Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 1

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Secondary Scholarship | 2007
Transcription The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the
War-Rediscovered Writings from 1861

Jeffery J. Rogers
Gordon College

In recent years Simms scholarship has been enriched by the rediscovery
and publication of previously unknown Simms documents.' These have
included both letters and other writings. Although Simms left a vast body of
known work in poetry, prose, fiction, criticism and letters, these rediscovered
documents still add to our knowledge of Simms and offer hope that there
may be more waiting to be found. With the growth of Simms scholarship we
have. learned a great deal, but there is still more that can be learned about
Simms and from Simms by recovering more of Simms's words. Finding new
Simms documents is a matter of hard work and more often luck, but it can
also be a matter of simply. looking in obvious but overlooked places. Such is
the case with a series of articles and essays Simms wrote in 1861 which
focused on the formation of the Confederacy, the Fort Sumter Crisis and the
defense of the South Carolina coast from Union assault in the early stages of
the war.
In note 29 on page 327 of volume IV of The Letters of William Gilmore
Simms, the editors state that, "During 1861, Simms wrote a great many
editorials for the Charleston Mercury on `public affairs.' All are unsigned,
and only those on the subject of seacoast defense can be conclusively
identified."2 The existence of these articles has not been unknown to students
of Simms, but they have never been republished and have never been

I wish to acknowledge the award of the Summer 2006 Research Professorship at
the University of South Carolina, which made this research possible.
2 William Gilmore Simms, The Letters of William Gilmore Simms, edited by
Mary C. Simms Oliphant, Alfred Taylor Odell and T. C. Duncan Eaves. Vol IV.
(Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, l952), 327.