Posted February 17, 1997 by Steven L. Driskell.

1. Preface
December 5, 1904
Iron City, Alabama
Calhoun County

To the surviving members of this regiment, either in or out of the state; the undersigned desires to announce that at the suggestion of General George D. Johnston of the city of Tuscaloosa who was the popular and gallant leader of this regiment for nearly four years and at the solicitation of Hon. Thomas M. Owen, Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, I have agreed to undertake the writing and compiling a narrative history of the 25th Alabama Regiment during the Civil War of 1861-1865, to be filed in the Alabama Department of Archives.

In the absence of any reliable records or material for this work, I will have to depend almost entirely on my own memory and the memory of other members of the regiment for material for this work.

I therefore most respectively and earnestly invoke the aid and cooperation of all surviving members furnish with me any facts of the service which they may remember.  I am very anxious to ascertain from some members of each company when and where and by whom each Company was organized.  In conclusion, I respectively ask the press of the state, who are friendly to such an enterprise to please copy this notice.  This work on my own part, will be entirely a gratuity.

Very Respectfully,

Wilson P. Howell, Captain
Company I
25th Alabama Regiment

March 8, 1906


I begin this preface by a copy of a letter from Hon. Thomas M. Owen, Director of the Department of Archives and History at the State Capitol:

State of Alabama
Department of Archives and History

November 23, 1904

My Dear Mr. Howell:

General George D. Johnston suggests that you are the most suitable person of his aquaintance to undertake the preparation of a history of the 25th Alabama Regiment.  I am therefore writing you to know if you will undertake the preparation of a history of this command.  I am enclosing herewith our Circular No. 6, which will explain our particular effort in this direction.  We have the cooperation of many survivors in what is regarded by all as a very praiseworthy effort and I hope we may have your ready response.  If you are willing to undertake this work, let me know and I will send you copies of such material as we have.

You will observe that we only wish a narrative history and not a compilation of rosters.  Our rosters will be published by the U.S. War Department.

I am sending you under separate cover, a copy of Professor E. Y. McMorris history of the 1st Alabama Regiment.  Your attention is invited to the prefatory note.

Awaiting your early attentions and with regards.

I am yours truly,
Thomas M. Owen

Rev. Wilson P. Howell
Oak Level, Alabama

Upon receipt of this letter, I was not inclined to undertake the work suggested, but after long and mature deliberation in my own mind and consultation with friends, I decided to undertake it and so wrote Thomas M. Owen.

On entering upon this difficult and arduous task, I have done so with no ordinary degree of misgiving and hesitency on account of the absence of any written documents or records as material, but having to rely wholely on my own memory and the memory of the few surviving members of the regiment as material.

More than forty long years have come and gone since the close of that historic and tragic struggle and it has taken much time and labor in finding out and locating the surviving members of that regiment and invoking their aid and cooperation.  The ten companies composing the regiment were raised and organized in different parts of the state and although I have been diligent in trying to locate and get in correspondence with some members of each company.  I have been unable to locate and find a single man of some of the companies.  I will therfore have to depend mainly on my own memory as to the time, place and by whom these companies were organized, as well as other events and incidents connected with this command.

While it was my lot to be present and for duty in that command from start to finish.  Owing to the laps of time my memory may be at fault in some of the narrations I may write, but I feel sure that I have no desire to write anything but the truth as I remembered it. I desire to say further, that I may and probably will allude to incidents in my own company more than any other company of the Regiment, but it will not be because I would purposely discriminate against any other company, but because many things which transpired in my own company and to my personal knowledge.  I am free to say that while I had in the main a company of good and brave men the company was not the superior of any other company.  I am sure I would not magnify nor minimize the conduct of a single man or officer of the Regiment.

I would therefore invoke the indulgence and charity of the reading public of whatever errors and mistakes I may record.

W. P. Howell
Ex Capt. Company I
25th Ala Regt

P.S. I have been in receipt of letters from various members of the Regiment and Brigade urging and commending such a history. Among those are General G. D. Johnston who commanded this Regiment the greater part of the war.  Rev. T. G. Slaughter, who was severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and who has been an St-------- Methodist preacher for more than forty years.  Also the well known Hon. Wm. A. Handley of Roanoke, Alabama, Rev. J. L. Milton (?) of the North Alabama Conf, Major D. M. Richards of Columbus, Mississippi, and Judge H. T. Toulmin (?) of the U.S. Court now of Mobile and who commanded the Brigade in which the 25th Alabama served during the last fight we had 19th March 1865.

W. P. H.