perspective was so sensitively handled that when the second installment appeared, The Atlantic’s editor, William Dean Howells, informed him that former naysayers “had begun to sing psalms in his ears.” Franklin Sanborn, one of John Brown’s funders (and the author of “John Brown and His Friends”), even invited Eggleston to a dinner at which, Eggleston later recalled, “there should be nobody present but ‘original abolitionists’ and my rebel self.”—Sage Stossel
|J. E. B. Stuart, the flamboyant Confederate commander of the cavalry in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, in an 1863 portrait (George S. Cook/National Portrait Gallery)|
The reader must make of himself, for the time at least, a Confederate. He must put himself in the place of the Southerners and look at some things through their eyes …
I shall make no attempt whatever to prove my postulates, but any one interested in these pages will find it to his advantage to accept them, one and all, as proved, pending the reading of what is to follow. After that he may relapse as speedily as he pleases into his own opinions. Here are the postulates:—