Southern proslavery writers recognized that the powerful imagery employed by abolitionist writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe was among the abolitionists' most potent weapons in fighting slavery. Southern reviewers of Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin criticized Stowe most frequently for mischaracterizing the harshness of slavery. William Gilmore Simms, who published his novel Woodcraft as a proslavery answer to Stowe in 1854, thought her novel was a gross misrepresentation of the South:
There is a work of fiction, recently published by Mrs. Stowe, which is just now the rage with the abolitionists; the great error of which, throughout, consists in the accumulation of all the instances that can be found of cruelty or crime among the slaveholders. … She shows us a planter of Louisiana, as one of the most heartless, bloody, brutal, gross, loathsome and ignorant wretches under the sun. … [B]ut in doing so, she herself isolates him. She shows that he resides in a remote, and scarcely inaccessible swamp region, where his conduct comes under no human cognizance. How is society answerable for his offenses? How does he represent the condition and character of the slaveholder?