Pollard was a fiery advocate of southern secession. In 1861 he joined the Richmond (Va.) Examiner, one of the best-known newspapers in the South. Under the direction of John M. Daniel, the Examiner was known for its brilliant but vituperative editorials, many directed at Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his administration. Pollard was variously identified as editorial writer, editor, coeditor, and associate editor of the Examiner. For the most part he seems to have served as associate editor, assisting Daniel in the preparation of editorials for the newspaper, while his brother, Henry Rives Pollard, was news editor. A prolific, although not particularly graceful, writer, Pollard also was a contemporary historian of the Civil War. Among his books written during the war were The First Year of the War (1862), The Second Battle of Manassas (1862), The Second Year of the War (1863), The Rival Administrations: Richmond and Washington in December 1863 (1864), The Two Nations: A Key to the History of the American War (1864), The War in America, 1863-64 (1865), and A Letter on the State of the War (1865). They were well received and sold widely in the South, at least in part because they were the first popular histories of the war from a Confederate point of view. Many of his interpretations, particularly his caustic criticisms of Davis and his theories about the causes of the war, however, have been invalidated.