Emotional literature is always a correct exponent of public sentiment, and these songs index the passionate sincerity of the South at the time they were written.
Poetic merit is not claimed for all of them; still each one embodies either a fact or a principle. Written in an era of war, when the public mind was thoroughly aroused, some may now appear harsh and vindictive. Eight millions of people read and sang them. This fact alone warrants their collection and preservation.
A greater number of the songs have been gathered from Southern newspapers. The task has been laborious, but still a labor of love, as no work of this kind has before been offered to the public.