Southern Historical Society Papers/Volume 40/Letter of Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, to Captain Fred. Colston


Author of "Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War."

The well-known criticism of General Longstreet's book by Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, of the British Army, was first published in this country by Captain Frederick M. Colston, of Baltimore.

A military friend brought him the October number of the "Journal of the Royal United Service Institution" which contained this criticism, but anonymously.

General Longstreet's book was then being much discussed, and Captain Colston printed this criticism in a leaflet and distributed it to many military friends.

Among these was Dr. J. William Jones, editor of the Southern Historical Society Papers, and the number of leaflets being exhausted, Dr. Jones asked permission to reprint it and wrote to the editor of the Journal to ask the name of the author, which was given him as Colonel Henderson.

Captain Colston then wrote to Colonel Henderson enclosing a copy of his leaflet with an apology for printing it without his permission, as it was anonymous in the Journal. Colonel Henderson replied in the following letter, which is here published for the first time:

The Staff College, Camberly, England,

June 1st, 1898.

My dear Sir:

I am exceedingly obliged for your very kind letter and enclosures. I am pleased to find that my review on General Longstreet's book is appreciated and found satisfactory by old confederate officers, and the autograph of General Lee I prize very greatly indeed.

My book on Stonewall Jackson will be published in England and America simultaneously about the end of July. I cannot surmise how it will be received in your half or three-quarters of "Anglo-Saxondom." I have tried to do full justice to both sides, and may possibly please neither, but my consolation will be that I have done my best to find out the truth, and my opinions are the result of many years of study of American history and of the Civil War.

I may add that the writing of the book has been the more pleasant by the friends and acquaintances I have made during my researches and by the kind letters and offers of assistance which I have received from soldiers like yourself.

Thanking you once more and hoping that when "Stonewall Jackson" appears that you will give the benefit of your criticism for a possible second edition. I am.

Yours most sincerely,

G. F. R. Henderson.

Colonel Henderson lived to see his "Stonewall Jackson" acknowledged to be one of the finest military biographies in existence, but he died before writing the life and campaigns of General Robert E. Lee, which he had undertaken to do, as he died in Assouan, Egypt, in March, 1903.