Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy
James D. Richardson, Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Nashville: United States Publishing Company: 1904.
1. The Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy is two one volume books that have compiled all the messages and documents of the Confederate government during the time of the Civil War. The first volume contains the official papers of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis as well as what was discussed within the Confederate Congress. Every session of congress is broken up individually and tells what issues were discussed within the session and what was said about the issues. The first volume totals 643 pages.
The second volume of the Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy totals 760 pages and contains all the diplomatic correspondences that the Confederate government had. From 1861-1865 every diplomatic correspondence between a high ranking Confederate politician can be found. Many of these letters are from one influential politician to another as well as many to people outside the country looking for support.
Also in volume one there are biographical sketches of President Jefferson Davis, Vol. 1 :(16), Vice President Alexander Stephens, Vol. 1:(172), and General Robert E Lee, Vol. 1:(436). In volume two there are sketches of three secretaries of state; Robert Toombs, Vol. 2 :(140), Robert M.T. Hunter, Vol. 2:(380), and Judah P. Benjamin, Vol. 2: (606).
These two volumes have an immense amount of information on the Confederate government that allows someone to see exactly what the government talked about. Through this source all official Confederate government actions have been saved to be remembered and studied.
2. This source was created in 1904 by James D. Richardson. Richardson received permission to create this source from the U.S. Senate. Richardson wished to organize the archives of the Confederate government so it could be studied and remembered in the future. The goal of the source is so the motives of the Confederate government would not be loss, forgotten or misunderstood overtime. By preserving the Confederate government's records it prevents any skewing of history and allows for people to interpret what they did on their own instead of reading about it second hand, where interpretations could change what may have actually happened.
3. All the major politicians and forces in the Confederate government appear in the source. Beside Confederate politicians there are also letters back and forth with other countries that the Confederates wished to persuade to help them. There are several people in the source that get highlighted more than others and that is: President Jefferson Davis, Vol. 1 :(16), Vice President Alexander Stephens, Vol. 1:(172), General Robert E Lee, Vol. 1:(436) and three secretaries of state: Robert Toombs, Vol. 2 :(140), Robert M.T. Hunter, Vol. 2:(380), and Judah P. Benjamin, Vol. 2: (606).
4. The source is organized into two books. The first book contains the minutes of the Confederate congress with each session divided up by topic in order of meetings. There is a table of contents that shows each session divided up with what was discussed in that session.
The second book contains all the diplomatic correspondence that the Confederate government had. This book is also organized through a table of contents which divides the correspondence up into chronological order based on the year. The table of contents breaks the letters up into the years 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865. There is close to a hundred different letters and correspondence in each of these sections.
5. The only finding aid for this source is the table of contents that outline what each volume contains.
6. The Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy is located in Hawthorne-Longfellow Library on the second floor. It is two books that may be taken out of the library.
Its call number is: E487.C746 1904
7. This is a great source because it preserves the records of the Confederate government. It could have become very easy for the records of the Confederate government to have been destroyed or loss since it no longer exists. This source has therefore preserved these important papers of the time so the may be studied for all of time. By being able to read the Confederate congress's sessions one may begin to understand the issues and stances the South undertook during the Civil War. These papers allow for the original intents of decisions and issues to not be forgotten or misinterpreted. There can now be no dispute of what the Confederate government did or what they planned to do.
The other great part of this collection is the letters between Confederate politicians as well as foreign countries. These letters give insight into the planning and operation of the Confederate government. The letters also show what was being said in private, but may not have been said in public, in congress or in the newspapers. Letters give a great view point as to what a person may have been thinking.
The documents in this collection are great because they come directly from the writings of the Confederate government officials so there can be no confusion of the intent of their actions as it is all there in writing. Everything in the document comes right from the Confederates so there is no outsider looking in and interpreting their actions. Thanks to this collection someone can now read directly what the Confederate government did.